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4.6 out of 5 stars
Bringing Up Baby
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108 of 113 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
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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98 of 105 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
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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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
By far the best screwball comedy ever made. Cary Grant is hysterical as a stuffy professor commissioned by a museum to solicit a donation from a wealthy widow; while he is doing so he meets a madcap heiress (played by Hepburn) who falls for him - and she just happens to be the widow's niece. The film is side-splitting from start to finish and features great performances from some of the best of the 30's character actors: May Robson as wealthy Aunt Elizabeth (you'll love the way she fumes over Grant and Hepburn's antics); Barry Fitzgerald in a small role as half-drunken groundskeeper Fogarty; Walter Catlett as the scatterbrained Constable Slocum; Fritz Feld as a psychiatrist; and especially Charlie Ruggles as the good-natured but incredibly loony Major Horace Applegate (from the time he steps on the screen, he'll have you in hysterics). The lion's share of praise, however, goes to Grant and Hepburn; this was one of Hepburn's first screwball comedies and yet her delivery is so fast and furious, you wonder why she didn't make more in this genre. Grant is superb as usual as stuffy Professor Huxley (his inspiration for his performance was silent comic Harold Lloyd). My favorite scenes include the restaurant scene, when Hepburn tears Grant's tuxedo jacket, and he in turn steps on the back of her dress and rips it off (that scene seems to demonstrate how, in an offbeat way, the characters are made for each other); and a hilarous supper-table scene with Grant, Hepburn, Robson and Ruggles. I really don't understand why this film didn't attract depression era audiences in droves, it's terrific escapism guaranteed to make you forget your troubles and laugh for a while. Guaranteed to stand up to repeated viewings - I've seen it at least 20 times and I still haven't gotten tired of it.
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41 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2005
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
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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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful
Format: VHS Tape
This is one of the fastest, funniest and zanniest comedies ever made. Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant are in great shape. A funny script, 2 of the 30's greatest actors, Howard Hawks, and a great supporting cast combine to make this one of the most funniest films ever made. Rapid-fire dialogue and hilarious situations make this film entertaining all the way through. I can't see how this film could of been a flop when first released, it has stood the test of time better than most films from that era. This is the definitive screwball comedy, hilarious, see this movie. One of the greats. From a scale of 1-10 I give this film a 10!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 18, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
"Bringing Up Baby" is one of my all time favorite comedies. Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn are perfect in this fast paced slapstick involving a leopard, a difficult dog and a valuable dinosaur bone. Grant and Hepburn are naturally funny together, and in this film it's one hilarious misadventure after another for them. There are added bonuses in this movie with the excellent performaces of May Robson as the rich Aunt Elizabeth, and Charlie Ruggles as Major Horace Applegate. I thought it was especially funny while Major Applegate imitated the leopard's mating cry at the dinner table, the real leopard answered it outside in which Susan explained, "It was probably an echo." I couldn't stop laughing at the scene where Charlie Ruggles tried to put a rope around the wild leopard's neck while calling it like a tame housecat! "Here, kitty kitty kitty kitty kitty!" It's a priceless film worth seeing over and over again!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2002
Format: VHS TapeVerified Purchase
If you are wondering what exactly "screwball comedy" is all about, just see this movie. It highlights the best of the genre: rapid, hilarious dialogue, frantic action, and a crazy plot. Furthermore, it has the perfect example of the essential part of "screwball" - a man and a woman who really love each other, but don't know it, and fight constantly. And, even if you know exactly what screwball comedy is all about, watch this anyhow! Quite simply, this movie is totally hilarious! Every scene is great, even though you could argue that some are a little too long (but I don't mind).
The plot is really bizarre, but basically it concerns a palentologist (played by Cary Grant) who lives a dull, boring life and is about to be married to an equally dull and businesslike woman (when he asks to go on a honeymoon, she objects b/c she claims he needs to work instead - "this will be our baby," she states, gesturing at the dinosour bones). By chance, however, he meets a madcap heiress (played by Katherine Hepburn) who turns his life upside down while taking him to Conneticut to deliver a leopard to her aunt.
The performances are all excellent, and Cary and Kate are wonderful together! This is screwball at its best (it is directed by Howard Hawks, the man responsible for some of the other great screwball comedies, like His Girl Friday and Twentieth Century) - and is a must-see for the whole family. Get this movie, and enjoy!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 30, 2004
Format: VHS Tape
There have been some great reviews here. I will add my two cents, in the remote hope that some Film executive will see this and hasten it DVD!

It is 'the' classic romantic comedy, the type that you can watch over and over and over. Its well written, directed by the legendary Howard Hawks but the main reason for its appeal is the chemistry of Hepburn and Grant and Grant's masterful but subtle physical comedy.

Without a large budget, or cast of thousands, Hawks has created a world that I wish I could jump into.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This was the first video I ever bought! It's the best cure for a bad day I can think of. Grant does a perfect absentminded professor; Hepburn is at her zany best (who'da thunk it)....the supporting cast were seamless and even the animals were perfect. Depressed? Rent this video!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2004
Verified Purchase
No plot review here--- it's been adequately done by plenty of viewers before me--- but just an urgent plea to the studio to PLEASE release this on DVD! This is THE classic screwball comedy, and how much better can it get than this? Cary Grant (with whom I fell in love at age 10 and never stopped), Katharine Hepburn (I just wanted to BE her since I was 10), and a couple of leopards, orchestrated into a symphony of hilarity by Howard Hawks. Nothing short of wonderful (bested, in my opinion, ONLY by The Philadelphia Story). So please please PLEASE let us have this timeless classic on DVD. And soon!
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