Happy International Museum Day! We don’t know if a museum is opening near you, but May 18 is the day, come rain or shine, pandemic or no pandemic. If you want or need to stay indoors, AHFW might have just the right suggestion from yestercentury, 1938’s “Bringing Up Baby”, where Cary Grant plays a paleontologist at the Stuyvesant Museum of Natural History. The one and only Katharine Hepburn is his co-star, and director Howard Hawks’ screwball romantic comedy is a hilarious treasure that features two Hollywood legends at the peak of the powers. This is one terrific comedy.
(Available to stream on Amazon Prime, but not free for Prime members and Netflix DVD)
“Bringing Up Baby” (1938) – Dr. David Huxley (Grant) is trying to use the peak of his powers, as his life is coming into focus. He works hard at the Stuyvesant Museum of Natural History and looks for one more bone – an intercostal clavicle – to complete a monstrous brontosaurus skeleton. Just one more! The good paleontologist just needs to convince philanthropist Mr. Peabody (George Irving) to donate one million dollars to the museum so he can continue his work…and make his life complete.
Complete? Yes, he’s marrying his sweetheart Alice (Virginia Walker) on the weekend.
Seems easy enough, but Susan Vance (Hepburn) enters his life and promptly turns it completely upside down. She’s a fast-talking, self-absorbed – although good-intentioned – wealthy socialite who runs into Dr. David on the golf course by inadvertently playing his ball. Of course, since he’s trying to impress Dr. Peabody, the timing is awful. David finds himself arguing with Susan, and eventually stands on the rail of her car (which is actually his car).
As she drives away from the course, David promptly – in vain – yells, “I’ll be with you in a minute Mr. Peabody!”
How did that happen? That’s exactly what David asks himself.
The movie takes one shake-your-head-moment turn after another, as Susan brings David further and further away from getting that one million dollar grant, the intercostal clavicle, and most importantly – his wedding day with Alice. Susan takes him so far down the proverbial rabbit hole, it’s difficult to remember how he found himself in such a predicament. Susan, herself, seems impossible to reason with and David can’t decipher her meandering code. But she does reveal – to the audience – the method to her madness.
Although David’s and Susan’s relationship isn’t a model that any couple should follow, it’s an entertaining excursion for any person who loves the movies. Oh, what does the film’s title, “Bringing Up Baby”, exactly mean?
Baby is a leopard.
⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Image credits: RKO Radio Pictures; Trailer credits: Movieclips