Friday, May 9, 2008

Film Friday--"Bringing up Baby"

I've recently discovered Cary Grant, and my love for Cary Grant movies. I've seen several at this point, and I love them all for different reasons. My favorites are the "screwball comedies" and so I'll be talking about those for the next several weeks. The first is Bringing Up Baby. I'm sure y'all have probably seen this movie--I'm a late comer. I'm also woefully uneducated when it comes to classic movies, as Vivien can tell you. But much to her delight, I'm currently doing my best to rectify that.

I love Bringing Up Baby for several reasons. First, Cary Grant is just wonderfully hot in this film. I love a smart, slightly distracted, geeky, flustered man in thick glasses, I really do. I also love how Grant's character, David, changes throughout the film. As Kate Hepburn shakes up his life he becomes more confident and more assertive without losing that sweetness and sincerity that makes him so attractive.

The second, of course, is Kate Hepburn. Susan is the smart and independent woman you'd expect from Hepburn, but she's also playful and funny and oddly vulnerable. I immediately believe that she could fall in love with David so quickly, and I believe that David never had a choice but to fall in love with her.

Third is the sharp dialogue. I've seen this movie described as "sparkling" and that's a perfect description. This whole movie does sparkle. There are many laugh-out-loud moments, and I can't help but smile through the whole thing.

This movie differs from other screwball comedies in that David and Susan were not previously married. But it follows other genre conventions almost exactly. A marriage is central to the plot, as David is engaged and ultimately misses his wedding. It revolves around wealthy, upper-class people. In fact, the plot wouldn't work for lower class people. There's not a broader plot conflict than the relationship, though the movie does turn into a sort of "chase" movie, when they seek the bone and Baby. I think this movie (and the next move I plan to discuss, Holiday) are wonderful examples of the actual variety present in "screwball comedies." I think they're good analogues for romance novels. There are some standard rules for the genre (or sub-genre) but ultimately, the pleasure is in how the creators can work within the confines of genre to make something new and engaging.

Favorite Quote: "You're so good looking without your glasses."

This movie is available on DVD and through Netflix--you can watch it streaming if you have an account there. If you haven't seen the film, I highly, highly recommend it. It's like sitting down with a warm, cuddly blanket and a bowl of ice cream. If you have seen it, I suggest another viewing. You might be surprised by how much fun it is.

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