#116 Bringing Up Baby (1938)

Next on our list is the mother of all screwball comedies and the second film to star Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn. Howard Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby is when a nerdy paleontologist keeps clashing with a hair-brained heiress who wants him to help her bring her leopard, Baby, to her aunt’s farm in Connecticut.

So we meet David Huxley, a paleontologist who really wants to get a million dollar donation and get the last piece to complete his Brontosaurus skeleton. He accidentally meets Susan Vance, a zany, looney heiress who is immediately in love with David but he, on the other hand, is too turned off by her troublesome ways. Since she mistakes him for a zoologist and does not want him married to his fiancé,  she tricks David into helping her bring her aunt’s leopard back to Connecticut. A lot of mishaps occur such as mistaking her leopard for one not so tame, David ruining Susan’s dress to exposure her bare bottom, ending up in jail, etc. It’s like these two should not be together but are somehow still connected to each other and just can’t help themselves. 

This was my favorite scene in the movie! Thank you Cary Grant for having the guts to say this line out loud. Many actors should have learned from him that if you want something risqué to appear in a film past the censorship boards, improvise the hell out of it! I also give Cary Grant credit for being able to deal with a leopard that he was afraid of. That would probably terrify me if I was afraid of being eaten every time I was on set! I can’t believe this is Katherine Hepburn’s first comedy. She played the role like a pro! This film is the perfect example of a screwball comedy in that you see two characters who are totally wrong for each other and how it’s clearly one-sided but their chemistry makes us forget all of that. I especially love the big stunt during the ending but I will not spoil it. This movie will give you a lot of laughs, I guarantee. 

Watch Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in the classic screwball comedy and please comment what you think:

Advertisements

#115 The Baker’s Wife (1938)

According to the French Institute of Public Opinion, 63% of French people believe they can love someone even if he or she has cheated. Well, that was definitely true in the late 1930s during the time of this film. Marcel Pagnol’s The Baker’s Wife is about how a beautiful, young woman leaves her husband, a baker, for a shepherd, causing the small village to come together to reunite this baker with his wife.

When a baker’s wife does not show up the next morning, it does not even come to his attention that she could have run away. He is thinking the worse of her disappearance like she has been kidnapped. It is not until later that he realizes that she has ran off with a Shepard. It is a small village so of course everyone has heard about this. While the villagers at first mock the situation, they realize that the baker is so depressed that he refuses to bake bread ever again and continuously gets himself drunk. This causes the villagers to band together to help this baker.

I was really impressed with Raimu’s acting in how he could be funny as he is in total obliviousness of the situation to being truly depressed. Especially towards the end where he lets out all of his anger towards the cat instead of at his wife.  It proves that sometimes you do not know what you have until it’s gone. This was a pretty good movie except I felt like things were wrapped up too neatly in the end. Would you forgive someone who cheats on you? A fun fact about this movie is how after Orson Welles saw this film, he wanted to meet Raimu himself but unfortunately found out he died, leaving him in tears. I would be disappointed as well. This film is a French classic and a good film to see. 

This is the only copy I could find online and with English subtitles. The subtitles are not perfect as it is basically ever other sentence but enough to get the gist of the story. Please comment what you think:)

#114 Angels with Dirty Faces (1938)

James Cagney returns in one of his most iconic roles of his career. It may have been another gangster role but this was a role with morality and humanity. Angels with Dirty Faces is when a priest tries to help an old friend of his, a gangster, not corrupt the minds of a bunch of street kids who look up to him.

I love that scene! ↑ Nothing like sweet revenge against an old bully of yours:) James Cagney plays Rocky who grew up in the slums of New York as a criminal with his best friend Jerry who is also a criminal. Jerry ended up becoming a priest whereas Rocky kept going in and out of prison as a gangster. A bunch of street kids, played by The Dead End Kids, look up to Rocky and find his activities as cool. When Rocky goes rock bottom, what will the kids think of him then? It was interesting to see a film where two childhood friends end up on opposite sides of the law to show that some are capable of growing up and others are just doing what they know well. If Jerry got caught when he was a kid like Rocky did, do you think Jerry would have ended up like Rocky?

This is the first of three films where we see James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart together. Both of these actors were known for playing gangsters in the 30s so it was nice to see these well-known actors in an antagonistic relationship. Bogart plays Rocky’s corrupt lawyer who owes him $100,000- a deal that was made if Rocky went down for his crime. Cagney and Pat O’Brien have been in six movies together with this one being their third. I liked seeing O’Brien play the girl of Rocky’s childhood who is no-nonsense to Rocky’s nonsense. The Dead End Kids made their debut in the play Dead End and would be in six films together and another 48 films as the Bowery Boys from 1946-1958.

Spoiler Alert!!!!! ↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓↓


Because the Production Code was in place, they were forced to tell Jack Warner of Warner Brothers that some serious censorship needed to take place with rules such as the police were not allowed to die, no strip poker suggestions, and because Rocky was a kidnapper, a criminal, and a murderer, he was not allowed any sympathy. That is where the Dead End Kids come in for the purpose of making the character of Rocky sympathetic. Do you believe that Rocky went “yellow” in the end to listen to Jerry to avoid The Dead End Kids from looking up to him or was Rocky really not as tough as he made himself out to be? It was so heartbreaking to hear him beg and sounded so real. I like that this ending was up to interpretation considering it was rare back then for films to be ambiguous. This movie is definitely worth looking into as one of the best classic crime films.

Watch one of James Cagney’s best performances and let me know what you think: