Bringing Up Baby. 1938. USA. Directed by Howard Hawks. Screenplay by Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde. With Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Charles Ruggles, Walter Catlett, Barry Fitzgerald. 35mm. 102 min.
An expensive box-office flop on its first release, Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby had been forgotten for 20 years before its reputation was redeemed by the new generation of auteurist critics of the 1960s, prominent among them Bogdanovich, who featured Baby in his pioneering 1962 Hawks series at MoMA. Cary Grant’s myopic paleontologist and Katharine Hepburn’s unrestrained heiress collide in what seems less like a battle of the sexes than a primal power struggle between order and chaos. Baby ’s influence on What’s Up, Doc? Is clear, not least in the parade of brilliant character actors who turn up to recharge the action at precisely timed intervals.