Bringing Up Baby: Meet The Supporting Cast

Last month, my friend Diana and I caught a screening of Bringing Up Baby at Film Forum. This was easily the umpteenth time I have seen Bringing Up Baby. I’m about to totally surprise you all but Bringing Up Baby is my favorite movie. (What? You never saw that coming? You must have just accidentally found this post on Google.)

Often with your favorite anything, some aspects get lumped together and are quickly forgotten. When it comes to Bringing Up Baby, I’ve never quite focused on the supporting cast, the character actors who make this screwball comedy so effective. Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn are the stars but it is the actors like Barry Fitzgerald, May Robson, Charles Ruggles, and Walter Catlett who add a level of comedic genius to the film that is unmatched. For the most part these actors are seasoned performers who had long careers on the stage, film and television. You probably saw them time and time again in bit parts in some of your favorite movies. They are the type of actors who seemingly appear everywhere and make the whole product come together.

Their characters slowly trickle into the film’s story, fitting around Susan and David’s completely frantic search for the leopard Baby as needed. At first these characters – the local sherrif, the rich aunt, the psychiatrist – seem to be the straightlaced foils to Susan’s peculiar brand of zaniness. But as the movie continues, everyone becomes unhinged and in the final moments. When they all wind up in the local jail for one reason or another (a perfect metaphor for the ensemble) in the most manically hilarious scene imaginable, the ensemble cast almost outshines the two major stars.

Here they are:

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A Binary Day Top 10

Since it is October 10, 2010, I feel inspired to write some sort of top ten list. About what though, I’m wasn’t quite sure at first. I could, as my friend Kim, write about the top ten worst sequels. But that would require me to have seen certain sequels. I even considered writing about movies that have something to do with numbers. Of course, that means I would have to include A Beautiful Mind, a film I detest so that list just was not happening.

Then it dawned on me. This past week, I began going through my first blog posts and editing them. I’ve noticed, among other things, that my writing skills were horrible, my proofreading skills were lacking, and every movie was one of my favorites. I had a severe inability to dislike or critique anything. Today things are different. At least I hope four years of college and a Film Studies degree have noticeably improved the quality of this blog.

In the over five years since I have been a blogger, I have never written a definitive top ten list of my favorite movies. I’ve posted and commented on plenty of other movie lists but never my own. I have my reasons. “Joanna, what are your ten favorite movies?” is a question I hate to answer because it puts me on the spot to think of something creative and insightful. On top of that, my cinematic interests and thus my list is are always changing. What I loved years ago, I could rewatch and hate today. With all of this in mind, here it is. My top ten favorite movies and why I love them.
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What I’m in the Mood For

As I was walking through the North End tonight, a song I haven’t listened to in ages popped on my iPod.

I prefer this version of “I can’t give you anything but love, Baby” to Doris Day’s faster, more upbeat version:

To me, this song isn’t necessarily a happy one. It’s more meloncholy. You would think, considering how many times I have seen Bringing Up Baby, I would feel otherwise. Just watch how the song is played and used at the end of this trailer.

In this instance, “I Can’t Give you Anything But Love” is anything but a sad, slow song. I have no idea what got me thinking like this about this song. The only way I can rationalize it is that I happened to be in the mood for Billie Holiday over anything else and the song that serendipitously played was the song from my favorite movie.

These are the unforgettable movie songs?

Every Top Ten list is subjective. It is a fact we know all too well but that still doesn’t stop us from arguing what are the greatest movies, songs, bands etc. of all-time. Which brings me to Spinner’s list of the 77 greatest movie songs. I agree with the majority of the songs featured on the list – not necessarily the order. I just don’t get what makes these songs “unforgettable.” (An blog post breaks down that very word here.)

My main complaint is that the earliest song selected is “Moon River” from 1961’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Apparently before 1961 there was no such thing as an “unforgettable movie song.”

My personal Top Ten list of “the greatest movie songs” first includes staples such as Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” (Titanic 1995), Simple Minds’ “Don’t You Forget About Me” (The Breakfast Club, 1985), and Simon and Garfunkel’s “Mrs. Robinson” (The Graduate, 1967).

Then there are other favorites such as “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby” from Bringing Up Baby:

“How Little We Know” from To Have and Have Not:

And easily my number one is “Que Sera Sera” from 1956 version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. More so than “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love Baby” or “How Little We Know,” this song is used brilliantly by Hitchcock during the film’s climactic sequence. Plus, it has a Doris Day performance and you can’t beat that. No wonder it won the Oscar for Best Original Song in 1956.

For me, these three songs define “unforgettable movie song”, long before Celine ever even belted a note.

Bringing Up Baby – One Crazy Day/Night

Entertainment Weekly has a new photo gallery up that looks at 15 movies that show us a lot can happen in 24 hours. Their picks range from 12 Angry Men to The Breakfast Club to Escape from New York.

I would like to add one more film to the list – Bringing Up Baby, starring Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant.

Technically, Bringing Up Baby takes place over a two to three day period. But the second Susan Vance and David Huxley begin their drive to Connecticut with Baby in tow, you know you are in for one crazy adventure. Not only does Baby go missing in the Connecticut wilderness, but everyone else ends up in jail and Susan and David fall in love. One line zingers (“I’ve got my head. I’ve lost my leopard.”) and perfectly executed prat falls make this one wild 24-ish hour adventure.