A list of Most Influential Films I got during Act One’s Screenwriting program included Monkey Business with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. Grant plays a fuddy-duddy scientist, complete with Coke bottle glasses, who’s working on a formula that acts as a fountain of youth. He’s married to Edwina, a beautiful, devoted, rational woman. It’s a screwball comedy that follows the consequences of a lab monkey’s fiddling with the formula and explores what might happen if sane adults really could turn back the clock.
The film’s light and silly, but works because you see enough intelligence and dignity from Grant, Rogers and the supporting cast which includes a young Marilyn Monroe as a young secretary who responds to her boss’ complaints about her punctuation by being “careful to get here before nine.”
Oh, yes, but fine since it’s not stupid. Still I’m not sure why this film was so influential.
The film’s theme is summed up in Barnaby’s quote:
Barnaby: I’ve i’ve decided that the formula is the most dubious discovery since itching powder and just about as useful.
Edwina: Oh I wouldn’t say that. It cured your bursistis, it improved your vision, I must say it made you feel young.
Barnaby: Hmmph. I’m beginning to wonder if being young is all it’s cracked up to be. The dream of youth! We remember it as a time of nightengales and valentines . And what are the facts? Maladjustments, near idiocy, and a series of low comedy disasters that’s what youth is. I don’t see how anyone survies it.
Monroe doesn’t figure in the story that much. She’s featured in the early part of the film and less so in the middle and end. It’s strange that she’s featured so prominently on the DVD case. It’s clearly Grant and Rogers’ film and it’s not like either are hard on the eyes.