- by Zoë
David is trying to
get some money for his museum. He also has one last dinosaur bone to put in
place....He meets Susan, a rich young girl, with a newly acquired pet
leopard. Things go from bad to worse when her aunt's terrier buries David's
precious bone. ..and so it goes. Needless to say, they fall in love!
- by Jerelyn
Bringing Up Baby is another of those wonderful films not
fully appreciated at the time of its release, but it has proven itself to be one the the
best and funniest of all the screwball comedies of the 1930's and 1940's.
Hepburn plays the only real slapstick role of her career in this film, and she is
wonderful! Cary Grant shines as the stuffy zoologist she meets and decides to win. Grant
sees her as nothing but bad luck, which she seems to be!
Hepburn uses a pet leopard named Baby to trick Grant into
coming with her to her country house instead of to his wedding. Her dog steals his
valuable fossil bone which he is taking back to the museum where he works to finish up the
skeleton he has been working on for years, and so he can't leave until they find it.
Baby gets away, there is a wild chase and they end up in
jail...but it has a happy ending, with Hepburn and Grant ending up together in the end.
This movie is full of crazy characters and really bright
and funny dialog which makes it very entertaining. The singing they have to do to keep
Baby happy is hilarious!! This is a movie worth watching over and over.
Film Review - February 16, 1938
- by "Wear"
- submitted by Barry Martin
This barum-scarum farce comedy is Katharine Hepburn's first of
this type. Opposite her is Cary Grant, who is perfectly at
home as a farceur after his work in 'The Awful Truth.'
Picture is moulded along same lines and is definite box
'Bringing Up Baby' is constructed
for maximum of laughs, with Ruggles and Catlett adding to the
starring team's zany antics. There is little rhyme or reason
to most of the action, but it's all highly palatable.
Wacky developments include pursuit
of an heiress after a zoology professor who expects to wed his
femme assistant in the museum on the same day he plans to complete
a giant brontosaurus; a pet leopard, 'Nissa,' who makes a playmate
of 'Asta,' the redoubtable Scotch terrier; a wealthy woman who may
endow the prof's museum with $1000,000; an escaped wild leopard
from the circus; a stupid town constable; a forgettable ex-big
game hunter; a scientifically-minded brain specialist; and a
tippling gardener. Under Howard Hawks' skillful pacing it is
an hilarious farce.
Katharine Hepburn, as the heiress
who goes after her man once she spots him, contributes one of her
most invigorating screen characterizations as a madcap deb.
Cary Grant, the zoology prof, who thinks more of recovering the
priceless missing bone for his uncompleted brontosaurus than his
impending wedding and the companionship of the playful heiress, performs
his role to the hilt.
Ruggles, as the former African game
hunter, does wonders with a minor characterization brought in late
in picture. May Robson, obviously out of her element here,
provides a few sober moments to the mad proceedings, being as
effectual as ever. Catlett gives an expertly comic portrayal
of the constable. Fritz Feld is the brain specialist and
excellent support is furnished by Barry Fitzgerald, Tala Birell,
John Kelly and the animal actors.
Hagar Wilde's story has been neatly
scripted by himself and Dudley Nichols. Developments are
paced by sizzling dialog. Chief shortcoming is that too much
time is consumed with the jail sequence. It diverts interest
from the attempt to locate the missing pet leopard and dog.
Prime reason for it, of course, is that it gives Miss Hepburn a
chance to imitate a gunmoll.
Both Vernon Walker, with his
special effects, and Russell Metty's photography are well up to
the elaborate production given the film.
NEW YORK TIMES
Film Review - March 4, 1938
- by Frank S. Nugent
- submitted by Barry Martin
To the Music Hall yesterday
came a farce which you can barely hear above the precisely
enunciated patter of Miss Katharine Hepburn and the ominous tread
of deliberative gags. In "Bringing Up Baby" Miss Hepburn
has a role which calls for her to be breathless, senseless and
terribly, terribly fatiguing. She succeeds, and we can be callous
enough to hint it is not entirely a matter of performance.
And the gags! Have you heard the
one about the trained leopard and the wild leopard who get loose
at the same time? Or the one about the shallow brook with the deep
hole? Or the one about the man wearing a woman's negligee? Or the
one about the Irishman who drains his flask and sees a wild animal
which really is a wild animal?
You have? Surprising, indeed. But
perhaps you haven't heard the one about the annoying little
wire-haired terrier who makes off with a valuable object and
buries it somewhere and has the whole cast on his heels. That one,
too? Well, then, how about the one where the man slips and sits on
his top hat? Or the one where the heroine is trying to arouse a
sleeper by tossing pebbles at his window and, just as he pokes his
head out, hits him neatly with a bit of cobblestone? Or, getting
back to the leopard who is the "baby" of the title,
would you laugh madly if a Charles Ruggles did a leopard-cry
imitation as an after-dinner stunt and commented two minutes later
upon the unusual echo?
