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Bringing Up Baby (1938) v. What's Up Doc? (1972)


slaytonf
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Dense as I am, it wan't until the end of What's Up Doc? that I realized Peter Bogdanovitch modeled his movie after the Hawks screwball comedy.  The comic energy derives from the man-bites-dog aspect of a woman chasing a man as the basis of the romantic plot.  I remember seeing it a long time ago in a theater and liking it.  Then seeing it, or the beginning of it some years ago and not liking it.  And today, liking a lot of it, or at least enough to watch it all the way through.  Lots of great turns by actors who for some reason happen to all show up in Mel Brooks movies.  Hmmm.  This looks like it's Madeline Kahn's first motion picture appearance.  At least she is credited under that most unpromising heading "Introducing."  

So how do they compare?  To tell you the truth, I've never been a big fan of Bringing Up Baby.  There's one scene at the end where Katherine Hepburn plays the moll, which is hilarious, but not much else.  So while there are some sequences that are annoying, and there is the conventional chase at the end, and the conventional court scene, and the conventional resolution scene, What's Up Doc? is still diverting.  The ducking and dodging and handbag chasing scenes in the hotel are worthy of the best sight gags of Blake Edwards.  And while I don't laughoutloud, I smile through quite a bit of it.

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I just love WHAT'S UP DOC? and am always kind of unsatisfied after seeing BRINGING UP BABY. Some of it may be due to the music? It feels more frantic.
I suspect some of my preference could be from more modern dialogue in WUD. In any case, I enjoy both lead couples.

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I have never liked "Bringing Up Baby".

KH & CG are two of my favorites

Loved them in "Holiday".

Ben M, when introducing Bringing up Baby;

opined that the movie bombed with the 1937 audiences (released tho in 1938)

He also said that the movie has grown in popularity with modern day audiences.

The 1937 audience was more astute.

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I've always kind'a felt the following way about the latter made movie...

Liking What's Up Doc? means never having to say you're sorry.

giphy.gif

(...and yeah, I know that that's probably the dumbest thing you've ever heard, huh)

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I love BRINGING UP BABY but can hardly stand WHAT'S UP DOC?

I guess a big part of the reason is because I'm a much bigger fan of Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant than I am of Barbra Streisand and Ryan O'Neal. 

Hepburn and Grant just captured a hilarious quality and chemistry in their shenanigans in BABY that I feel Streisand and O'Neal badly lacked in their film.

Sorry to all the WHAT'S UP DOC? fans, but IMHO BABY beats it by a long shot in the laugh out loud department.

 

 

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I enjoy both versions. Guess I'm in the minority here. When I first checked out Bringing up Baby from the library, I was about 15 years old, and I loved it. I watched the movie about 3 times within the span of a week. I don't know what it was about it that made me enjoy it so much. 

I saw What's Up Doc a few months later, as a matter of fact. I love Barbra Streisand, and thought she did a great job in this. I like how the two movies have several similarities, but are each different in their own ways. 

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Baby of course is not the leopard, but the Cary Grant character, who is looking for his "bone." Bringing Up Baby is a great comedy, but also a serious film about the psychosexual development of an infantile character.

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Swithin said:

Baby of course is not the leopard, but the Cary Grant character, who is looking for his "bone." Bringing Up Baby is a great comedy, but also a serious film about the psychosexual development of an infantile character.

 

Hmmmm...ya know Swithin, if you said this with a Viennese accent, you might just pull this off here! 

;)

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5 minutes ago, Dargo said:

Hmmmm...ya know Swithin, if you said this with a Viennese accent, you might just pull this off here! 

;)

A bigger question for me is "Why don't I like Barbra Streisand?" I saw her on stage in Funny Girl; she was excellent. And I love her recording of "Miss Marmelstein" in I Can Get It for You Wholesale. But apart from that, I don't like her.

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22 minutes ago, Swithin said:

A bigger question for me is "Why don't I like Barbra Streisand?" I saw her on stage in Funny Girl; she was excellent. And I love her recording of "Miss Marmelstein" in I Can Get It for You Wholesale. But apart from that, I don't like her.

Yeah, I DO kind'a know what you mean. However, I've always liked her in this reprise of the Hepburn character role ever since I first watched WUD? upon its initial release. And, I also always thought there WAS some good chemistry between her and the guy who'd ultimately ruin what seemed a promising film career at the time.

(...YOU know, that idiot druggie Ryan...but don't get me started on THAT guy here)

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6 hours ago, Arteesto said:

I have never liked "Bringing Up Baby".

KH & CG are two of my favorites

Loved them in "Holiday".

Ben M, when introducing Bringing up Baby;

opined that the movie bombed with the 1937 audiences (released tho in 1938)

He also said that the movie has grown in popularity with modern day audiences.

The 1937 audience was more astute.

While I like BUB,  it isn't one of my favorite KH or CG films or one of my favorite 30s comedies. 

While there are some very funny scenes I find the film to be too single focused on the one-joke set up (KH being a pain to CG).

 

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6 hours ago, Swithin said:

A bigger question for me is "Why don't I like Barbra Streisand?" I saw her on stage in Funny Girl; she was excellent. And I love her recording of "Miss Marmelstein" in I Can Get It for You Wholesale. But apart from that, I don't like her.

Streisand was funny as a Brooklyn Jewish Girl in the 60's and 70's of "Funny Girl" and "Hello Dolly", because she had enough humor to play herself as realistically New Yawk and comically over the top for late-60's/early-70's comedy and Broadway.  

By the time she did "Funny Lady" in '74--which was also about the now career-established Fanny Brice turning into a ruthless self-promoting businesswoman with an entertainment empire--art was starting to imitate life, and we were on our way to the rampaging Barbara-Zilla of the South Park episode.  (The one we got in "Yentl", which would have been a better movie musical if anyone else had been allowed to sing in it.)

And while I don't absolutely loathe Katherine Hepburn in BAB as much as other posters--or at least to the murderous degree I hate the "wacky" family in "My Man Godfrey"--her complete lack of any motivation for WHY she's such a looney will test your ultimate patience for 30's Screwball Comedy.

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