Favorite Movie Couple- David Huxley and Susan Vance

Anyone who really knows me won’t be surprised by this choice.  David Huxley is a paleontologist played by Cary Grant and Susan Vance is a very unique (read ditzy) woman played by Katherine Hepburn. The movie is Bringing Up Baby. This movie has to be one of the screwiest (is that even a word?) of the screwball comedies of the 1930s. It was a flop when it came out in 1938 and Katherine Hepburn had to buy out her contract with RKO and the director was fired from his next film with Cary, Gunga Din.  That makes me sad because this movie is absolutely awesome- but the best revenge for them is that this is now a classic comedy. The chemistry between Cary and Kate is unreal.  They play off each other to perfection.  The quick repartee is like watching a ping pong match on fast forward. They both talk very fast and it’s amazing to listen to them.

One of my absolute favorite scenes in a movie full of favorite scenes is when they are in a night club and the back of her dress gets torn. He notices it and tries to protect her modesty with his body and his hat. It’s hilarious.  Another great scene is when Susan hides David’s clothes and he puts on her robe (negligee) – her aunt comes on him in the robe and it’s just a wonderful scene.

Baby is a tame leopard that was sent to Susan by her brother to give to their aunt. Susan recruits (read forces) David to help her with Baby.  When Baby gets loose,  there just happens to be a wild leopard around which, of course, ramps up the comedy element. When David and Susan get arrested, her interaction with the police is just priceless.

This movie is wicked funny, the chemistry between the stars is palpable, and, one of my favorite movie dogs is in it. He plays George in this movie and Asta in the Thin Man movies- which brings up another favorite on-screen couple, Nick and Nora Charles as played by William Powell and Myrna Loy. But that’s a post for another day.

I haven’t tried to replicate any of these ideas for my characters in my own writing but it would be great fun to try! Well, oh yeah, I DO have a dog that looks like George/Asta in one of my stories.

Who is your choice for favorite couple from a movie before 1950?


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The author of these blog posts is a lawyer by day and fiction writer by night.
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24 Responses to Favorite Movie Couple- David Huxley and Susan Vance

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    My favorite is from 1957. 😦 From An Affair to Remember. I can’t think of any prior to 1950. I’ll have to thank about that one. I’ve never seen this movie. I love classics so I’ll have to watch it. Thanks.


  2. Darlene says:

    I actually thought An Affair to Remember was going to be your pick. I’ve got to cast my vote for Rhett and Scarlett. I know it’s cliche but it was probably my first love story and still my favorite. Still trying to scrub that horrible sequel out of my head. But I digress. Those screwball comedies were great fun. They were a little later but Lucille Ball and Henry Fonda in Yours, Mine and Ours were a great couple too.


    • I DO love An Affair to Remember as you know, but for on-screen chemistry, this one can’t be beat. As for Scarlett and Rhett, I loved him- her not so much! LOL! AND yeah, the sequel was awful- Margaret Mitchell always said the story was over. Wish her heirs had listened. Yours, Mine and Ours was good, too. I adore older movies. Such fun!


  3. danicaavet says:

    Okay, I was going to say Some Like It Hot, but that didn’t come out until ’59…I’m going with Yankee Doodle Dandy. James Cagney and Joan Leslie. It’s been years since I saw the movie, but I remember how sweet George and Mary’s romance was.

    P.S. I’m not a big fan of romance movies as y’all will see tomorrow!


  4. jeff7salter says:

    ‘It Happened One Night’ (1934?) is one of my favorites and it certainly qualifies being pre-50s.
    ‘Bringing Up Baby’ has some great scenes and wonderful characters — major & minor — but I just think some of the story is played too long. One example is when they’re out in the woods at night looking for Baby. Too long.
    But the Jail scene is perfect length.
    I love the supporting characters, constable and professor. And the rich Aunt is an archetypal character I enjoy in this film.
    As we’ve discussed before — and I wrote about in Feb. (?) on this blog — ‘What’s Up Doc’ (one of my all time favorites) was consciously inspired by ‘Bringing Up Baby’. But I like it a lot better than Baby.


    • I agree about the minor characters being great, too. I also agree about the part in the woods being too long (and the part where they chased George for the bone was too long, too) but it is a fun romp.

      I LOVE “It Happened One Night” – we should totally have a film fest on all these movies we both love.

