The film Bringing up Baby is one of my vary favourite romantic comedies of all time. It may make me sound like an old curmudgeon, but many of the movies in the same genre today are both lazy and uninspired. Bringing up Baby uses its characters and plot to produce laughs over the long term. Movies like Wedding Crashers, Forgetting Sarah Marshal or 40 year old Virgin come off as just a bunch of hastily assembled comedy sketches with a little plot tacked on the ends. I will admit that to some extent you will see this same thing done in all comedic productions, the borrowing of successful materials or techniques in some way or another is what keeps comedy alive. But it is not the borrowing on its own that will affect a films quality, rather it is how well that material is blended into the narrative. It is in this respect that Bringing up Baby does a great job. The writing of the film on its own is great, but the combination of Kathrine Hepburn and Carey Grant on screen made all the difference.
Overall the film is nothing special in terms of cinematography, sound editing or costume. And for that matter it did not redefine storytelling in any way. The leopard sound effects were unimpressive and the supporting actors were replaceable. So why do I love it so? Its just a charming little movie that moves along at the right pace and features some great performances. Oh, and I suppose Kathrine Hepburn’s character bears a striking resemblance to The Lady (just don’t tell her i said so) but I think there is more to it. In all seriousness, the film was careful enough not to take any one joke too far. When we had had enough of Susan pretending to be a mobster we were on to something else. There is nothing worse, in a comedy of any kind, than an audience getting fed up. Similarly the locations in the film change up quite frequently in order to facilitate the previously mentioned pacing. As amusing as a dinner party full of misinformed misfits is, by the time leopard starts to roar outside we are ready to give chase.
‘He’s three years old, gentle as a kitten, and likes dogs.’ I wonder whether Mark means that he eats dogs or is fond of them? -Susan Vance
It must be said that Bringing up Baby is no shining example of avant-garde cinema it certainly makes for an entertaining evening in. While it came out of Hollywood at a time of prolific production this film still managed to stand out due to the chemistry between Hepburn and Grant as well as the rather quirky story. The fact that they managed to find a trained leopard to share the screen might have helped too.