Bringing Up Baby; I’ve Got My Head, I’ve Lost my Leopard!

Bringing Up Baby Poster.jpgBringing Up Baby is a 1938 film directed by Howard Hawks, starring Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn in her first comedic role. Cary Grant plays David Huxley, an uptight professor who is to be married the next day, the same day he receives the final bone in his Brontosaurus. Katharine Hepburn plays a scatter brained, yet strong character called Susan Vance, who receives a leopard called Baby from her brother, and has to get it to Connecticut. Bringing Up Baby also stars Charles Ruggles, May Robson, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld and Barry Fitzgerald.

Cary Grant was very frightened of the leopard, as can be seen when there is an obvious double for him in some scenes where he has to have contact with the leopard. Katharine however was quite comfortable with the leopard, and is shown petting it in the movie.

Cary Grant may have used the word gay, to mean homosexual, for the first time in cinema in this movie. When asked why he was wearing a woman’s dressing gown he said:

Because I just went gay all of a sudden!

Cary Grant himself reportedly had a twelve year long relationship with Randolph Scott, so it was a very interesting first use of the word.

There was a fantastic jumpsuit that Susan wears in this film. As I’ve mentioned before, Katharine Hepburn wore trousers decades before it was fashionable for women to wear them.

katharine-hepburn-jumpsuit

I loved the golf scene in Bringing Up Baby. I’d watched The Aviator only a few weeks prior to Bringing Up Baby, so I immediately recognised the scene of Cate Blanchett playing Katharine Hepburn and how it referenced Bringing Up Baby. Bringing Up Baby was shot while Katharine Hepburn and Howard Hughes were together.

cary-grantChristopher Reeve, aka the best actor to play Superman, based his Clark Kent on David Huxley, which I found to be extremely interesting.

Bringing Up Baby was initially a flop when released, not helped due to Katharine Hepburn’s reputation as box office poison. Now, however, it is regarded as one of the best movies ever, as evident by its place at number 14 on the AFI’s 100 Years 100 Laughs list (and number 97 on the AFI’s 100 Years 100 Movies). This movie was really good, it was the first movie I’ve watched with Cary Grant, who was great. Katharine Hepburn was also very good, poisonous or not.

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