Classic Cinema Wednesday is a weekly spotlight review series focusing on a classic film from the “Golden Age” of Hollywood (roughly 1927-1960) that I have never seen prior to watching for this series. The goal of the project is to catch up on old films that I haven’t seen and have overlooked due to their age.
[QDR #37] Classic Cinema Wednesday #6: Bringing Up Baby
Starring: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Charles Ruggles, May Robson, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld
Director: Howard Hawks
Writer(s): Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde, Robert McGowan
Studio: RKO Radio Pictures
Released: February 18, 1938
(For the second week in a row, the QDR and CCW are merged into one. Unfortunately, this CCW truly is a quick review, so it won’t be as long as I like for these to be.)
I told you there would be more Cary Grant during last week’s review of Arsenic and Old Lace, and we didn’t have to wait long. This week’s Grant film is the hilarious romantic comedy “Bringing Up Baby,” which co-stars the very funny Katherine Hepburn.
Grant stars as David Huxley, a paleontologist who is about to marry Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker). Alice is all about David’s job, and she doesn’t wish to have children or even take a honeymoon… she wants David working on completely focused on his job (which should have scared him off). Before the marriage though, David has to make a good impression on Mrs. Random’s (May Robson) financial guy/lawyer because Mrs. Random is thinking about making a one million dollar donation to the museum David works at.
David goes out to play a round of golf with the guy, and at the golf course he has a series of run-ins with a young lady named Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn). Susan is sweet, but a little eccentric and carefree. She also happens to be the niece of Mrs. Random, but of course David doesn’t know that. Susan confuses David for being a zoologist and drags him into helping her deliver a tame leopard (Baby) to her aunt’s house in Connecticut.
Susan falls in love with David and doesn’t like the thought of him returning home to marry his colleague Alice, so she devises ways to keep David at her home. In the process, Susan’s dog George steals a bone from a Brontosaurus that David needs to complete a skeleton. Things get even worse when Baby runs off, and wouldn’t you know that another leopard (from a circus) is in the area. It all ends up with David and Susan being arrested, and then with Mrs. Random being arrested. Her lawyer guy, Mr. Peabody, has to show up to identify everyone to sort everything out.
In the end, David is dumped by Alice, and Susan shows up to inform David that her aunt will be making the donation to the museum and she returns his Brontosaurus bone. The two finally embrace to end the film.
As you would expect from two legends like Grant and Hepburn, this film will have you laughing from beginning to end. Both of the stars were fantastic in their roles, and the chemistry between them really is something else. Today’s romantic comedies could learn a lot from this film, which happens to be hilarious and family friendly.
This is truly a classic comedy that should be in your DVD collection (it’s under $10). If you’re an Amazon Prime member, the film is available for free instant streaming.