Note from dimanche: This film from director Howard Hughes follows a paleontologist, a heiress, and a leopard named Baby on a romp through 1930s society. With laugh out loud moments and delightful costumes, the dimanche girl watches this film during a night in with some sparkling wine.
IN THE MOOD FOR
Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in Bringing Up Baby, a film that epitomizes the screwball comedies of the 1930s and 40s. In years marked by financial hardship and tightening political parties, audiences turned to the movies for respite and laughter. Bringing Up Baby, released in 1938, reflects this desire for lightness and spontaneity.
With a plot following a mild mannered paleontologist (played by Grant) and an eccentric heiress (played by Hepburn), the film is purposefully ridiculous. Paleontologist David Huxley is searching for a long lost dinosaur bone to finish the skeleton he has been constructing for years when he meets heiress Susan Vance. He is soon swept up into her illogical and scatterbrained world, a fate he finds frustrating but ultimately charming.
With pitfalls including a pet leopard that only calms down when the song “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” is sung to it, a dog stealing a precious dinosaur bone and burying it in the garden, and countless wardrobe malfunctions, Bringing Up Baby is fun from start to finish.
With costumes designed by Howard Greer, Katherine Hepburn’s costumes in the film provide both old Hollywood glamour and a
touch of playfulness that reflects the tone of the movie. Highlights include a classy satin evening gown that is quickly torn revealing lacy underwear and a fluffy robe that is worn by both Hepburn and Grant.
The film features Hepburn and Grant at their most comedic, and showcases the two actor’s natural chemistry and quick wordplay. The two had worked together on a previous comedy called Sylvia Scarlett, and were great friends on and off set. Both actors would go on to have acclaimed dramatic roles, with Grant becoming one of Hitchcock's favorite actors and starring in suspenseful films like Suspicion and North by Northwest, and Hepburn winning Oscars for roles in dramas The African Queen and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. Bringing Up Baby highlights the versatility of these classic movie stars, highlighting their talents in pure comedy.
Although a light screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby provides meaningful lessons in the importance of letting go and having fun. Watching the focused Huxley resign himself to his new ridiculous life and begin to enjoy its quirks and adventures shows us that the humorous elements of our problems can often make them worthwhile.
1930s film | Drector Howard Hughes | Katharine Hepburn | Cary Grant
Words by Elena Scott