Mild mannered zoology professor Dr. David Huxley is excited by the news that an intercostal clavicle bone has been found to complete his brontosaurus skeleton, a project four years in the construction. He is equally excited about his imminent marriage to his assistant, the officious Alice Swallow, who is interested in him more for his work than for him as a person. David needs the $1 million endowment of wealthy dowager Mrs. Carleton Random to complete the project. Her lawyer, Alexander Peabody, will make the decision on her behalf, so David needs to get in his favor. However, whenever David tries to make a good impression on Peabody, the same young woman always seems to do something to make him look bad. She is the flighty heiress Susan Vance. The more David wants Susan to go away, the more Susan seems not to want or be able to. But David eventually learns that Alexander Peabody is her good friend, who she calls Boopy, and Susan's Aunt Elizabeth, with whom David has also made a bad ... Written by
Howard Hawks, the director of "Bringing Up Baby", was not a name one associates with screwball comedy. Watching this perennial favorite the other night, one wishes Mr. Hawks would have made more comedies like this one because he shows a tremendous capacity for entertaining his audiences. The screen treatment, by Dudley Nichols and Hagar Wilde, made this movie the classic it became to be after not being embraced by the public when it was originally released.
The pairing of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn paid off handsomely. Both actors were at their best in the film. Mr. Hawks got excellent performances of his two stars. Cary Grant's paleontologist, with his glasses, and nervous energy, matches perfectly the the socialite that has designs on him. There is a high level of energy in the film that was a requirement for a movie of this genre.
The supporting cast is also one of the things that make this film the fun it is. Charles Ruggles, May Robson, Barry Fitzgerald, George Irving, and the rest of the cast do a marvelous job in the roles they created. Even Asta, the Charles' dog, made a valuable contribution to the proceedings by appearing at key moments, even fighting Nyssa, the tamed leopard that is the "baby" of the title.
The best way to enjoy the film is to let the magic Howard Hawks created put its spell on you. It's one of the best films of this genre.
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