- by ZoŽ
Barnaby is in search of the
elixir of youth. He is experimenting with his formula on chimps. One of the
chimps gets out of its cage and starts playing with Barnaby's chemicals.
When the chimp is about to be caught, he pours the mixture into a water
cooler. Barnaby decides to test his formula on himself, and washes it down
with a glass of water.....
- by Jen
Cary plays Barnaby Fulton, a chemist working on a fountain
of youth formula in his lab. After several attempts at trying to find the correct doses of
chemicals in his formula, Esther the chimp escapes from her cage and mixes a formula of
her own. This one successful, Esther's formula ends up in the water cooler and begins a
hilarious adventure for the whole cast. Both Cary and co-star Ginger Rogers become victims
of the chimp's recipe and act accordingly!
This film is a rare find for the Cary films of the 50's.
While most have seen and remember him for the romance and Hitchcock films of this decade
such as An Affair to Remember, To Catch a Thief and North by Northwest, Monkey Business is
reminiscent of the screwball comedies of the 30's. Very funny and full of just plain
silliness, this film is a great comedy that the whole family can watch.
Personal Note: This is one of my 10-year old brother's
Film Review - September 10, 1952
- by "Bron"
- submitted by Barry Martin
Some important names, production as well as cast-wise, are
involved here, for disappointing results. Attempt to draw
out a thin, familiar slapstick idea isn't carried off.
Marquee names will have to be plugged hard to bolster boxoffice
Story has Cary Grant as a matured
research chemist, working on a formula to regenerate human tissue
and using monkeys in his lab as guinea pigs for his
elixir-of-youth experiments. Ginger Rogers is his amiable
wife, still madly enough in love with him to forgive his
absentmindedness, his concentration on his duties instead of on
One of the lab monkeys breaks
loose, mixes up an assortment of chemical ingredients lying about,
dumps the concoction into the water-cooler - with the inevitable
results. First Grant, then Miss Rogers, drink from the
cooler, and immediately get teenage notions, emotions and
symptoms. They buy young clothes, racy cars; go
roller-skating, jitterbugging, and otherwise act the gay cutups.
Occasional scenes are briefly funny
but are not sustained, and the joke wears thinner as it's spun out
into further developments. Grant plays the role sometimes as
if his heart isn't completely in it. Miss Rogers, looking
beautiful, makes as gay a romp of it as she can. Marilyn
Monroe's sex appeal is played up for all it's worth (and that's
not inconsiderable), as she appears as a nitwit secretary.
But scripting deficiencies let them all down.
Charles Coburn is robust as prez of
the chemical concern, anxious to make a fortune on a youth elixir
formula, and other support is adequate.
- by Kathy Fox
This is Cary Grant's
second and last movie with Ginger Rogers, the first being ONCE UPON A
HONEYMOON in 1942. This is CG's 58th movie and his fifth movie being
directed by Howard Hawks. Their relationship had started in 1938, with
the production of BRINGING UP BABY. This movie has very true shades as
BUB. Cary is the greatest of farceurs, lighting up the screen with
hilarity and fun. Cary plays Dr. Barnaby Fulton who has been working
on a youth-restoring formula for several years. He has not had much
success until one day a chimpanzee gets loose in the lab and accidentally
concocts the exact formula Barnaby had been searching for. No one
knows that the chimp has put the formula in the water cooler (except the
water tastes bitter), and everyone who drinks the water gets younger and
younger. The chemical reaction is fun and explosive. Finally,
Barnaby decides that the formula has to go and tells his wife, Edwina
(Ginger Rogers) of his new formula, "You're only old when you forget you're
young," which obviously is the best philosophy for anyone to follow.
Cary makes acting look so easy; I envy him for that. When this film
came out it was not a commercial success, but today it is known as a true
classic. Just goes to show what time can do to put a new slant on
TIMES Film Review - September 6, 1952
- by Bosley Crowther
- submitted by Barry Martin
Needless to say, "Monkey Business," which arrived at the
Roxy yesterday, is not a "message picture" nor a
compound of high dramatic art. It is, to be quick about it,
what is known as a "screwball comedy" - or would have
been known by that label back in the Greg LaCava days - and, as
such, it is simply a concoction of crazy, fast, uninhibited
farce. This sort of thing, when done well - as it generally
is, in this case - can be insanely funny (if it hits right).
It can also be a bore.
The viewer found it entertaining
and farcically inventive to the point where its battery of comedy
writers obviously lay back on their typewriters and let it
coast. That is to say, it bubbles and throws off a lot of
surprise so long as its single gag is running more or less
up-hill. Tat gag has to do with the invention and the
imbibing of a supposed elixir of youth by a slightly romance-weary
chemist and his slightly frustrated wife. But, as soon as
this gag is established and provokes the obvious guffaws, the
subsequent changes rung upon it become just a little dull.
We don't blame the batter of
writers - I.A.L. Diamond, Charles Lederer and Ben Hecht - who
presumable knocked themselves silly writing the scatterbrained
script. They must have sustained themselves entirely on
giggle-water and laughing-gas while doing the job, for the
confusion of madcap situations belies any use of solid food.
Neither do we blame the direction of the usually sober-sided
Howard Hawks, which is certainly an adroit and constructive with
the material at hand as such could be.
And certainly we don't blame the
actors, from Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers right down to a smart
chimpanzee, which is probably the most accomplished performer in
the show. For they, too, deliver slapstick clowning about as
smoothly and courageously as one could expect from sober and
dignified performers who have been removed from Sennett gags for
many years. Mr. Grant and Miss Rogers as the couple who
partake of the concoction that makes them young - or, at least,
makes them behave like children, which is something else again;
Charles Coburn as a drug manufacturer, Marilyn Monroe as his
secretary and many more throw themselves into the nonsense with a
fine and abandoned will.
The trouble, we'd say - if trouble
is what you'd call an extended barrage of whooping childish
behavior by a film-full of grown-up clowns - is that a
screwball idea like this one can be kept funny just so long, which
is maybe thirty-five or forty minutes, and then it blows up and
that's the end.
Click here to read Jenny's Crackpot
Reviews at the Cary Grant Shrine
<< Back to Reviews | Top of Page