Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bringing Up Baby: A Review

Bringing Up Baby is commonly referred to as a screwball comedy, and all screwball comedies made since pretty much have Bringing Up Baby to thank for their existence.

It's easy to dismiss old films simply as the groundwork, believing they won't be able to hold your attention as well as new films.  New films speak directly to you, they understand what you're going through, and they are shiny.  I admit, sometimes I fall victim to neophilia, and the thought of watching something in black and white makes my eyes roll to the back of my head.  But this passes after I fast forward through all the boring opening credits and the shiny part comes on. 

My interest in the film was piqued as a study into the early days of comedy; my interest was sustained by the true comedy.  Also, I think it's important to watch the early stuff so when critics and film studies majors refer to all comedy as derivative, you know what they're actually referring to.

Bringing Up Baby is a good old fun time.  The cast is amazing (Katherine Hepburn, Cary Grant (swoon)), and there's a leopard!  There are actually two leopards.  Crazy!  Also, there's a Brontosaurus, which I believe at the time, they didn't know wasn't real.  Or maybe in Bringing Up Baby Part 2*, when Dr. David Huxley had to put the skeleton back together after he and Susan brought the whole thing crashing down in the end (SPOILER!), he discovered the truth about the whole Apatosaurus / Brontosaurus thing.

A much better, more in depth review can be found here: Scenic Routes: Bringing Up Baby.  Mr. D'Angelo has spent much more time with the film than I have, and analyzes it accurately and beautifully.

There's a lot of history and lore surrounding this film.  Since withstanding the test of time, it feels to us that it was probably always successful; embraced as a masterpiece when it was released and consistently at the top of everyone's list.  This is not really the case.  It has more of an Anchorman story: the short gist is that Anchorman wasn't actually a box office hit.  It only became popular after-the-fact, though a lot of pop-culture junkies not truly in the know pretend that it was always a hit.  It seems odd to discuss Bringing Up Baby and Anchorman in the same paragraph, but I'm just trying to offer some perspective.  Initially, people didn't appreciate Bringing Up Baby so much.  DVD sales have really helped it though.

Also, when googling Bringing Up Baby, a lot of non-film related links come up.  Most are about baby-showers and others are about health care.  Neither are as awesome as the film.

* There is not actually a Bringing Up Baby Part Two.  

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