Well, neither did we. In fact,
after the first five minutes of the Music Hall's new show - we
needed those five to orient ourselves - we were content to play
the game called "the cliché expert goes to the movies"
and we're are not at all proud to report that we scored 100 per
cent against Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde and Howard Hawks, who
wrote and produced the quiz. Of course, if you've never been to
the movies, "Bringing Up Baby" will be all new to you -
a zany-ridden product of the goofy farce school. But who hasn't
been to the movies?
- by Kathy Fox
This is Cary Grant's 30th
film, his second movie out of four with Katharine Hepburn, and his first out
of five being directed by Howard Hawks. This has become one of my
favorite films, but it has taken several times watching it to digest all the
frivolity and clever lines spoken by its stars. I enjoy it more and
more each time I see it. At this point in her career, Katharine
Hepburn was labeled "box-office poison" by theatre owners, and RKO
put her in films such as this in order to revive her career. This film
lost more than $350,000.00 which further contributed to Hepburn's reputation
as "box-office poison." Now this film has become known
as one of the finest of screwball comedies and an all-time classic, but in
its day it was a disaster. Gary Grant is perfectly at home as a
farceur and Ms. Hepburn matches him in ever respect. This is the story
of David Huxley, a paleontologist, trying to secure a $1,000,000.00
endowment for his museum. He meets up with Susan Vance (Katharine
Hepburn) who is trying to leave the golf course in David's car and who is so
goofy in her role, that she plays her character so unbelievably well.
The two make such a cute couple in this movie, matching each other's lines
word for word. Susan falls in love with David and immediately takes
steps in order to stop him from showing up at his wedding to Alice Swallow,
his business cohort, the following day. Susan conjures up all types of
schemes to keep David close to her, including hunting for a leopard (Baby),
stealing his clothes, losing the important intercostal clavicle (which was
taken by George, the dog, played again by Asta), which David has taken four
years to find, and which is the last part of the brontosaurus skeleton
needed to complete his dinosaur structure. They get put in jail, fall
into the river, dig many holes in the yard to find the bone, and the list of
great comedy goes on and on. This movie rivals the comedic level of ARSENIC
AND OLD LACE, and HIS GIRL FRIDAY, and is so cleverly written and is filled
with such laughter and fun. Too bad life can't be like this!
Personally, I think this is one of Cary's best roles, coming right on the
heels of THE AWFUL TRUTH, when he discovered that indeed he was a comedian
at heart. Too bad that the Academy of Motion Pictures did not
recognize comedy as worthy of Oscar nomination, for certainly this would
have won an award. This film has stood the test of time and is much
more appreciated today than when he first was released. In the end,
the $1,000,000.00 is given to Susan, who in turn gives it to David for his
museum, and when they realize they are in love, Susan climbs up on a
ladder to give David the lost bone, she starts to fall, and climbs on the
dinosaur bone structure and it tumbles to the ground (4 years of work down
the drain), but David catches her with his arm and pulls her up on the
scaffolding and they end up in each others arms. That's worth the
million dollars right there. Bravo, for Cary.
Click here to read
Susanna's review of "Bringing
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
Film Weekly - August 13,
This picture appears above the
article. You will get a chuckle out of the article. Any
mispelled words are as they appeared in the article.
Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant
in a rather mechanical, crazy comedy. Very funny even though
occasionally forced. Hearty entertainment.
The story is one of those
sedulously "quaint" affairs, written by someone who is not quite
a born humorist. It gives an impression of effort behind the laughs.
It deals with the pursuit of Cary
Grant, a professor of zoology, by Katharine Hepburn, and involves a couple
of leopards, a big game hunter (Charles Ruggles) and a country gaol.
In the course of Hepburn's determined efforts to stop Cary from marrying
his secretary (Virgina Walker), she falls over unseen objects, slides down
a muddy bank and flops into a stream. In fact, she's a regular
romp-but to orders rather than spontaneously.
The opening is a little off-key
and several comic sequences have only the elementary appeal of slapstick.
On the whole, however, there is a abundance of laughs, if mainly obvious
One of the best is provided by
the gaol sequence, in which Miss Hepburn impersonates a ganster's
Apart from Hepburn's consientious
effort and Cary Grant's really excellent work, efficient support is
provided by such clever players as Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson and
Charlie Ruggles. An intelligent leopard and an attractive terrier
compete with the human elememt.
A wholehearted effort to make you
This is a footnote:
The leopards are real, though a
stuffed one was used in a few of the scenes. Clever trick
photography is responsible for the apparent mingling of the animals and
The purr of Baby, the leading
leopard, proved too fierce for the microphone, so they used the purr of
the studio cat (amplified
fourteen times) instead.
