Bringing Up Baby has always been one of my favorite classic movies, but I had not watched it in years. I streamed this movie on Amazon for free. Bringing Up Baby was directed by Howard Hawks and released on February 18, 1938.
The movie stars Carey Grant as Dr. David Huxley, Katharine Hepburn as Susan Vance and May Robson as Elizabeth Carlton Random. May Robson is the actress who played Apple Annie in A Lady For A Day.
David Huxley is a paleontologist who has been assembling the skeleton of a Brontosaurus for four years. David is just missing one bone (the intercostal clavicle) that was finally found. Davis is also about to get married to a romantically passionless woman named Alice Swallow. To Alice their relationship is more like a business arrangement. All Alice cares about is the museum and the work that David is doing. David is very low-key, but he would like to have a more traditional marriage that includes having children. Not only will there be no children, but Alice says there will be also no wedding night.
In addition to dealing with Alice, David is trying to raise one million dollars for his museum and needs to impress the benefactor Elizabeth Carlton Random. While out on the golf course David meets Susan Vance who is a very carefree and kooky character. Susan is the total opposite of Alice. Almost from the time David and Susan meets David suffers through a series of mishaps. First Susan damages David’s car while she is leaving the golf course.
Later on David and Susan run into each other at an evening function. David is trying to get as far away from Susan as he can, but she ends up ripping the tail of his tuxedo coat by accident.
David ends up ripping the back half of Susan’s dress exposing her underwear, but Susan at first does not realize what happened. David is trying to cover it up so that no one can see.
Susan’s brother sends her a tame leopard named Baby from Brazil that Susan is supposed to give to Elizabeth Carlton Random who is her aunt. Susan has taken a liking to David and over the phone pretends that she is being mauled by the leopard so that David will come over.
David heads over to Susan’s place as fast as he can, only to find that she is okay and the Leopard is tame. David is carrying an intercostal clavicle bone in the box.
Susan believes that David is a zoologist and is determined to get him up to her farmhouse in Connecticut to help her care for Baby. It is just a reason to keep David near her because she really likes him and does not want him to marry Alice. On the way to Connecticut Susan runs into a truck carrying live poultry and Baby jumps out the car to prey on them. In the process of trying to get baby away from the poultry David clothes gets messed up and he is left with feather all over him.
By the time David and Susan arrives in California, he desperately needs to take a shower. While David is showering, Susan sneaks into his room and removes his clothing. She then orders the maid to take his suit into town to be washed and pressed even though the maid can do it there taking less time. Susan wants it to take longer so that she has David to herself for a longer period of time. When David gets out of the shower there is nothing for him to put on except Susan’s robe until his suit is returned. At this point is when Susan’s aunt Elizabeth arrives at the farm-house. Susan introduces David as “Mr. Bone” so that she will not know he is the doctor that she is being asked to donate a million dollars to. The dog has also taken the intercostal clavicle bone and buried it someplace on the property.
These scenes are quite comical.
David finds some clothes to put on and heads out to find where the dog buried the missing intercostal clavicle. Susan heads out with David and the dog but every place that the dog leads them turns up other items instead. To add the confusion Baby also runs off someplace on the property.
While out looking for Baby, a circus leopard is being transported through Connecticut. David and Susan believe that the circus Leopard is Baby and Susan Mistakenly releases it from the back of the truck.
While out at night trying to capture the real Baby, David and Susan are arrested for disturbing the peace. No one believes their story about the leopard.
Finally Susan comes up with way to get herself released from jail. She tells the constable that her and David are part of a gang, and that she is known as “swinging door Susie”. That story is believed and Susan is able to distract the bumbling constable enough to escape out of the window.
Alice dumps David after finding out what he has been up to with Susan. She is appalled at David’s undignified behavior and is glad that she didn’t make the mistake op marrying him.
Weeks later, Susan shows up at the museum with the intercostal clavicle. She found it after following her dog around for two days and digging up the grounds. Susan also tells David that his museum will be getting the one million dollars that it needs.
David tells Susan not to climb up on the ladder but, as usual, Susan does not listen. Her misstep manages to totally collapse the assembly of the Brontosaurus skeleton that David took 4 years to accomplish. David gives in and admits that the time he spent with Susan at her farm-house was the most exciting and enjoyable of his life.
……and we can assume that David and Susan live happily ever after.
This is such a screwball comedy. Carey Grant was so good at these kinds of character roles. Katharine Hepburn is also very funny. I love her free-spirited nature and fresh faced look. The supporting cast also is good and adds tremendously to the quality of this movie.
I love the costumes in Bringing Up Baby, but I tend to love the costumes in movies of this time period. Men were dapper and women were elegant. I have always considered it a loss that fashion has gotten so far away from this. I love just about anything that is vintage.