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April 15, 1999 - Image 22

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1999-04-15

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6C~ - The, ~higan Daily - Weekerc~tc, Magazine - Thursday, *il 15, 1999

6G - The, higan, Daily:- Weekepu~tcM~againe 8-Thursday, #1 151. as. " "
tc Video Rewind
Hawks' 'Baby' shows how to make funny also smart


The Michigan Dal- Weekend, etc.


By Erin Podolsky
Daily Arts Writer
Long before the Farrelly brothers
were making us dumb and dumber -
hell, before they were even born -
Howard Hawks was making some of
the best comedies, screwball and other-
wise, ever created. He was making

films that were quite clearly his per-
sonal vision and he was doing it under
the strict eye of the studio system,
which makes his auterist achievement
all the more impressive. The finest
screwball specimen of Hawks' career
(and, indeed, anybody's career) is
"Bringing Up Baby," a 1938 film star-

ring icons Cary Grant and Katherine
Grant and Hepburn were regular
sparring partners on the silver screen
in the late 1930s early 1940s, but
never are they more spot-on than in
the madcap "Bringing Up Baby."
Taking a bite out of the society's


upper crust, the two bring a delight-
fully vibrant capriciousness to the
film's breathlessly crazy plot which
is, as Grant's character calls it, "a
series of misadventures from begin-
ning to end." They're aided by a
funny supporting cast and a script
that never quits.
Grant plays straight man Dr. David
Huxley to Hepburn's flightily motor-
mouthed Susan Vance. David is an
paleontologist about to be married to
the prim and proper Alice Swallow
(Virginia Walker), who suggests he
cancel the honeymoon so he can con-
tinue his important work.
He is in the midst of reconstruct-
ing a brontosaurus skeleton when he
receives a telegram informing him
that the final bone he has been
searching for has been located.
Through a series of strange coinci-
dences, he meets again and again
with Susan, an impressionable,
sometimes foolish but always amus-
ing heiress who speaks at a rate of
more than 50 miles per hour and
eventually makes David's heart beat
at the same speed.
The two have a chance encounter at a
golf outing (she unwittingly steals his
golf ball and then doesn't believe him
when he tries to make things right) and
end up being connected in the strangest
of ways. David is looking for funding
from a mysterious donor, represented by
a Mr. Peabody, named Mrs. Random,
who turns out to be Susan's aunt.
David doesn't know that, of course,

and Susan gets him out to the family
estate in Connecticut, where she
wreaks havoc on his life after deciding
that David is in love with her - thanks
to a little help from a psychologist she
runs into at a restaurant who tells her
that "the love impulse in men very fre-
quently reveals itself in terms of con-
The havoc increases tenfold when
Susan acquires a leopard named Baby
from her out-of-the-country brother
Mark and insists that David must help
her wrangle the beast. David dutifully
goes to her New York apartment and
they embark on a mission to transport
Baby to Susan's aunt's Connecticut
estate. Susan plots to keep him there
for dinner, even resorting to stealing his
clothes and dressing him up in a frock
of her own while he searches for them.
The rest of the film includes a stint
in jail, cross-dressing, mistaken identi-
ties (of humans and leopards) and
more - and as the comedic stakes
mount as scene after scene builds to a
misunderstanding of mammoth pro-
portions, so does the laughter. If they
don't put a smile on your face, you
ought to go to the doctor to make sure
your lips are working.
As is usual in screwball comedies,
hilarity leads to hate, which leads to
loathing, which leads to love. It doesn't
hurt that this time the contestants are
two of Hollywood's biggest stars of
their era and, really, of any era. It all
makes perfect sense - and, of course,
it all makes great cinema.

