Katharine Hepburn is getting badly on my nerves. My hands shake, my legs have lost all strength. I sit in the theater and wish she would shut up--and when she does, of course I peek around each corner, trying to defy the two-dimensional image, to see if she's coming back. For once in my life, I know exactly how Cary Grant feels.
But be careful what you wish for. Bringing Up Baby has added another strange layer to the Eternal City of Eros: sharp-boned irritation. Hepburn's voice is as unbearable as her frame is angular. She is a sport--but not like Dorothy Parker's "Big Blonde," all happy-go-lucky and appalling decay--but an athletic event. When she talks, I rack my brains--while they're still working--to figure out a way to let her keep going without my going mad.
Let me try this again: I am in love with Katharine Hepburn because she infuriates me. And she does this while managing somehow to step aside, her volume not decreasing one jot, and give Grant all the room he needs--and together they rise, and topple, and tear up the scenery--and even the dog and the big cat--even the bony dinosaur--dim in their wake. It's like a two-person version of Busby Berkeley's Ever-Expanding Stage--but without the music and the Freudian girl-geometry. No, it's just Kate and Cary and Baby makes three, falling in love the way the Marx Brothers fall out of bedroom windows.