ANGELES TIMES Film Review - February 19, 1938
- submitted by Renee Klish
Picture Comedy Hit
Without peradventure of a doubt
"Bringing Up Baby" will take its place among the most
insane comedies of the year, and yet one of the most original, and
fantastically amusing. It's incidentally an absorbing
event. Never a dull moment. And you can't tell what's
going to happen next.
Katharine Hepburn is a harebrained
heroine indeed, and Cary Grant an immensely eccentric hero.
There are at least fifty comedy falls to the square furlong of film
- or do furlongs come in squares? - and every slapstick device is
Total result, as demonstrated
yesterday at Pantages and Hillstreet theaters, is rich
entertainment. Some audiences may find the film too nutty, but
the majority are bound to have fun; And in the end "Bringing Up
Baby" will probably be a decisive hit.
Miss Hepburn does a difficult role
with great ability and is matched in skill by Grant. These two
carry the picture, with Charlie Ruggles, Walter Catlett and
occasionally Barry Fitzgerald furnishing high lights of humor.
May Robson provides a
background of sanity for the proceedings. Fritz Feld, Virginia
Walker, who is very good; Leona Roberts and George Irving assist ably, and
others are John Kelly and Tala Birell.
is a leopard, designed as a pet. Grant heads a museum for
prehistoric animals. Miss Hepburn . . . But, then, why bother
about identifying everybody?
Hawks directed from the screen play by Dudley Nichols and Hagar
Wilde, who spare nothing for the laugh.
Film Review - March 27, 1938
- by Mae Tinée
- submitted by Renee Klish
Comedy About a
Leopard Has Hilarious Spots
It's been a long time since we've had
a real feature length slapstick comedy. As a quite amusing
specimen of this class, I welcome "Bringing Up Baby."
Probably you have the idea [see
title] that this is a domestic comedy dealing with the upbringing of
Guess again, my dears!
"Baby" is a leopard!
"Ah HA!" you say, "A
Wrong! There's lots of monkey
business but the story's locale is America. The hero is a
young, and O, so serious anthropologist, desirous of obtaining an
endowment of $1,000,000 for his museum from a rich old lady bent on
handing out the sum to some such institution. The heroine is
the wealthy niece fo the old lady - madcap to the point of mild
insanity . . . Baby, a tame leopard; Asta, the dog that won fame in
"The Thin Man," May Robson, Charles Ruggles, Walter
Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, and Fritz Feld prove excellent
entertainers in a brightly selected cast.
As the story opens, David is on the
point of marrying Miss Swallow, his serious museum assistant.
His endeavors to interest Mr. Peabody, the aforementioned old lady's
lawyer, in his museum leads him to a golf course where he meets
Susan, the madcap heiress. She, falling for him like a ton of
adobe, introduces the leopard . . . Leopard becomes reason for
scientist's accompanying heiress to aunt's Connecticut farm - where
of all the outlandish things that happen - my dears . . . !
Much merriment is occasioned the
audience by Asta's theft of a precious old bone needed to complete
the skeleton of a dinosaur . . . A vicious leopard escapes its keeps
and is mistaken for the gentle Baby, causing no end of excitement .
. . Comes a time when the whole caboodle of leopard finds, keepers
and lovers are seriously suspected of insanity by local police . . .
and here's a stretch where you have fun.
The latter half of the picture is a
heap more comical than the first reels, which drag just a lee-tle
Katharine Hepburn's casual screwiness
reminds you of Carole Lombard's new technique. Cary Grant, in
spectacles, is pretty amusing though not so much so as he was in
"Topper" and "The Awful Truth."
I think the picture might have been
shorter to advantage. But mebbe not.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Film Review - March 21, 1938
- by Norbert Lusk
- submitted by Renee Klish
Star Held Miscast
in 'Goofy' Farce
R.K.O.'s mistake in casting Katharine
Hepburn in goofy comedy is proved by the poor, single week of
"Bringing Up Baby." It seems that almost any star,
including Irene Dunne, Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy may
attempt antic comedy and make a go of it, but that medium is not for
Miss Hepburn in the theater where she is accepted as an important
Dissatisfaction and displeasure are
voiced by patrons, many of whom are susceptible only to
entertainment and are without critical bias. The consensus of
audience opinion is that the picture is too outrageous a parody on
good taste and common sense. It may clean up in neighborhood
Of course, Howard Hawks, the
director, has done the most with his material, and no one makes
light of the story-telling skill of Dudley Nichols and Hager Wilde,
but the fitness of the whole is what seems to rankle.
Virtually all the critics make a point of the scene in which Miss
Hepburn is separated from the back of her dress and meanders through
a hotel lobby exposing her underwear.
The following sequence in which Cary
Grant endeavors to conceal her exposure is cleverly developed and
funny, too, after the fashion of Mack Sennett and the early Chaplin
comedies with Edna Purviance, but it does not fit in to the modern
viewpoint. It is legitimate slapstick, but it is not up to
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