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Fast-Talking Dames$
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Maria DiBattista

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780300088151

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300088151.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM YALE SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.yale.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Yale University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in YSO for personal use.date: 25 January 2020

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Bringing Up Baby

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Fast-Talking Dames

Maria DiBattista

Yale University Press

This chapter takes a closer look at 1938's Bringing Up Baby in order to study the role of the female as pathfinder within adventurous screen comedies—the evolutionary trailblazer who is always seeing things that never were and wanting things that are not yet. It looks at the film's fast-talking dame, Susan Vance (Katharine Hepburn), and the object of her sexual choice, Dr. David Huxley (Cary Grant), and explores the zoomorphic humor that explores human behavior—especially human sexual behavior—as the developed instance of the rampant instincts enlivening the entire animal world. Within the film is represented an entire menagerie of human and animal types, comparing human to animal life. This comedy of a post-Darwinian and post-Freudian age provides an explanation closer to home regarding the sexual difference between men and women—compared, for example, to the popular proposition that men are from Mars and women are from Venus.

Keywords:   Bringing Up Baby, female as pathfinder, evolutionary trailblazer, Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, zoomorphic humor, post-Darwinian, post-Freudian, human sexual behavior

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