Wednesday, April 1, 2015

AFI Top 100, #97: "Bringing Up Baby" (1938)

Movie Stats:
Released 1938 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Howard Hawks
Stars - Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn

Plot Summary:
When paleontologist David (Grant) has a chance encounter with heiress Susan (Hepburn), zany hijinks and romance ensue. There’s a leopard involved (the titular Baby).

Very mild violence.

Bad Stuff:
The character of Susan is absolutely insufferable. I don’t believe for a second that any man would fall in love with her.

As annoying as she is, it’s not okay for David to commit violence against her, no matter how minor (he stomps on her foot).

Why on earth is there a leopard in this? Honestly! Why would Susan’s brother send a living leopard to her when she lives in the middle of NYC? It doesn’t make any sense. What a ridiculous plot device!

Good Stuff:
Cary Grant is funny at least. He was such a good comedic actor. He had all the best lines.

The Verdict:
I saw this once years and years ago and knew I didn’t like it, but I couldn’t recall why. How unfortunate to be reminded! At one point, Susan was arguing with her aunt (Elizabeth, played by May Robson), all while a dog was barking loudly, and David looked like he’d rather be dead. I shared the sentiment.

Susan is such a terrible character. She essentially kidnaps David and holds him hostage until Stockholm Syndrome settles in, all while thoroughly ruining his life (and this after deciding she’s in love with him after less than a day). I get that I was supposed to find it cute and wacky but I didn’t. It was awful. I also hated the way everyone kept talking over each other, and how no one was capable of just saying what they meant. The only redeeming quality is that it has a few funny lines. 

I give it 1.5 stars.


Patricia said...

I'm reading along with your review thinking, "Yeah! I totally agree!" So I check my review and it's much milder. I chalked everything up to "zany". But really, Katherine Hepburn's character bugged. How many women actually act like that? I think maybe in 70 years people will watch movies now and ask, "Why is nearly every woman only portrayed as a wife/girlfriend/prostitute? Why did they not show women as fully formed people in their own right?"

At least I hope so.

balyien said...

Yeah, I hope so too.