Customer Reviews: Bringing Up Baby (Two-Disc Special Edition)
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This is a terrific, old fashioned, madcap, screwball comedy. Deftly directed by Howard Hawkes, the pace is frenetic from the get-go and never lets up. Starring Cary Grant, as a straight-laced paleontologist, and Katherine Hepburn, as an impulsive and beautiful heiress, this film is simply about as good as comedy gets.
The plot itself is simple. David Huxley (Cary Grant), a noted paleontologist, is trying to get a philanthropical grant of money for his museum from a wealthy donor. In his quest for this charitable gift, he runs into Susan (Katherine Hepburn), who, unbeknownst to him, is the niece and prospective heiress to his potential philanthropist's fortune. Once David meets up with this madcap heiress, his life will never be the same.
The film is noted for its highly improbable situations, its rat-a-tat-tat, stacatto delivery of lines, its frenetic pacing, and impeccable comedic timing. Toss in a missing dinosaur bone, a little dog with a fondness for such, a domesticated leopard (if there is such a thing), a not so tame leopard, a great cast and script, and voila, one ends up with a great film!
Cary Grant is marvelous as David Huxley, the straight-laced, befuddled man of science who is drawn into improbable situations by Susan. Katherine Hepburn is sensational as Susan, the airhead heiress whose hair-brained ideas just lead to trouble. Of course, Susan falls for David, and the games begin. In addition to Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn, the film has notable performances by Charles Ruggles, as big game hunter Major Applegate, Barry Fitzgerald as the hapless hired hand, Mr. Gogarty, and Walter Catlett, as Slocum, the criminally stupid town constable.
It is with good reason that this film made The Entertainment Weekly list of the 100 best comedies ever made. It is an assessment with which I heartily concur. This is a superlative, vintage film that is well worth having in one's personal collection. Bravo!
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I give full credit to a bachelor uncle, Harry Johnson, for the fact that I became a movie buff early in my childhood. Throughout the Great Depression, as he repeatedly explained, he escaped from all the financial hardships by attending the local movie theaters on the South Side of Chicago. One of his all-time favorites is this one. You can thus imagine how thrilled he was when I gave him a VCR one distant Christmas, accompanied by VHSs of this film and It's a Wonderful Life. At Christmas and on his birthday, I gave him VHS versions of other films (e.g. Going My Way, Bells of St. Mary, and The Virginian). Whenever I returned to visit him, we would head for his favorite restaurant in Oak Park (Otto's) for a steak dinner, then return to his apartment to watch a movie. More often than not, this was the one he selected. We would settle back with lavishly buttered popcorn and a cold beer and again become enchanted by Bringing Up Baby.
Directed by Howard Hawks and co-starring Cary Grant (David Huxley) and Katherine Hepburn (Susan Vance), this is the archetypical screwball comedy. While golfing, Susan falls in love with David, a paleontologist. "Baby" is her pet leopard. Any summary of the film's plot cannot begin to suggest what a delightful experience it is to observe her pursuit of him, complicated at one point by mistaken identity (stay with me on this) when Baby is mistaken for another leopard which has escaped from the local zoo. Meanwhile, David (stay with me now) pursues a missing dinosaur bone which he needs inorder to....
Hepburn and Grant are brilliant, as are several members of the supporting cast, notably Charlie Ruggles (Major Horace Applegate), Barry Fitzgerald (Mr. Gogarty), and May Robson (Aunt Elizabeth). So many memorable scenes. Somehow, Hawks and his cast establish and then sustain zaniness at a high level of sophistication. Can it really be 65 years since this film first appeared? How remarkable that it has lost none of its entertainment value since then. None. Today, how much I wish I could see it again with Uncle Harry. He died years ago but I still have all those fond memories. He and they live on in films such as this. While seeing it again recently, I returned in time to Oak Park, to Otto's, and then to sharing it in a small apartment with Uncle Harry.
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on October 14, 2005
Don't spend the high price for this DVD! Everyone already knows this is a "5-star" FILM; however, the quality of this DVD transfer is not that great. You can get as good or better copy by taping one of the frequent showings on TCM (Turner Classic Movies.) Most reviewers concentrate on reviewing the film itself rather than the quality of the DVD or VHS transfer, however, I want to emphasize that I was not impressed with the DVD quality. If you want the DVD strictly for the film, that's one thing, but if you expect a quality DVD transfer (considering the higher cost), you'll probably be as disappointed as I was. But, it's your call and your money--just don't say you were not warned. Ratings: Film 5, DVD quality 2. ADDENDUM 9/2009: The selling price was about $30 when this review was first posted. It is now selling for much less than half that amount, so go figure!)
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on August 22, 2014
The Issue is not the movie - it defines "Screwball Comedy" - but the picture quality of its available releases. I bought this one (ASIN: B004GJYR7I), released by Turner Home Entertainment) hoping it would be better than the 2005 Warner Bros DVD (UPC: 053939640724), but it was worse... There are some indications of a Blu-Ray release (finally!) in 2014; hold out for that.
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on December 12, 2013
Funny acting by both Grant and Hepburn....the story itself has some pacing issues even though at the time movies like this tended to be long. The Two disc edition comes off a bit like too much info that has nothing to do with the movie....just Cary Grant life story - and then some - which was great except for the barely edited /not edited enough vulgarity from an ex wife that we didn't need to hear .
Be warned.
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on June 5, 2014
there is this funny young waitress who is good enough to really have an Act, and she would be doing "Katherine Hepburn", but I guess she did not know it, because one time she said something funny, and I said, now do it in your 'Katherine Hepburn'... she said "who?"... the Katherine Hepburn 'voice' has become such a part of our culture that the kids don't even realize half the time where it came from. Anyway, I told the waitress to rent on line "Bringing Up Baby". I went home and made sure she could do what I told her and for, what, 3 or 4 bucks I got to watch "Bringing Up Baby" on my computer. Oh my God. It must have been ten years since I saw it. I was laughing so hard, tears were coming out of my eyes and I couldn't keep my face dry. Grant and Hepburn's timing was by today's standards impossible -- Grant would be saying something, and Hepburn would cut him off and take some inappropriate meaning from his first phrase and run with, and Grant would break in and try again, and the same thing would happen, again and again and again... fast as lightening. You knew how good they were, because every once in a while the Director would try to do it with the supporting cast members, but the timing was simply not World Class like with Grant and Hepburn. Oh, and in those days the Studios did not like to do too many takes... they were REALLY on Schedule and Budget back then, so one imagines that Grant and Hepburn 'worked late', rehearsing these scenes over and over again, like some weird jazz songs, until they got them spot perfect. And then there is the Crazy Screen Play. Not one leopard in some New England Town but two! Oh, and I wanted the waitress to see how Hepburn really talked... talked at her best. Well, I caught myself trying to do Grant... he talks with an American Accent from the top back of his pallet with the sound squeezed over to the sides into his molars... that is why it is hard to do Grant... he was talking over and through his very unique teeth. Anyway, Great Movie. If you think you remember it, watch it again... and try to keep your face dry.
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on July 23, 2014
I love the movie, unfortunately we got to watch it only twice, at widely separated times, before the movie DVD refused to function at all in any DVD player, Blu-Ray player or computer DVD drive in the house. The DVD was never exposed to any extremes in temperature, or chemicals or anything that might have damaged it, and was always returned to its case after use, so I would assume that this was some sort of manufacturing defect. I'm unaware of any sort of warranty or means of requesting a replacement for this (or any other) DVD. Disc 2 continues to work.
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on October 14, 2015
Dr. David Huxley, a paleontologist, obtains a missing bone of a brontosaurus skeleton he is constructing for four years, yet not in hand. Its arrival is expected the same day he plans to wed his assistant. Her dedication to their work prompts her to inform him how the marriage will be: focus continuing their work as paleontologists without morass of domestic life. Dr. Huxley disappointedly receives this news. This then sets up an inner conflict in him as to whether he will marry or not though he continues to go on his daily routine as if he will.

