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USA 1938
Directed by
Howard Hawks
102 minutes
Rated G

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby is an exemplary screwball comedy written by Dudley Nichols and Hagar Wilde from the latter’s story. It bounces along at a cracking pace but some, and I number myself amongst that group, might find the comedy strained,which perhaps explains why it tanked in its day even if to some extent the absurdity of the premiss is half the point

Cary Grant is in near-manic form as an absent-minded paleontologist, Professor David Huxley, who is engaged to be married to his prim and proper assistant (Virginia Walker, who would briefly become the sister-in-law of director Hawks), Katharine Hepburn is Susan Vance, a ditzy heiress who inadvertently but repeatedly spoils his attempts to secure a million dollar endowment for his museum.

Some of the gags work, notably a bit of business in which Huxley and Susan manage to tear each other's evening clothes and the support work from Charlie Ruggles and May Robson is excellent but it's all rather thin and repetitious

FYI: The film was remade in the 1970s as What's Up Doc? with Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal.  Hawks rather self-consciously returned to the screwball style with only slightly better results with the similarly animal-themed Monkey Business in 1952




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