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Monkey Business (1952 film)

Monkey Business
Monkey businessposter.jpg
Promotional movie poster for the film
Directed by Howard Hawks
Produced by Sol C. Siegel
Written by Harry Segall (plot)
Ben Hecht
Charles Lederer
I.A.L. Diamond
Starring Cary Grant
Ginger Rogers
Marilyn Monroe
Charles Coburn
Music by Leigh Harline
Cinematography Milton R. Krasner
Edited by William B. Murphy
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release date
  • September 2, 1952 (1952-09-02) (USA)
Running time
97 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Box office $2 million (US rentals only)

Monkey Business is a 1952 American screwball comedy film directed by Howard Hawks and written by Ben Hecht, which stars Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn, and Marilyn Monroe. To avoid confusion with the famous 1931 Marx Brothers film of the same name, this film is sometimes referred to as Howard Hawks' Monkey Business.

Dr. Barnaby Fulton (Cary Grant), an absent-minded research chemist for the Oxly chemical company, is trying to develop an elixir of youth. He is urged on by his commercially minded boss, Oliver Oxly (Charles Coburn). One of Dr. Fulton's chimpanzees, Esther, gets loose in the laboratory, mixes a beaker of chemicals, and pours the mix into the water cooler. The chemicals have the rejuvenating effect Fulton is seeking.

Unaware of Esther's antics, Fulton tests his latest experimental concoction on himself and washes it down with water from the cooler. He soon begins to act like a 20-year-old and spends the day out on the town with his boss's secretary, Lois Laurel (Marilyn Monroe). When Fulton's wife, Edwina (Ginger Rogers), learns that the elixir "works", she drinks some along with water from the cooler and turns into a prank-pulling schoolgirl.

Edwina makes an impetuous phone call to her old flame, the family lawyer, Hank Entwhistle (Hugh Marlowe). Her mother, who knows nothing of the elixir, believes that Edwina is truly unhappy in her marriage and wants a divorce.

Barnaby takes more elixir and befriends a group of kids playing as make-believe Indians. They capture and "scalp" Hank (giving him a Mohawk hairstyle). Meanwhile, Edwina lies down to sleep off the formula. When she awakens, a naked baby is next to her and Barnaby's clothes are nearby. She presumes he has taken too much formula and regressed to a baby. She takes the child to Oxly to resolve the problem.



  • September 2, 1952 (1952-09-02) (USA)
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