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Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Family, Romance | 18 February 1938 (USA)
1:37 | Trailer

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While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby.


Howard Hawks


Dudley Nichols (screen play), Hagar Wilde (screen play) | 1 more credit »
2 wins. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Katharine Hepburn ... Susan
Cary Grant ... David
Charles Ruggles ... Major Applegate (as Charlie Ruggles)
Walter Catlett ... Slocum
Barry Fitzgerald ... Mr. Gogarty
May Robson ... Aunt Elizabeth
Fritz Feld ... Dr. Lehman
Leona Roberts ... Mrs. Gogarty
George Irving ... Mr. Peabody
Tala Birell ... Mrs. Lehman
Virginia Walker Virginia Walker ... Alice Swallow
John Kelly ... Elmer


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 Huggo

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


And so begins the hilarious adventure of Professor David Huxley and Miss Susan Vance, a flutter-brained vixen with love in her heart! [Theatrical trailer.]


Comedy | Family | Romance


Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »






Release Date:

18 February 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Leoparden küßt man nicht See more »


Box Office


$1,073,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Throughout filming, RKO executives complained that the film was destined for commercial failure. They asked Howard Hawks to insert more romance and less slapstick and told him to take away Cary Grant's glasses, but he ignored them. See more »


Glass wall in the bathroom to fence Baby in. See more »


[first lines]
Prof. LaTouche: Good morning, Miss Swallow.
Alice Swallow: Shh.
Prof. LaTouche: Why what's the matter ?
Alice Swallow: Doctor Huxley is thinking.
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Alternate Versions

There are different prints used for videotapes, some better than others with less splices and less deletion of small scenes due to shrinkage. See more »


Featured in 100 Years of Comedy (1997) See more »


Yankee Doodle
[Heard in the background during the parade/butcher shop scene.]
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

An absurdly overrated movie that flopped on it's 1938 release
28 February 2004 | by doug7347See all my reviews

A poor script quickly establishes the main characters as unsympathetic, and "Baby" just never works with any normal audience. People who have been brainwashed to believe it is a great film are simply afraid not to like it. Cary Grant and Kate Hepburn both do their best under the adverse circumstances, and the slapstick with the leopard towards the end of the film is genuinely funny. This is one of a series of films that contributed to Kate Hepburn's reputation as "box office poison". After boy friend Howard Hughes bought her the rights to Phillip Barry's play, she then rescued her career with her big hit "The Philadelphia Story" (1940).

During the 1950s Cahiers du Cinema hailed director Howard Hawks as an "auteur", and resurrected all of his lesser films as would be masterpieces. This film was the main beneficiary, changing from a 1938 box office flop to a supposedly classic comedy. It is perhaps the most striking example in film history of critics parroting received opinion to turn a flop into a masterpiece. In my opinion the 1938 audience got it right. There were many great screwball comedies made during the 1930s, such as "It Happened One Night", "My Man Godfrey", and "The Awful Truth". Unfortunately, "Bringing Up Baby" was not one of them.

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