Film-Forward Review: [BRINGING UP BABY (1938)]

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Directed & Produced by: Howard Hawks.
Written by: Dudley Nichols & Hagar Wilde.
Cinematography: Russell Metty.
Edited by: George Hively.
Music by: Roy Webb.
Released by: Warner Home Video.
Country of Origin: USA. 102 min. Not Rated.
With: Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charlie Ruggles, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson, Walter Catlett & Fritz Feld.
DVD Features: Commentary by filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. Documentaries Cary Grant: A Class Apart and The Men Who Made the Movies: Howard Hawks. Cartoon short "A Star is Hatched" & comedy short "Campus Cinderella". Howard Hawks movie trailer gallery. Subtitles in English, French & Spanish.

In this hilarious screwball comedy, paleontologist David Huxley (played by Grant) crosses paths with heiress Susan Vance (Hepburn in her only screwball role) and mayhem and madness ensue. David falls deeper and deeper into chaos as he’s mistakenly accused of stealing Susan's purse, rips off the back of her dress and sings a rendition of "I Can't Give You Anything but Love, Baby" to coax her pet leopard, Baby, down from a rooftop.

Hepburn is amusing but can also be slightly annoying as the reckless and impulsive heiress, but Grant's performance as the awkward and aggravated professor is near flawless. His comic timing (as in the scene where he follows a bare-bottomed Hepburn through the dinner club) is impeccable.

DVD Extras: In his audio commentary, Peter Bogdanovich frequently quotes director Howard Hawks. (The filmmaker interviewed Hawks in the sixties and seventies.) Much of what Bogdanovich says here is also found in the feature-length documentaries on Grant and Hawks produced by Turner Classic Movies. Cary Grant: A Class Apart is fascinating and thoroughly delves into the actor's life, discussing everything from his most brilliant performances to his unhappy childhood and alledged homosexual relationship with Randolph Scott. Regarding this, Grant’s third wife, Betsy Drake, bitingly asks, “Why would I believe that Cary was homosexual when we were busy f*******.” Interviews include writer Sidney Sheldon, actress Eva Marie Saint, and wife Barbara Harris, along with excerpts from his autobiographical essays. In the Howard Hawks' documentary, the speed-demon director discusses his experiences with colleagues like William Faulkner, Hepburn, Lauren Bacall and Dean Martin from an interview in the early ‘70s. It abundantly features footage from his multi-genre career. The movie trailers are interesting but the "vault treasures," "Campus Cinderella" and "A Star is Hatched," are random and unnecessary additions. Lauren Hines
April 20, 2005



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