163 of 1001 Movies: Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Howard Hawks seems to get the biggest names of the times to be in his movies. The Big Sleep was one his later movies I watched earlier in the year, and I can’t say it enthused me that much. Bringing Up Baby got off to a better start, but there was something about it that just didn’t pull me in. About midway through I just started wavering in attention. Maybe it’s because screwball comedy is hard to maintain my focus, or that the story began to ramble. Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant were great with their parts, and definitely do well with the comedy, but the romantic chemistry lacks a bit for some reason because Grant never seems to open up to her.

Summary: David is seeking to get $1 million for his museum from Mr. Peabody. When he encounters Susan though, a heiress, things begin to go terribly wrong. His first meeting to ask for the money is interrupted by her when she accidentally gets his golf ball confused with hers, but he continues to bump into her until he finds himself receiving a phone call from her that she needs help transferring a leopard, Baby, she has received as a gift to her home with a barn Somehow David is pulled into her latest venture, and finds himself on a wild chase for a leopard and bone, all the while trying to maintain his impending marriage to another woman and his reputation.

Acting: I keep debating whether it was the acting or the characters that bothered me. Perhaps, it was just the fact they had to act screwball comedy that wasn’t much my thing. I thought the scenarios they were given kept the movie lively, and they did well portraying their parts, but their characters had attributes that were too cutesy.  Cary Grant I know is a likable actor as he has been in roles like in The Awful Truth. He has some funny moments, and I think he does well with switching it up and being a scientist. Katharine Hephburn was good as Susan and making herself naive enough to be the part. Susan though is just an annoying character because she is just really goofy. The thing I’ve always liked about Hephburn though is that she has never been one of the overly made up, girly types in a movie world where glam was the thing. She doesn’t mind getting in the dirt in this one and even wore pants before the times.

Filming: The filming for the 30’s was really smooth. Hawks was one of the huger directors, and he shows why. He also seems to use different scenes put together to create effects, which is really inventive for the time. I don’t think the leopard was really with the cast in all the scenes. The movie though doesn’t have so many glitches in it, and the sound is projected very well.

Plot: The plot maybe where I had hard time. There is good acting, good filming, and some funny moments. It has it’s cute moments. The constant goofiness may have gotten old for me though, especially since this movie runs an hour and 40 minutes. It felt too long for the genre. There were scenes that really dragged, and by the time I reached the end I felt I laughed anything I had out and gotten the point. What did surprise me though was how I did laugh. The two actors had great ways of working the comedy off each other, but I didn’t feel the romantic connection between them.

Bringing Up Baby is a great piece of work from the 30’s. I like the dynamics, I like how the unexpected twist are threw in for comedy, and I think the acting was well done. Something began to drag about it, and it even got to the point where I just wanted to the characters to grow in some way, but they never make this development.

Rating 7 of 10.

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