Summer Under the Stars Blogathon: Bringing Up Baby (1938)
This post is a contribution to the Summer Under the Stars blogathon being hosted all month by Jill at Sittin’ on a Backyard Fence and Michael at Scribehard on Film. Please be sure to visit their sites and check out all the great entries submitted so far! Today, Turner Classic Movies will be airing Katharine Hepburn movies all day, including the movie I am discussing here, Bringing Up Baby (1938).
Are you ever hesitant or even a bit embarrassed to admit that you don’t like a classic movie that just about every classic film fan on the planet seems to love?
I know we all have different tastes and shouldn’t have to apologize for our honest thoughts and feelings about a movie, but when discussing popular classic movies, I usually keep it pretty quiet that I’m not a huge fan of Gone With the Wind, The Wizard of Oz, and a few other movies that are loved by so many in the classic film community.
An example of one of those other movies is the classic screwball comedy, Bringing Up Baby (1938) starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.
I’ve told the story a few times about how The Philadelphia Story (1940), also starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant, was instrumental in me becoming a classic film fan. I loved both of their performances in that movie, and also really enjoyed another comedy they starred in together, Holiday (1938).
So when I watched Bringing Up Baby a short time later, I was a bit surprised that I didn’t really like it that much. I was also very surprised to find out that so many classic movie fans love it, list it as one of their favorite movies of all time, and even consider it one of, if not the funniest movie ever made. Ever since then I’ve been meaning to watch it again to try to find out what I was missing, and I finally did this week for the blogathon.
I was so sure that things would be different this time since my tastes have evolved quite a bit since I first started watching classic movies close to two decades ago. I mean, I didn’t really like film noir back then either, and now I absolutely love it! What was I thinking?!
Unfortunately, while I definitely liked the movie better this time and was able to appreciate more aspects of it, I can’t say that my opinion of it has changed very much. I really, really wanted to like it more than I did, but I think it’s safe to say it probably won’t ever appear on my list of favorite movies.
But because TCM’s Summer Under the Stars is such a special and fun event, I didn’t want to focus entirely on the negative but instead wanted to highlight some of these things that I did enjoy and appreciate about the movie:
- My favorite thing in the movie had to be Susan’s farm house in Westlake, Connecticut! Even though I know it was only a set, it is the type of house I would definitely love to live in. You can see a lot more great pictures of the house in a post written by Julia at one of my favorite blogs, Hooked on Houses.
- Being the total sports nut that I am, I enjoyed watching the scene where Katharine Hepburn was playing golf, a sport she enjoyed playing and was very good at in real life. One of these days I intend on writing a post about golf and tennis scenes found in classic film.
- The animals were so cute! Baby, the leopard and George, the dog stole many of the scenes in my opinion. The dog who played George was the same one who played Asta in the popular Thin Man series.
- The chemistry between Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn was great as usual. It is obvious that the two of them really enjoyed working together, and they made such a natural team.
- While I didn’t find a lot of the scenes in the movie as funny as most people do, I did laugh during the scene where David rips Susan’s dress and then walks behind her on the way out of the restaurant. This is a great example of the chemistry I just mentioned and how enjoyable it was to watch the two together.
- I loved Cary Grant in glasses. I think it was cool that Howard Hawks modeled Grant’s character after silent film star Harold Lloyd who often wore similar glasses.
Even though Bringing Up Baby will most likely never be one of my favorites, I can certainly understand why so many people love it. Maybe with repeated viewings, I will someday come to love it, too.
If you’ve seen Bringing Up Baby, how did you like it? Are there any classic movies that you know are loved by many but that you just don’t care for?