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
Was voted the 24th Greatest Film of all time by Entertainment Weekly. See more »
When Susan is dragging the wild leopard into the jail house, immediately after she utters the words, "Hey David," an obviously mechanical stand-in for Baby (seated on top of the table) is seen turning its head. See more »
Bringing up Baby is an absolute classic of screwball comedy, starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and the eponymous Baby. Grant plays stuffy palaeontologist Dr David Huxley who is due to be married, and is trying to obtain some money for his museum, but all his carefully laid out plans start to unravel when he first meets Susan Vance (Hepburn) on the golf course. From this point on Huxley is subject to an almost continuous series of humiliations and misfortunes.
Those who claim that Bringing up Baby isn't funny because of the cruel way that Hepburn's character treats Grant's are missing the point. If the film's events were taking place in the real world then many of Hepburn's actions would be inexcusable, but the point is that these events are happening in a world without consequences where anything goes, and this is the premise on which much of the film's humour is based.
The presence of a tame leopard called Baby provides further evidence that the film is trying to distance itself as far as possible from the boring predictability of reality. Much humour is derived from the contrasting attitudes of Hepburn and Grant towards the leopard. Whereas she reacts as if it were a small kitten, despite it's need for massive quantities of raw meat, Grant seems genuinely terrified, even though the animal shows no signs of aggression.
One of the most remarkable things about Bringing up Baby is the extent to which it remains enjoyable today. While many films regarded as classics in the 30's seem somewhat dated now, Bringing up Baby seems as fresh as it ever did, thanks largely to the energetic central performances. Grant is terrific as the professor who gradually loses his inhibitions, but Hepburn steals the show as a self-absorbed young woman who wins the audience over through her lack of inhibitions.
Films such as Bringing up Baby became far less common as America geared up for World War II and people began to lose interest in screwball comedy. This makes the film all the more significant, as it is undoubtedly one of the defining examples of a genre which never re-emerged in quite the same form again.
12 of 16 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this