A Review by Frank S. Nugent of the New York Times

March 4, 1938

To the Music Hall yesterday came a farce which you can barely hear above the precisely enunciated patter of Miss Katherine Hepburn and the ominous tread of deliberative gags. In "Bringing Up Baby" Miss Hepburn has a role which calls for her to be breathless, senseless and terribly, terribly fatiguing. She succeeds, and we can be callous enough to hint it is not entirely a matter of his performance.

And the gags! Have you heard the one about the trained leopard and the wild leopard who get loose at the same time? Or the one about the shallow brook with the deep hole? Or the one about the man wearing a woman's negligee? Or the one about the Irishman who drains his flask and sees a wild animal which really is a wild animal? You have? Surprising, indeed. But perhaps you haven't heard the one about the annoying little wirehaired terrier who makes off with a valuable object and buries it somewhere and has the whole cast on his heels. That one, too? Well, then, how about the one where the man slips and sits on his top hat? Or the one where the heroine is trying to arouse a sleeper by tossing pebbles at his window and, just as he pokes his head out, hits him neatly with a bit of cobblestone? Or, getting back to the leopard who is the "baby" of the title, would you laugh madly if a Charles Ruggles did a leopard-cry imitation as an after-dinner stunt and commented two minutes later upon the unusual echo?

Well, neither did we. In fact, after the first five minutes of the Music Hall's new show- we needed those five to orient ourselves- we were content to play the game called "the cliché expert goes to the movies" and we are not at all proud to report that we scored 100 per cent against Dudley Nichols, Hagar Wilde and Howard Hawks, who wrote and produced the quiz. Of course, if you've never been to the movies, "Bringing Up Baby" will be all new to you- a zany ridden product of the goofy farce school. But who hasn't been to the movies?


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