Monkey Business (1952)

Article 2261 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 5-27-2007
Posting Date: 10-21-2007
Directed by Howard Hawks
Featuring Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn

A scientist is working on a revitalizing youth formula, but doesn’t succeed until a monkey mixes up the potion. He decides to test the potion on himself. Hilarity ensues (and this time, I mean it.)

One sign of a top-notch director is that he can put several actors in the same room with a monkey and not have the monkey steal the scene. Granted, it helps when the actors and actresses in question are Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, and Marilyn Monroe. it also helps that the actors are engaged in some extremely absurd behavior; the youth potion in question not only restores the body to a younger vitality, but it seems to place the user’s mind into the same psychological place that it was when they were younger and all those hormones were running wild. Hawks was also smart enough to know that the slapstick antics toward the end of the movie were something to build up to rather than something to unleash from square one; the movie starts out with more subtle humor, and gradually gets broader as the situation progresses. Things get pretty wild, especially during the sequence where Cary Grant gets together with a group of kids playing Indians and convinces them to scalp Hugh Marlowe while Ginger Rogers tries desperately to deal with the fact that she thinks her husband has literally turned into a baby. The cast and director Howard Hawks make this one a treat, and it’s great to see another Hawks movie for this series; the only other one I’ve covered is THE THING FROM ANOTHER WORLD , from which this movie borrows Robert Cornthwaite and Douglas Spencer from the cast.


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