The 1952 screwball comedy, Monkey Business, will be screened at London’s BFI Southbank in September as part of a Cary Grant retrospective, and is also The Times’ classic film of the week, as reviewed by Larushka Ivan-Zadeh.
“Grant basically retreads the stiff academic he played in Hawks’s Bringing Up Baby as Dr Fulton, a nutty professor in bottle-end spectacles who is striving to create an elixir of eternal youth. Then one day, a lab chimpanzee breaks out of his cage and, unbeknown to Fulton, beats him to it. When the chimp’s formula ends up in the water supply, Fulton unwittingly drinks it and regresses to his teenage self: losing the specs and whisking his sexy young secretary (rising star Marilyn Monroe, then dubbed the ‘cheesecake queen’ of Hollywood by Hedda Hopper) off to a rollerskating rink.
The high-concept, chimp-led shenanigans are a tad contrived — though special mention to an excellent simian performance. But this joyful concoction of golden Hollywood greats still fizzes with sublime moments of comedy — not least the scenes between an adoring Monroe and the speccy Grant that were parodied seven years later, by Tony Curtis, in Some Like It Hot. “