Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Bringing Up Baby (1938)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Bringing Up Baby (1938)

In Howard Hawks' classic and definitive screwball comedy:

  • the comedic antics and "misadventures" between absent-minded, mild-mannered, shy bespectacled paleontologist Professor David Huxley (Cary Grant) and scatter-brained, fast-talking eccentric heiress Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn)
  • in the opening sequence, Professor Huxley was soliciting a $1 million dollar museum donation from wealthy, gift-giving philanthropist-sponsor Mrs. Elizabeth Carlton Random (May Robson), aka Aunt Elizabeth
  • while playing golf with Mrs. Random's lawyer Alexander Peabody (George Irving), David was continuously interrupted by Susan mistakenly playing his golf ball and driving away in his battered car
  • in a restaurant, Susan showed off an olive game that she learned from a bartender -- she held an olive on the flat part of her hand, tapped her hand, and then caught the airborne olive in her mouth; walking by, the unsuspecting David slipped and took a pratfall on the olive she just dropped on the floor
  • a rapid exit from the supper club ensued - to cover up David's torn tuxedo and her ripped evening dress; it was expedited as he walked in unison close behind her, covered her posterior and saved her reputation; outside, David confessed his fixation on Susan: "I'm strangely drawn toward you..." before sprawling face-first onto the ground
  • when Susan offered to drive him to her Aunt's Connecticut farm on the day of his scheduled marriage to Alice Swallow (Virginia Walker), he wasn't aware that she had a music-loving, 3 year-old tame pet leopard named Baby that she planned to bring along in the car. He was also forced to bring along a package containing an important "intercostal clavicle bone" for a brontosaurus reconstruction that he was working on
  • during their drive to her Aunt Elizabeth's (May Robson) farm in Westlake, Connecticut, with her 3 year-old pet leopard (named Baby) in the back seat - and along the way after Susan rear-ended a truck carrying a load of chickens, Baby got away and attacked the fluttering poultry (off-screen); covered with chicken feathers, David fumed - annoyed that he had to pay for Baby's expensive meal - "an assortment of ducks and chickens, not to mention a couple of swans" that cost him $150
  • in a funny scene, David purchased 30 lbs. of raw sirloin steak (in one piece) at a market from a bewildered butcher for the hungry animal
  • fluffy negligee-wearing David exclaimed in front of Aunt Elizabeth as he jumped into the air: "Because I just went gay all of a sudden"
  • further upset arose when David's dinosaur bone was stolen by Susan's aunt's dog George (Asta of The Thin Man series) and buried somewhere on the grounds
  • during a long chase in the woods after escaped Baby: Susan carried a butterfly net while David was prepared with a rope and croquet mallet; they found Baby sitting on a neighbor's roof - to calm the tame leopard and attract him down off the roof, they serenaded Baby with his favorite and fondest song, "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"; after causing a disturbance, the two were reported by the home owner Dr. Fritz Lehman (Fritz Feld) and thrown in the local jail by Constable Slocum (Walter Catlett)
  • during a major incarceration scene in adjacent jail cells in the Westlake City Jail, Susan fancifully pretended to be a gangster moll (a member of the 'Leopard Gang,' infamous for robberies and other criminal activities)
  • there was the frightening presence of another, wild, angry, and spitting wild leopard (not Baby but a murderous escaped animal from the circus) that Susan dragged into the jailhouse at the end of a rope; stepping in front of her with a chair, David heroically defended her from the vicious leopard and chased it into an empty jail cell
  • the finale - the return of the missing dog-buried bone by Susan, and the swaying, crumbling destruction of a platform and the reconstructed brontosaurus skeleton as Susan and David dangled from it - she apologized: ("Oh David, look what I've done. Oh, I'm so sorry. Oh, oh, David, can you ever forgive me? You can and you still love me...You do, oh David"), and he replied during their final kiss and embrace: ("Oh, dear. Oh, my. Hmmm")

David Covering Up Susan's Ripped Dress

'Baby' (Susan's Pet Leopard) in Back Seat

David: "I just went gay all of a sudden"

Serenading 'Baby' With "I Can't Give You Anything But Love, Baby"

The Westlake City Jail

Collapse of Brontosaurus Skeleton


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