Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Bringing Up Baby, a movie from 1938 starring big names such as Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn, is probably one of the weirdest movies I've ever seen. Not weird as in gross or plain out strange, like movies where you don't really get anything. The plot of Bringing Up Baby is extremely twisted, in a way that make you think "how did they think about this" in every scene. Actually the only scene that isn't crazy is the very first one, the only one where Katherine Hepburn isn't yet in the movie. Bringing Up Baby is a screwball comedy, like Burn After Reading but with a story that is, in my opinion, better and more advanced in that way that it manages to be sanely wacko. It's hard to explain, but I'll try.

Most screwball comedies are funny and weird because everyone act funny and weird and their joined idiotic decisions end up in a funny mess. Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels is another good example. What makes Bringing Up Baby slightly different is the fact that there is only one weird person making idiotic decisions, and that's Katharine Hepburns character. She manages all by herself, and without even trying at first, to get Cary Grants character into a real mess. By the end everyone is as lost about what is going on as she seemed to be in the beginning.

Both Grant and Hepburn do superb roles here, Hepburn even more so. They've even thrown in some scenes with a leopard which are just adorably hilarious (the leopard is the "baby" referred to in the movie title by the way). There are some funny side characters, who by trying to sort out the mess only make it worse of course, like in any good screwball comedy. The funny thing is just that, people trying to be normal around Hepburns character only make things worse.

From the very second scene (Hepburn isn't in the first one, remember?) I sat like on needles, not knowing whether to love it or wanna run around and scream, like Grants character must've felt. This is not because anything about the movie was bad, but simply because everything that happened was so screwbally you didn't know where to turn. Nothing about the movie feels planned, it is as if they just end up in situations and places that are just plain odd. But still totally natural (if you happen to get stuck with a weirdo like Hepburns character that is)!

I know some people mind movies being in black and white, which is just silly. If you ever liked a comedy with an extremely twisted plot, with no way of telling what will happen next, I strongly recommend watching Bringing Up Baby, one of the most notable screwball comdies I've ever seen.

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