Bringing Up Baby (1938) - Rotten Tomatoes

Bringing Up Baby1938

Bringing Up Baby (1938)



Critic Consensus: With Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant at their effervescent best, Bringing Up Baby is a seamlessly assembled comedy with enduring appeal.

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Movie Info

Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant star in this inspired comedy about a madcap heiress with a pet leopard who meets an absent-minded paleontologist and unwittingly makes a fiasco of both their lives. David Huxley (Grant) is the stuffy paleontologist who needs to finish an exhibit on dinosaurs and thus land a $1 million grant for his museum. At a golf outing with his potential benefactors, Huxley is spotted by Susan Vance (Hepburn) who decides that she must have the reserved scientist at all costs. She uses her pet leopard, Baby, to trick him into driving to her Connecticut home, where a dog wanders into Huxley's room and steals the vital last bone that he needs to complete his project. The real trouble begins when another leopard escapes from the local zoo and Baby is mistaken for it, leading Huxley and Susan into a series of harebrained and increasingly more insane schemes to save the cat from the authorities. Inevitably, the two end up in the local jail, where things get even more out of hand: Susan pretends to be the gun moll to David's diabolical, supposedly wanted criminal. Naturally, the mismatched pair falls in love through all the lunacy. Director Howard Hawks delivers a funny, fast-paced, and offbeat story, enlivened by animated performances from the two leads, in what has become a definitive screwball comedy. ~ Don Kaye, Rovi

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Katharine Hepburn
as Susan Vance
Cary Grant
as David Huxley
Charlie Ruggles
as Maj. Horace Applegate
Charles Ruggles
as Maj. Applegate
May Robson
as Aunt Elizabeth
Barry Fitzgerald
as Mr. Gogarty
Jack Carson
as Roustabout
Ward Bond
as Motorcycle Cop
Tala Birell
as Mrs. Lehman
Fritz Feld
as Dr. Fritz Lehman
Leona Roberts
as Hannah Gogarty
Virginia Walker
as Alice Swallow
Edward Gargan
as Zoo Official
as Baby the Leopard
Buck Mack
as Zoo Official
Vernon Walker
as Alice Swallow
Richard Lane
as Circus Manager
Asta the Dog
as George the Dog
Frank M. Thomas
as Circus Barker
Ruth Alder
as Dancer
Adalyn Asbury
as Mrs. Peabody
Judith Ford
as Cigarette Girl
Jeanne Martel
as Cigarette Girl
George Humbert
as Louis, Headwaiter
Billy Bevan
as Bartender
D'Arcy Corrigan
as Prof. La Touche
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Critic Reviews for Bringing Up Baby

All Critics (51) | Top Critics (12)

It seems that almost any star, including Irene Dunne, Carole Lombard and Myrna Loy, may attempt antic comedy and make a go of it, but that medium is not for Miss Hepburn in the theater where she is accepted as an important dramatic actress.

April 19, 2019 | Full Review…

The enduring fascination of this 1938 screwball comedy is due to much more than its uproarious gags.

September 23, 2013

A perfect example of why directors (and even us brilliant professional critics) can often be completely in the dark about what works.

June 15, 2011 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Classic screwball comedy stars Hepburn, Grant.

December 22, 2010 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

There is little rhyme or reason to most of the action, but it's all highly palatable.

April 2, 2008 | Full Review…

Though it's almost impossible, try to sit back sometime and enjoy this 1938 Howard Hawks masterpiece not only for its gags, but for the grace of its construction, the assurance of its style, and the richness of its themes.

June 26, 2007

Audience Reviews for Bringing Up Baby

Katharine Hepburn's performance alone is dynamic in this comedic classic. Bringing Up Baby is comedy gold with brilliance in its ensemble. The laughter is timeless, the dialogue is crisp and, once again, Hepburn and Grant formulate a charming duo. 4/5

Eugene Bernabe
Eugene Bernabe

Super Reviewer

It is ironic that this enjoyable film flopped when it was still original and now is highly regarded as a masterpiece when it is obviously outdated and full of silly gags for today's standards - and despite her great chemistry with Grant, Hepburn is more irritating than funny.

Carlos Magalhães
Carlos Magalhães

Super Reviewer

Cary Grant (in a pair of glasses) plays a milquetoast nerdy-nerd scientist who's been assembling pieces of a dinosaur skeleton for years. While schmoozing a rich lady's lawyer on the golf course, he runs into Katharine Hepburn, a scatter-brained (yet attractive) lunatic who brings trouble with her wherever she goes, especially to the scientist. For good measure, they throw a leopard named baby (whose favorite song is "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby") into the mix and you have what might be director Howard Hawks' screwiest screwball comedy, lighter-than-air and yet heartily amusing. If there can be any criticism (and really, it's hard to take too critical a glance at something so lightweight), it may be with Hepburn and her portrayal of Susan Vance. The character is willfully ignorant, is mainly used as a means of advancing the comedic situations. But in working so hard to achieve this ignorant arrogance, the film loses a little bit of it's momentum (and good will). It's only once the film really gets rolling that Hepburn's comedic inadequacies can be overlooked (in fact, the film is almost a tale of two performances from Hepburn, the overly affected and forced first half of the performance, and the more flowing feel the performance achieves by the end). It's an unusual film to say the least.

Devon Bott
Devon Bott

Super Reviewer

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