Monday, October 24, 2011

Vintage Movies: Bringing Up Baby


There's a leopard on your roof and it's my leopard and I have to get it and to get it I have to sing.
It is the day before his wedding, and the life of absent-minded paleontologist Dr David Huxley (Cary Grant) is about to become very complicated.
Not that it isn't complicated enough already. The last bone to complete his brontosaurus skeleton is due in the post at any moment. Wealthy Mrs Carlton Random means to give the museum a million dollars and it's up to David to clinch the deal, and if that's not enough, his fiancee and secretary Miss Swallow is already showing the steel hand inside the velvet glove.
Enter the flighty heiress Susan Vance (played by Katherine Hepburn). In a few brief moments she's accidentally disrupted his business meeting, appropriated his golf ball, and nearly run off with his car, all with a gay and carefree insouciance. By the next morning, she's ruined his hat and jacket, convinced Mrs Random's lawyer that he's as mad as a hatter, and enlisted him to transport her pet leopard to Connecticut. Hilarity continues to ensue as the characters run into a grande dame aunt, a scatterbrained big game hunter, a thieving dog, and a severe case of mistaken identity...
Now it isn't that I don't like you, Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you, but - well, there haven't been any quiet moments.
Bringing Up Baby is probably the funniest movie I've ever seen. It's filled with brilliant acting, zany characters and unforgettable lines (“I've got my head, I've lost my leopard!” “I'll be with you in a minute, Mr Peabody!” and, of course, “Oh, David...you've torn your coat”) that make it, for my money, the best of the old screwball comedies.
If you liked Bringing Up Baby, you might also enjoy His Girl Friday, You Can't Take It With You, and the more macabre Arsenic and Old Lace.

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