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12:51pm on Saturday, 17th December, 2005:

Bringing Up Baby


Yay! This Thursday at 1:20pm on BBC2 they're showing my favourite film, Bringing Up Baby. I love this movie! It's in black and white, but then being from 1938 it would be. The script is very sharp, Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant are both absolutely excellent in it, and Howard Hawks' direction is spot on. I'm a huge fan of screwball comedies (both the screenplays I've written are basically screwball romcoms) and this is just the best. Watch it, if you can.

Aside from the movie being just brilliant, there are a couple of interesting real-world things about Bringing Up Baby that it's worth mentioning. Both of them are clothes-related.

Firstly, her character being something of a rebel, Katharine Hepburn wears trousers in it at a time when women Didn't Do That. It was her doing this that finally made wearing trousers for women break into the mainstream; previously, it was accepted for things like sports or outdoor activities, but not as casual or formal wear. Nowadays, women get to wear trousers whenever they like, thanks to this taboo-busting decision.

Secondly, at one point Katharine Hepburn sends Cary Grant's clothes off to be dry-cleaned, meaning he has to dress in some kind of negligée as the only available alternative. When queried about it, he exasperatedly gives the explanation: "Because I just went gay, all of a sudden" — the first use of the word "gay" in such a context in a movie (and remember, this was 1938!).

If you haven't ever seen it, set the video or go out and rent a copy.

My other two all-time favourite movies, by the way, are A Room with a View and Groundhog Day. If you don't mind watching something in French, Céline et Julie Vont en Bateau is simply joyous, too.

And in case your lust for trivia is as yet unsated, Juliet Berto, who plays Céline (the magician), died on 10th January 1990, aged 43. 10th January is my birthday (just send money).

Referenced by Silver Linings.

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Copyright © 2005 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).