Film review

(Monkey business – 1952) I love you potato head

Posted on Updated on

Hollywoods 50’s heartthrob Depp’s equivelant Cary Grant plays not-all-quite-there chemist Dr. Barnaby Fulton alongside stars such as thee undeniably beautiful and Iconic Marilyn Monroe aka eye candy Miss Lois Laurel (Not Manson , no offense) in a original make of ‘Monkey business’. This film definitely isn’t short on beautiful women and even the trailer admits outloud that it is nothing out of the ordinary for being typically sexist as is expected from its era but its wacky script still allowed for a good few chuckles from me in this current century.

Sometimes referred to as Howard Hawks’ Monkey Business the storyline is one that has been done both before and after this in earlier rendition Bringing Up Baby (1938), which also starring Cary Grant had almost the same storyline except it had a leopard instead of a chimpanzee. Suspicious.


Dr. Barnaby Fulton works on a fountain of youth pill for the Oxly chemical company and is trying to develop an elixir of youth. One of Dr. Fulton’s guinea pigs or rather chimpanzees- the oh so adorable Esther gets loose in the laboratory and, having watched and learn the Dr mixing a beaker of chemicals the cheeky and loveable creature pours the mix into the water cooler. As you can imagine hilarity ensues.

And writer Ben Hechts and experienced director of only angels have wings Howard Hawks does this with a style which I hope will never die out. The whole film has a light and refreshing feel from beginning to end and whilst the acting wasn’t always the best and the pacing sometimes unsettlingly inconstant the development of the characters throughout makes you not want to fetch that cup of tea. Apart from the monochrome its easy to forget at times that this film was produced over sixty years ago as its humour is timeless.


The transformation of the famous stars into teenagers is actually strangely convincing and the relationships between the characters genuinely moving as well as funny. Full of iconic actors as I have mentioned before it’s no wonder why this film was a hit but for me the biggest stars were most definitely the monkeys. Those who know me well may well suspect me to be biased but all things considered the thing that I thought made this film special was that if this film was made today no doubt the monkeys would be CGI or stop motioned but no through and through but seeing a monkey swinging of a chandeleur? Thats the sort of thing that really draws you in. It’s so outrageous you kind of forget the clever monkeys aren’t improvising. Most importantly they were well looked after with Monroe apparently developing a bond with the primates. Naww cute.

Hawks himself said that he ‘did not think the film’s premise was believable, and as a result thought the film was not as funny as it could have been.’ Its far from perfect but it’s worth a watch especially if you’re a monkey lover. Or a fan of hollywood pin ups.

The male gaze
The male gaze