Monkey Business (1952)

35mm film, black and white, 1.37:1
mono, English

An American comedy fantasy film directed by Howard Hawks.

Plot Summary

Research chemist Barnaby Fulton develops a working youth serum which he tests on . But the formula is accidentally added to the lab's water cooler and Barnaby and his wife Edwina regress to childhood. At first, they enjoy their newly restored youth but things get complicated when Edwina's old flame Hank Entwhistle turns up…


* = uncredited

Directed by: Howard Hawks
Copyright MCMLII [1952] by Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation
Twentieth Century-Fox presents. Produced and released by Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Produced by: Sol C. Siegel
Screen Play by: Ben Hecht, Charles Lederer, I.A.L. Diamond
Story by: Harry Segall
Assistant Director: Paul Helmick *
Director of Photography: Milton Krasner
Film Editor: William B. Murphy
Music: Leigh Harline
Orchestration: Earle Hagen
Musical Direction: Lionel Newman
Sound: W.D. Flick, Roger Heman
Western Electric Recording
Costumes Designed by: Travilla
Wardrobe Director: Charles LeMaire
Makeup Artist: Ben Nye
Hair: Helen Turpin *
Special Photographic Effects: Ray Kellogg
Art Direction: Lyle Wheeler, George Patrick
Set Decorations: Thomas Little, Walter M. Scott

Cary Grant [Dr Barnaby Fulton]
Ginger Rogers [Edwina Fulton]
Charles Coburn [Oliver Oxly]
Marilyn Monroe [Lois Laurel]
Hugh Marlowe [Harvey Entwhistle]
Henri Letondal [Dr Kitzel]
Robert Cornthwaite [Dr Zoldeck]
Larry Keating [G.J. Culverly]
Douglas Spencer [Dr Brunner]
Esther Dale [Mrs Rhinelander]
George Winslow [deep voiced little Indian]

Alternative Titles

Be Your Age
Chérie, je me sens rajeunir – French title
A Culpa Foi do Macaco – Portugese title
Darling I am Growing Younger – working title
Foryngelseskuren – Danish title
Föryngringsprofessorn – Swedish title
Joven otra vez – Venezuelan title
Liebling, ich werde jünger – Austrian/German title
Il magnifico scherzo – Italian title
Me siento rejuvenecer – Spanish title
Rakas, minä nuorrun – Finnish title
Vitaminas para el amor – Chilean title

Extracts included in
Precious Images (1986)


Boxoffice vol.61 no.19 (6 September 1952) pp.b11, b12
Subtlety was thrown to the winds and, as a substitute known known slapstick device was employed in fashioning this comedy entry. The end result is uneven screen fare, ranging from the broadly hilarious to the down right silly, ad which will find its best reception among audiences who are looking a laugh at any price. The topflight cast, headed by Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers, and the features running time are indications that the film was designed top-rung bookings, and in that position it has sufficient merit to entertain those whose celluloid tastes are not too critical. Director Howard Hawks delved back into the Keystone Kops technique in transferring the script to the screen, making the most of a rather unbelievable face situation, and the Grant-Rogers team plays it to the hilt. – from an uncredited review

Variety 10 September 1952
Some important names, production as well as cast-wise, are involved here, for disappointing results. Attempt to draw out a thin. familiar slapstick idea isn't carried off. […] Occasional scenes are briefly funny but are not sustained, and the joke wears thinner as it's spun out into further developments. Grant plays the role sometimes as if his heart isn't completely in it.

Monthly Film Bulletin vol.19 no.225 (October 1952) p.144
An entertaining comedy, with a good idea and some lively dialogue: the sequences of the Fultons recapturing their youth under the influence of the elixir are particularly amusing. Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers are excellent. The final complications are a little protracted, but on the whole playing, writing and direction sustain the story admirably. – from an uncredited review

Picturegoer vol.24 no.910 (11 October 1952) pp.22-23
It's amazing how accomplished players and a witty scriptwriter can make the silliest of plots seem plausible. […] It all works as a good farce should, with science still marking time and the secret of rejuvenation in the monkey's mind. Sometimes the comedy takes too wild a turn, but for the most part it keeps the chuckles churning. Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers play up the with zest and a sure sense of comedy. – from an illustrated review [author not credited, possibly Lionel Collier]

Kinematograph Weekly vol.434 no.2395 (21 May 1953) p.31
Wildly extravagant farce, with a highly coloured clinical fringe. […] Capital star-decked light fare


Boxoffice vol.61 no.19 (6 September 1952) pp.b11, b12 – review, synopsis
Bright Lights vol.1 no.3 (Summer 1975) pp.23-26
Film Heritage vol.6 no.2 (Winter 1970-1971) pp.19-26
Kinematograph Weekly no.2359 (11 September 1952) p.18
Kinematograph Weekly vol.431 no.2381 (12 February 1953) p.27 – note
Kinematograph Weekly vol.434 no.2395 (21 May 1953) p.31 – illustrated short review (Entertainment releases)
Monthly Film Bulletin vol.19 no.225 (October 1952) p.144
Motion Picture Herald vol.188 no.10 (6 September 1952) p.1517
Picturegoer vol.23 no.892 (7 June 1952) p.7 – illustrated article (Setpiece: Monkey Business by Pedelty)
Picturegoer vol.24 no.910 (11 October 1952) pp.22-23 – illustrated review (Talking of films [author not credited, possibly Lionel Collier])
Saturday Review of the Arts 10 September 1952 – review
Today's Cinema vol.78 no.6513 (28 May 1952) p.12 – review
Today's Cinema vol.79 no.6582 (4 September 1952) p.8 – review
Variety 10 September 1952

Aurum Film Encyclopedia: Science Fiction by Phil Hardy (ed) p.134-135
by Walt Lee p.311 – credits