      “What’s Up Doc” is fantastic, too but since it has a lack of Cary Grants in it, I have to vote for Baby! LOL!


  5. Lavada Dee says:

    You picked a couple of my favorite stars. And, of course Spencer Traey and Katherine Hepburn movies.

    This a fun thread this week. I’m enjoying the blogs and comments.


  6. Thank you for your post, Jillian. I too think “Bringing Up Baby” deserves its stature as a comedy classic.

    Among my favorite scenes is the one in which Susan Vance (Hepburn) pretends to be a professional criminal by acting and talking like a Hollywood gangster. I doubt she could fool anyone, but she sure is funny!

    Another scene is one you mentioned, in which David Huxley (Grant) is wearing a frilly peignoir and Susan’s aunt unexpectedly drops in. She glares disapprovingly at his attire and asks, “Why are you wearing that?” He exclaims, “Because I just got gay!” It might well be the first time in the movies this word was used in this sense!

    My favorite pre-1950 film couple is Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald. Yeah, I know, many consider them a joke. The sort of movies and music they represent is about as far removed as possible from the kinds popular nowadays. But I still love them!

    All eight of the films they made together are enjoyable, but IMHO the most romantic is “Maytime”. It’s a popular stage operetta transformed into a gorgeous, unforgettable movie, one in which both the music AND the script work beautifully.

    The story concerns an opera soprano (MacDonald) and her mentor, a powerful impresario (John Barrymore). He loves her; she feels obliged to marry him. Then she inconveniently falls in love Eddy’s character, a man several rungs lower on the social ladder than his rival and dogged by fate.

    For a taste of what this movie is all about, and how far removed it is from anything being produced nowadays, check out this YouTube clip of Eddy and MacDonald singing the duet number “Sweetheart”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aJgBT8PM1B8

    Spoiler alert! This romance ends in a way I find most moving and meaningful. No feel-good HEA here; Barrymore, in a fit of Othello-like jealousy, shoots and kills Eddy. Barrymore and MacDonald split up; she lives forty more years, then dies and rejoins her love in the afterlife. Just imagine a romance ending this way nowadays!

    Keep up the good work!


  7. I DO love the scene with the peignoir and I think you’re right about the word Gay- bet they had a time getting it past the censors. AND remember, there were rumors about him having a gay relationship with Randolph Scott. The jail scene is priceless.

    I have not seen “Maytime”- sounds intriguing and I’ll have to check it out. I love older movies and this is one that has passed me by in my education. Thanks for telling me about it. I adore John Barrymore so for that reason alone, I know it’ll be good.

    Thanks for coming by – I always enjoy reading your comments.


  8. Laurie Ryan says:

    Hmmm. I almost hate to admit this, but I’ve never seen Bringing Up Baby. Guess I just added another movie to my “must see” list. 🙂 I actually had to go out and google movies prior to 1950 to get a list to look at. I’m not sure I have a favorite couple from any of them. This might be good fodder for a regular romance writer’s movie night, eh? I need to watch some old flicks.


    • What a great idea. A romance writer’s movie night. We could all watch the same one and then compare notes on what we liked and didn’t like. You def. need to check out this one if you like fun movies. It’s a bit silly but one that will leave you feeling good.


      • That’s a great idea! We could vote on which movie to watch, or each member of the group could take her turn to pick one. It could be a big favorite of hers, or one highly relevant to some topic we’re discussing. Or just something that should go over well with everyone. Thanks!


      • jeff7salter says:

        I could only agree to this if we also rotate in some classic war movies and action films with lots of gunfire and car chases. Fair is fair.


        • sounds fair, Jeff but we ARE romance writers- find me a good war movie with a side of romance, like “Hanover Street” and I’m in. I’d much rather watch a war movie than a car chase movie- they seem to have more plot.


      • jeff7salter says:

        Jillian, car chase movies DO have a plot … of sorts. It’s all about how many vehicles and buildings can be demolished in a short span of time … and how creatively they can keep a vehicle RUNNING after all those collisions. Oh … a side benefit: very rarely do any of the principal characters get hurt in any of these earth-shattering collisions.
        Surely, you recognize plot when you see it!


      • jeff7salter says:

        Jillian, you are a hoot. We’ve got to hook up!
        [But we’d probably have to agree on TWO movies.]


  9. Daisy Harris says:

    Before 1950?? Um…Anthony and Cleopatra?


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