Directed by HOWARD HAWKS
THIS ARTICLE IS PART OF THE LIST OF SHAME PROJECT: 100 MOVIES THAT WILL SHATTER MY CREDIBILITY
If you are used to see the great Cary Grant in classy, seductive roles, than brace yourself, for David Huxley could not be further from the sleekness of Mr. Devlin: though still undoubtedly handsome, with and without his glasses, in Bringing Up Baby this fine actor is, in the full extent of the word, a nerd. And he carries his nerdy self in a funny, ever charming way, revealing great talent for physical comedy. His character always trying to keep up (or keep away) with the over-excited and inconvenient Susan Vance, played by Grant’s co-start, Katharine Hepburn.
In this screwball comedy the poor man is trying to get married and she keeps trying to stop him, through machinations that revolve around Baby, a tamed leopard her brother inexplicably sent from Brazil. And she does so in the most annoying way you can imagine: by being a tornado of too much nonsense talk and childish pleads. It’s hard to resist the temptation of struggling her exquisite neck, and it would appear Huxley often fights the very same impulse. And for that, for being so desperately irritating, Katharine Hepburn deserves the tip of my most beloved hat, for if your playing an annoying character, it better be, in fact, annoying. And because no matter how irritating she is, there’s an irresistible charm about her, the same one that makes Grant’s awkward character so appealing: there’s a huge, warm heart inside her with the best of intensions. It was love at first sight, he just didn’t know it yet, for like Susan learned: the love impulse in men frequently reveals itself in terms of conflict.
The scene in which Susan’s dress is ripped was inspired by something that happened to Cary Grant. He was at he Roxy Theater one night and his pants zipper was down when it caught on the back of a woman’s dress. Grant impulsively followed her. When he told this story to Howard Hawks, Hawks loved it and put it into the film. (x)