Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Bringing Up Baby

Bringing Up Baby; comedy, USA, 1938; D: Howard Hawks, S: Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson
The coiled Dr. David Huxley works in a museum of natural history and plans to marry his cold assistant. When he assembled the skeleton of a Brontosaurus and went to an important meeting with lawyer Peabody, who can convince the rich Mrs. Random to donate 1 million $ to the museum, he stumbled upon the wacky Susan playing golf with his ball. She convinces him to help her transport a leopard called 'Baby' for her aunt into Connecticut. There David discovers that Susan's aunt is actually Mrs. Random, which brings him into countless crazy situations. In the end, they end up in prison but get released. Susan gets the million $ and gives it to the museum.

(Screwball) comedy "Bringing Up Baby" flopped in cinemas during it's premiere, which disappointed director Howard Hawks, but with time it gained an incredible reputation that contradicted the remarks of some critics who doubted such a simple and wacky comedy could ever become a classic. This unusual film is completely relaxed and spontaneous, as if it doesn't even care for the structure of the story, arbitrarily - just like the Marx brothers - queueing all sorts of gags coming from up, down, left, right and center. The whole film seems to be mocking the critics and simply trying to be just a set of random gags with a lot of fun, in which it succeeds, while Cary Grant is absolutely hilarious as the coiled David Huxley wearing geeky glasses, whose rationality is always cut down by Susan's wild energy. The best gags are completely "arbitrarily", like when the dog George is "wrestling" with the leopard called 'Baby' or when David, wearing only a negligee, when asked why he is dressed like that, jumps and says insanely: "Because I'm feeling gay!" Because of it's uneven and chaotic structure the movie is flawed, but it is funny and amusingly shows how even embarrassing situations are completely normal and part of our life, becoming as good as the other Hepburn-Grant comedy, "The Philadelphia Story".


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