With apologies to Mr Eliot
April is the cruelest month, breeding
panic in the apathetic student, mixing
regret and unfounded hope, stirring dull
minds with ruined grades. Winter kept us
warm, covering us in forgetful snow, feed-
ing little intellects with indifferent inter-
est. Spring surprised us, rising suddenly
from Earth to threaten with tarnished
futures and goals undone by learned pro-
crastination. Come: I will show you fear
in an armful of dust-covered books.
A crowd flowed across the Diag, so
many, I had not thought school had
undone so many. Cappuccinos were
imbibed, and each student suffered mad
visions brought by lack of sleep.
Now we, each in our own way, play
parts in a farce, pretending knowledge
where none exists, placing ourselves in
the way of academic harm exams come.
This is the affliction of the student of
formal education: to accomplish in a pair
of weeks what should be done over the
course of months. Consistency is rare.
Let's not deny it. I can think of no one who
may say in all honesty that they've attend-
ed all classes, met all deadlines perfectly,
read all pages assigned. In fact, the trend
seems to be more toward the opposite end
of the spectrum, i.e. it's an exception to
come across anyone who has made any

ble syllabi handed out at the beginning of
the semester. The sad result is the frantic
pair of weeks that conclude the school
year, during which frenzied days sleep
becomes the rarest of commodities.As
students attempt to
cram useless infor-
mation into slothful
unreceptive brains
only long enough to t
spew it out in a hor-
rid mental vomit for .
the purpose of the
abstract evaluations,
we give the neutral
name "examina-
tions." This name,
of course, hardly ANDREW
begins to describe MORTENSEN
the fatigue, the .Bic; IDE AS
accompany ing (DON'T GF
emotional and ANY)
physical break-
down, the mad contemplations at five in
the morning (at which hour plots to raze
certain buildings on campus seem alto-
gether plausible), the otherworldly ability
to sense air molecules striking your skin.
And yet we're willing to sacrifice all for
the sake of a possible high grade. A friend
tells me he eats No-doz like breath mints
during exam week. He pops one after
another into his mouth; tells me that he

sleeps not at all until he has inscribed the
last illegible word in the last unintelligible
paragraph in his last blue book and left the
campus, safe from malevolent Academia,
the claws that catch, the jaws that bite.
I have seen him after his wakeful week.
He's an apparition, then, an animate
cadaver, gibbering and shaking till he at
last finds time to rest. I can't believe his is
a singular case. What I mean to say is that
there are probably hundreds of people
lurching about campus, wearing great
holes in their stomachs with caustic cof-
fee, acting apparently as rational human
beings, carrying on philosophical conver-
sations as though they were at the height
of their intellectual power.
("Don't make me laugh! Kierkegaard
wasn't even a Kierkegaardian, you buf-
foon!"); yet all on the verge of descent
into utter madness, the sort of madness
that causes people to run nude for the
viewing pleasure of repressed pedophiles
with video cameras. (Ha! Can you imag-
ine people actually doing that? Har! Oh,
um, yeah: The Naked Mile.)
Not to say that I'm free of sleepless
insanity myself. Quite the contrary. Last

year, the night before a particular]
cult exam, I shrewdly began stud
1a.m. On elastic legs I trekked
undergraduate library and ens
myself firmly in a study booth. Fo
al hours I stared at endless pa
required formulas, frowning as
concentrating and gathering infoi
into the dusty recesses of my mim
For comfort during my late-nig
session, I had purchased a cup of I
from which I took infrequent s
some point, shortly after the lett
numbers on the pages began t
themselves into pleasing shapes
delight of my sand-filled eyes,
wires in my brain got crossed.
Impulses that were supposed
directed toward my right hand w<
instead to my left, and vice ven
being the case, I calmly attempted
a sip of ink from the tip of my b
pen as I dumped a full cup of hot
orously over the text book in front
I looked over the scene, watchii
tear-filled eyes the tea dripping sk
the edge of the table. I cared nott
the book nor for my notes; and ma

* April 15th *
Ann Arbor Inn & Suites
3750 Washtenaw
* 5pm - Midnight
True or False?
VEnglish is, like, degenerating before our eyes
VGood grammar is a matter of self-discipline
VDialects are sloppy, corrupt forms of a language
VSign language is not a real language
VChildren learn to talk by imitating care givers
Lecture: Monday / Wednesday, 12-1
Discussion: Friday, 9; 10; 11; 12; 1

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