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Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Not Rated | | Comedy, Family, Romance | 18 February 1938 (USA)
Trailer
1:38 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Howard Hawks

Writers:

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

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Cast

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
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

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.]

Genres:

Comedy | Family | Romance

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

18 February 1938 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Bringing Up Baby See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,073,000 (estimated)

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,180
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

RKO Radio Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Victor System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

David makes reference to the notorious characters "Mickey the Mouse" and "Donald the Duck." RKO was Walt Disney's distributor at the time. See more »

Goofs

When Susan makes the long putt, she and David run side-by-side toward the hole. The scene cuts to more of a close up, and we see Susan suddenly 2-3 steps behind David. See more »

Quotes

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

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 »


Soundtracks

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

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User Reviews

 
The animal inside ...
20 August 2013 | by cafmSee all my reviews

Animals play a significant role in Bringing Up Baby, adding absurdity to the comic situations and its theme of

crazed infatuation. When we first meet him, palaeontologist David Huxley (Grant) is preparing to marry his co-worker Alice Swallow (Walker). Alice, we learn, is a rational, no-nonsense woman who sees marriage as a convenient and rational transaction rather than as an expression of love. As the film opens, David and Alice are putting the final touches on a brontosaurus skeleton that he has been working on for five years. The skeleton seems to be a symbol of the couple's relationship - dry, brittle, tenuous, old and, most importantly, dead.

Enter Susan Vance (Hepburn), whose wild anarchic nature is just what the doctor ordered. She seems, on the surface, hair-brained - and this may be true - but her ditziness is the result of being absolutely, utterly, ridiculously head-over-heals in love (at first sight, as is the case with most l'amour fou scenarios) with David and doing whatever she can to sabotage his plans to marry Alice. Susan's leopard, named Baby, is the symbol of her love for David, for the moment the leopard lays its eyes on him, it is instantly affectionate and follows him around, just as Susan does. Jittery David is, of course, terrified of the beast and all that it represents.

The leopard becomes an increasingly useful symbol as the film continues. At her aunt's estate in Connecticut, Susan releases another leopard its cage, thinking it is Baby captured by zoo officials when in fact it is a rogue leopard from the circus on its way to be gassed after attacking someone. With two leopards on the loose, the analogy becomes unmistakable - the wild leopard that Susan releases is David's libido, free at last after being repressed for so long in a loveless relationship. Indeed, towards the end of the film, when the wild leopard traps the host of characters in the local jail, it is nervous, terrified David who steps up and boldly saves the day.

This I suppose is just one way of reading and enjoying a film like Bringing Up Baby. i think it's interesting that the film announces its interested in exploring psychoanalysis with the inclusion of a character who is a Freudian therapist (Dr Lehman played by Fritz Feld). Psychoanalysis was, of course, very popular among Hollywood screenwriters between the 30s and 50s who adopted all manner of coded symbols for sex after Joseph Breen's Production Code so tightly reasserted control over what could and couldn't be represented on screen. But the fact that Dr Lehman's diagnoses are so far off tells us that the science of the mind is no match for the power of l'amour fou, which turns men and women into wild, irrational carnal beasts.


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