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Recommend A Year With Kate: Bringing Up Baby (1938) (Email)

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Episode 14 of 52 fromAnne Marie's series screening Katharine Hepburn's films in chronological order.

In which there is a leopard on your roof and it's my leopard and I have to get it down and to get it down I have to sing!

Bringing Up Babyis a movie I'm honestly a little afraid to discuss.This golden Howard Hawks comedy about a befuddled professor (Cary Grant),a ditzy socialite (Kate) and a leopard (Baby),rightly occupies many "best of"lists.But while we all know the legend behind the film--troubled production,loses money,critically panned,"box office poison,"etc--the reality is a little less dramatic.Well,except the critically panned part:

"In Bringing Up Baby Miss Hepburn has a role which calls for her to be breathless,senseless,and terribly,terribly fatiguing.She succeeds,and we can be callous enough to hint it is not entirely a matter of performance."

In March of 1938,New York Times film critic Frank S.Nugent devoted not one buttwocolumns to evisceratingBringing Up Baby.Though he was only one voice -Bringing Up Babyreceived mixed reviews both negative and positive - his vitriol cast a pall over the film's reputation.It hurts my sense of justice that Nugent was allowed to say such terrible things about Hepburn and Bringing Up Baby,yet Kate never responded.I refuse to let that stand.

What followsare quotes from Nugent's March 4th and 13th reviews (best read in the voice of Addison de Witt) with rebuttals taken from the film.After 76 years,Kate should get the last word.


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