While I clearly love Cary Grant… films. I didn’t really like this one. I’m used to suave Cary not bumbling comedy Cary and maybe, just maybe, what was funny 80 years ago ain’t quite so funny anymore. (I think maybe we’ve all heard this one before.)
While it’s not black face lows (see my many issues with The Party…), Bringing up Baby is gender stereotype lows while at the same time trying to screw with gender stereotypes, I also think it may be homophobic with a little animal cruelty chucked in – hmmm, happy fun watching times with a hint of overthinking it – so me!
Here we have the ever wonderful Katherine Hepburn (whose acting chops clearly run to pretty wonderful comic timing that I’m sure had audiences rolling in the aisles but alas, not me) playing the lovelorn spoilt girl child against Cary’s straight man (so straight he’s a scientist) piece of candy. So here is the gender swap – we don’t have a bumbling man trying to woo a super model, we have Kathy trying to woo Cary. Unfortunately, what we actually get is Cary trying to get a job done and Katherine stalking him and even for a while abducting him. Not funny. And if you think about chucking the gender swap around again, really quite awful.
It may be my modern sensibilities (yes, I have sensibilities it’s not just a Jane Austen thing) but if you swap the gender of two characters in a film and you end up with a horror film it’s probably not that funny in its original form.
I tried to put this from my mind and think of audiences back in the day and how risqué seeing Cary as the chased and Kathy as the chaser may have been but it just kept coming back to Stockholm Syndrome and that’s not good. Basically, Kathy becomes so obsessed with Cary she ruins his life and then Cary falls in love with her. Not good.
Again, maybe I’ve seen too many spy cool Cary films and too many feminist icon Kathy films. I am so not happy about Bringing up Baby. If this was a modern day film and Jennifer Lawrence was Kathy and (who’s good looking enough for Cary?!? I’m going to go with an Aussie here because I’m Aussie and solidarity y’all, but actually he’s no Cary Grant but at least he’s in her age range) Liam Hemsworth was Cary – this would be a psychological drama. I’m thinking Misery here people – not funny…
I’m sorry if you love Bringing up Baby but I can’t separate ‘me’ enough from films to see what audiences thought was funny back in the day (that day was in 1938 BTW). I wish I liked it better because it always comes up in lists of all time classic films (probably why it was on my list) and the actors really are wonderful but much like my experience of The Party I can’t drop my ‘me’ enough to enjoy.
Bringing up Baby is, and I repeat, not funny. Cary Grant is, and I repeat, freakishly hot for a dead guy or maybe it’s just ‘me’.