Bringing Up Baby
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Bringing Up Baby can be found here.

Paleontologist David Huxley (Cary Grant) has obtained the intercostal clavicle bone needed to complete his brontosaursus skeleton, but he still needs to impress wealthy dowager Mrs Carleton Random (May Robson), who is considering a million dollar donation to his museum. The problem is that his attempts are constantly sabotaged by feisty young Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn), who appears to have fallen in love with David and hopes to keep him from marrying his fiance, stuffy Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker). When Susan receives a tame leopard named 'Baby' from her brother in Brazil and David learns that Mrs Random is actually Susan's Aunt Elizabeth, the entire scenario turns into a slapstick comedy.

Bringing up Baby is based on a short story by the same name, written by Hagar Wilde [1905-1971] and published in a 1937 issue of Collier's Weekly magazine. Wilde, with the aid of screenwriter Dudley Nichols, adapted the story for the movie.

It's an old joke meaning that one leg is shorter (or longer) than the other. Susan uses it when she loses one of her heels and is bobbing around...up and down...as would anyone trying to walk while wearing a heel on one foot and no shoe on the other.

How does the movie end?

After Susan breaks out of jail to find Baby, Alexander Peabody (George Irving) shows up to identify Aunt Elizabeth. Satisfied that Elizabeth is who she says she is, Constable Slocum (Walter Catlett) releases her, David, Major Applegate (Charles Ruggles), and the gardener (Barry Fitzgerald). Just as everyone is about to leave the station, the two men from the circus show up to report their missing leopard. As the circus men are trying to explain how the wild leopard escaped, Baby and George come waltzing through the door. Everyone panics when they see Baby, until David pets it and the man from the circus realizes that it's not their leopard. Meanwhile, Susan has roped the wild leopard and is attempting to pull it into the police station. Realizing that Susan is dragging in the wild leopard, everyone again panics and runs pell-mell into the jail cells to hide. David manages to corner the wild leopard in one of cells, locks the door, and promptly faints.

Later, back at the museum, Alice breaks off her engagement to David now that she's seen his "true colors". Alice leaves, and Susan walks in, bearing the "intercostal clavicle" and the million dollars from Aunt Elizabeth. David quickly climbs to the top of the scaffolding on the left side of his precious brontosaurus skeleton and tells Susan to place the bone on a table and go away. Undaunted, Susan climbs up a freestanding ladder on the right side of the skeleton until she's at the top of the ladder and directly opposite David. David pleads with her to get down off the ladder but admits that he's never had so much fun as when he was with her. As they confess their love for each other, the ladder begins to sway. In order to keep from falling to the floor, Susan grabs onto the brontosaurus. The brontosaurus begins to break apart, so David pulls Susan onto the scaffolding with him. In the final scene, the brontosaurus bones fall to the floor, leaving Susan and David atop the scaffolding, in each others' arms.

Viewers who have seen and liked Bringing Up Baby have recommended What's Up, Doc? (1972), a madcap comedy in which mistaken luggage, a jewel theft, and government spies provide an adventure for two researchers competing for a musicology grant.

Page last updated by bj_kuehl, 8 months ago
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