Old Classics?… Newly Reviewed | Bringing Up Baby (1938)

© Nancee E. Lewis / Nancee Lewis Photography.
Editor Note: Gini has another Old Classic film form her Turner Classic Movie Collection watching. Since Atlanta is home to Turner Classic Movies it is only right that Gini should be reviewing them with her view of the world.

What can it be this time?

Gini is Tackling what Turner Classic Movies says is a classic screwball comedy with 1938’s Bringing Up Baby.


Bringing up Baby


By Gini Koch

As with Topper I saw this movie on TV when I was younger and I remembered it as being hilarious. So I once again couldn’t wait to watch and introduce it to the hubs, though this time with trepidation.

However, my fears were groundless. Bringing Up Baby is still hilarious.
David (Cary Grant) is a renowned paleontologist. Susan (Katherine Hepburn) is a madcap heiress. And Baby is a leopard who ends up changing their lives.

David is absentminded, straight-laced, and engaged to Alice (Virginia Walker) who is only interested in marrying David so that she can keep him at his vital work of putting dinosaurs together rather than have anything remotely resembling sex with him. (Yes, Alice is clearly out of her mind.) David keeps on trying to plan a honeymoon but all Alice wants him to do is get the funding to keep the work going. (Again, yes, she’s clearly insane, though the actress plays her as sane, a bold choice.)

David needs a huge financial endowment from Susan’s rich Aunt Elizabeth in order to get his 4-years in the doing brontosaurus skeleton completed, and Aunt Elizabeth’s lawyer is making the determination, So David needs to impress them and others. But this doesn’t happen, at least not in a good way, because his path keeps on crossing Susan’s, to disastrous, and hilarious, effect toward David every time.

Susan is a flibbertigibbet but she’s not so scatterbrained as to not notice that David is totally hot, very sweet, and clearly in need of the general “oomph” in his life that Susan can give him. Susan sets her sights on David, who is completely clueless and who’s main focus is a brontosaurus clavicle bone that, somehow goes missing. Because the tame leopard that was sent to Aunt Elizabeth, Baby, has taken an interest in the bone, as has the family dog. How did Baby get to the bone? Susan let him out, because he’s tame. And then he gets lost.

Hilarity ensues and keeps on ensuing as a traveling circus loses a leopard who is not nearly as sweet as Baby, the hunt for Baby and the inevitable mistaken identity between leopards ensues, the clavicle keeps on disappearing, and David’s hold on his decorum unravels.

This is one of the rare screwball comedies where the actors are all talking very fast BUT you can also understand pretty much everything they say. Most of what they say is hilarious. This movie is loaded with jokes – I don’t think any character has three lines where at least one of them isn’t funny.

Grant and Hepburn are fantastic as pretty much always, but all the supporting cast are great, too, even the dog and especially Baby. How could you not want a pet leopard with Baby around? And how could you want to marry Cary Grant and not have sex with him? Susan, at least, can answer that question sanely.

Does it all end happily? As I ask every time, is it a screwball comedy? The inevitable is clear, but, like David, just enjoy the ride to get there. Snuggle up to your favorite Sig-O and/or furbaby and just enjoy the fun of Bringing Up Baby.

5 stars out of 5

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