BRINGING UP BABY (1938) B/W 102m dir: Howard Hawks
w/Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charlie Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald, Walter Catlett, Fritz Feld, Leona Roberts, George Irving, Virginia Walker
This classic is perhaps the screwiest of the screwball comedies. Grant is an absent-minded paleontologist beleaguered by persistently kooky heiress Hepburn and her pet leopard, Baby.
From Georges Sadoul's Dictionary of Films : "One of the best American screwball comedies of the Thirties, in which Hawks used his typical comic theme of dignity destroyed: a scientist falls in the mud and down stairs, is garbed in a lady's dressing gown, blinded by feathers, and finally collapses on top of a dinosaur's skeleton."
From The Movie Guide: "A delightful piece of utter absurdity and one of director Hawks' most inspired lampoons of the battle between the sexes. Hepburn and Grant are superb in this breathlessly funny screwball comedy with a plot that could have been hatched in a mental institution. ... Memorable moments abound throughout: Susan [Hepburn] insistently playing David's [Grant] ball at a golf game, which leads him further and further from his playing companion ('I'll be with you in a minute, Mr. Peabody!'); Susan's tricks with olives; Baby's encounter with a chicken coop; David facing Susan's elderly aunt (Robson) while wearing a frilly negligee ('I just decided to go gay all of a sudden!'); David caught in Susan's butterfly net (surely not the best way to catch a runaway leopard); Susan's aunt and cowardly big game hunter Maj. Applegate (Ruggles) deciding they need some exercise ('Shall we run?' 'Yes, let's!'); Susan's imitation of a gangster's moll ('Hey flatfoot!') --- the list could go on and on. Though Hepburn fans might not be used to seeing her essay such an atypically scatterbrained role, her marvelous timing and zany comic elan are wonderfully engaging. Grant, meanwhile, manages the near-impossible feat of being goofy, suave, dimwitted and sexy all at once. Among a brilliant supporting cast, Robson, Ruggles, Catlett, Feld and Fitzgerald are standouts, and the pace never flags for an instant. A barbed satire of masculinity, romance, wealth, psychiatry and authority, BRINGING UP BABY was, not too surprisingly, a box-office flop in its day, probably because it poked fun at the very conventions it employed. Enormously influential on later comedy writing, it is a milestone of film merriment."