A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long suffering brother.
Mild mannered zoology professor Dr. David Huxley is excited by the news that an intercostal clavicle bone has been found to complete his brontosaurus skeleton, a project four years in the construction. He is equally excited about his imminent marriage to his assistant, the officious Alice Swallow, who is interested in him more for his work than for him as a person. David needs the $1 million endowment of wealthy dowager Mrs. Carleton Random to complete the project. Her lawyer, Alexander Peabody, will make the decision on her behalf, so David needs to get in his favor. However, whenever David tries to make a good impression on Peabody, the same young woman always seems to do something to make him look bad. She is the flighty heiress Susan Vance. The more David wants Susan to go away, the more Susan seems not to want or be able to. But David eventually learns that Alexander Peabody is her good friend, who she calls Boopy, and Susan's Aunt Elizabeth, with whom David has also made a bad ... Written by
Despite strong previews and trade reviews, the film performed erratically. It did well in most West Coast and East Coast cities, faltered in the Midwest and, amazingly, flopped big time in New York City, where it was pulled from the Radio City Music Hall after just one week. Howard Hawks would later say the problem was that he had failed to put any normal characters into the film so there was nobody for the audience to identify with. See more »
Susan says her brother trapped Baby while he was hunting in Brazil. There are no leopards (an African-Asian animal) in Brazil. There are, however, jaguars, which bear a passing resemblance to leopards. The animal shown is clearly a leopard (the telltale being the lack of dots in the center of each "rosette"), and correctly called such, even if the continent of origin is incorrectly named. See more »
Casting Katharine Hepburn in the role she plays her would have been unthinkable years later when her image as a feminist icon was cast in bronze. But she's doing some serious poaching on a young version of the kind of roles Mary Boland or Billie Burke would play. Think of the parts these two women played and you can definitely see Hepburn in Bringing Up Baby if you imagine Boland and Burke years younger.
Bringing Up Baby is one of those beautiful films that really doesn't have a plot. Try to tell someone verbally the plot of this, it cannot be done. From the moment airheaded Kate gets into uptight Cary's car in that parking lot with him chasing her, it's just one madcap situation after another. Howard Hawks directs this film with the appropriate light touch the material requires.
Cary Grant is not the usual suave sophisticate you normally find him cast as either. He's an uptight paleontologist who's biggest thrill up to that point is the arrival of a brontosaurus vertebrae so that he can complete a skeleton. He's also getting married, but the woman he's engaged gives him hints that married life will not be any bed of roses for him. Whether he knows it or not he's ready for the romp Kate has in store for him.
Thirties audiences definitely loved seeing the rich at play. Bringing Up Baby is the definition of escapist entertainment. But one who hasn't the means shouldn't indulge it what Hepburn is doing. They've got a padded cell waiting for anyone who's not rich who indulges in this kind of behavior. Only the rich can afford to be eccentric.
Baby by the way is a tame leopard who Kate's brother sends up from South America. That would be a jaguar by the way, but that's just mere details. Anyway Baby escapes at the same time another leopard from the circus escapes and he's dangerous. I won't go into the confusion there, I couldn't describe it in any event.
May Robson and Charlie Ruggles lend good support. Ruggles who was normally cast against Mary Boland teams up well with May Robson. And my favorite in the supporting cast is Walter Catlett as the small town constable who doesn't know quite what he has on his hands, but is determined to bluff the situation through.
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