Wednesday, June 08, 2011

076 - Bringing Up Baby (1936)

DVD Box
Bringing Up Baby is a screwball comedy that spirals out of control as mild-mannered David Huxley meets eccentric heiress Susan Vance.

As secluded scientist David (Cary Grant) prepares to celebrate both the finding of the final bone in his brontosaurus skeleton and his impending marriage, he bumps into the scatterbrained Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn) on a golf course.

From that moment he is swept into a whirlwind of absurd situations that he has neither the capacity nor the authority to gain control of. He finds himself travelling from New York to Connecticut in a stolen car with a tame leopard in the back as each new moment ceases to help him return to his fiancée.

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
The choice to focus Bringing Up Baby primarily on two main characters in almost real-time is a dangerous one, resulting in the laughs dipping towards the second half of the film - but Hepburn and Grant have so much chemistry between them that it enables the film to finish on a hilariously bizarre high.

On the subject of Hepburn and Grant, it is evident that this film would have struggled to reach its success without them. Grant takes up a role very similar to John Cleese's Basil in the British sitcom Fawlty Towers. He appears to be a man on the edge, totally drowning in the adventure - and to mostly keep that up for 102 minutes is impressive.

Hepburn's character has two sides to it and both are portrayed superbly. As Susan appears to accidentally drag David along for the ride, there is also a slightly more sinister side that becomes almost stalkerish in her quest for unrequited love. On the flip side, she does explain that David is the first man she has ever loved, showing her naivety in such subjects.

As for the storyline, well, let's just say it involves a million pounds, a leopard which likes having belly rubs, a brontosaurus, a circus, a birdbrained policeman and an intercostal clavicle(?!). If that sounds completely bonkers then you have basically got the storyline nailed.

Hilarious.

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