Saturday, December 5, 2009

Bring on the Banter

One skill that I would love to hone as a writer is the ability to write witty banter. I am a big fan of classic movies from the 1930s and 40s. One of my favorite movies of all time does this to perfection - Bringing Up Baby, a Howard Hawks film from 1938 starring Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The story is about a wacky heiress who takes a liking to a mild mannered scientist and gets him involved when she is entrusted with the care of a leopard. Much madness ensues.

For those who haven't seen it, reading random quotes from the film doesn't do it justice, but here are a few of my favorite lines:

David Huxley - Now it isn't that I don't like you Susan, because, after all, in moments of quiet, I'm strangely drawn toward you, but - well, there haven't been any quiet moments.

David Huxley - (David tripped and sat on his hat): I might have known it was you. I had a feeling just as I hit the floor.
Susan Vance - That was your hat.

David Huxley - But Susan, you can't climb in a man's bedroom window!
Susan Vance - I know, it's on the second floor!

I highly recommend this movie as a case study for dialogue and pacing. And, I guarantee you'll laugh out loud at least a few times.


  1. I love old movies. This one looks really funny. In fact I think I may have seen part of it along time ago. I'll have to watch it again.

  2. I laughed just reading the quotes. Old movies here I come. :)

  3. I love old Cary Grant movies. One of my favorites is "Charade".

  4. I'm a huge fan, too. Charade, Arsenic and Old Lace, all good stuff. If you like Grant, you guys would probably enjoy Gary Cooper, too: High Noon and Seargent York are two of my classic favorites.