In addition to this, at this time Dr. Huxley must court the attorney of a potential, significant money donor. Together, the attorney and Huxley play golf, yet the attorney will not discuss business while playing golf but will discuss business over lunch. It is here on the golf course Huxley encounters Susan Vance, a rascal of a woman, charming in a mischievous way.

Well, through a series of coincidences Susan and David end up being together the following day. Yet before that is the incident at a formal gathering held the night before. That sets up the ensuing comedic bedlam, which involves a leopard, a dog, an aunt, her gentleman caller, a missing dinosaur bone, a circus, another leopard, and a cast madcap characters.

Romantic comedies are not made like this anymore, and too bad. And yet times are different now than they were in 1938, the time the movie was released. Grant and Hepburn are at their comedic best in this movie. To not laugh at the many outrageous situations in which the characters are involved would be ridiculous. Action after action, dialogue after dialogue in so many scenes give rise to a screwball comedy that satisfies the funny-bone.
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on December 19, 2015
A great old movie to share with the family. Humor that is as good as it gets, with verbal and physical antics. Hepburn and Grant play off of each other, increasing the pace as the story plays out. As the absurdity builds, we all laughed together, and the memory will last a lifetime.
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on February 17, 2013
This is not a review of the movie, as this is not only one of my favorite comedies of all time, but one of AFI's top 100 movies of all time. There's no need add my two cents of opinion.

However, as to the product itself, the print quality seems a bit of a disappointment. I had once read that the National Film Registry for Preservation had selected 'Bringing Up Baby' for preservation, which normally includes renewal of the master. I highly doubt that this is a print from such a master, despite the DVD set's "remastered" claim. Perhaps we'll just have to wait for a Blu-ray version.

This set is actually very good, with featurettes on Howard Hawks, Cary Grant, etc. And it is, actually, the best print available on DVD at present.
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