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Friday, 22 June 2012

Monkey Business (1952)

Star Birthday - Charles Coburn & Star of the Month... Marilyn Monroe

Star Birthday - Charles Coburn

Born on 19 June 1877, Charles Coburn began his acting career on Broadway, before transitioning to film. He was often cast in wealthy artiocratic roles, playing the rich snob like no other. Coburn died on 30 August 1961 from a heart attack.

Recommended viewing

Monkey Business (1952)

'Monkey Business' (1952) is a screwball comedy directed by Howard Hawks.
Marilyn Monroe holding one of her primate co-stars
starring Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers, Charles Coburn and Marilyn Monroe.

Cary Grant stars as Dr. Barnaby Fulton, a chemist determined to formulate the secret to eternal youth for his boss Oliver Oxley (played by Coburn). In a bizarre twist of fate, it is Esther, one of the chimpanzees he is experimenting on who develops the formula. Esther pours the formula into the water cooler in Barnaby's laboratory with hilarious results.

Opening credit sequence

The opening credits feature Cary Grant playing himself attempting to walk out his front door, with director Howard Hawks' voice saying "Not yet Cary". Grant transitions to his character immediately after the opening credits.

Principal Cast

Edwina (Ginger Rogers) under the influence of the formula
 attempts to attack Miss Laurel (Marilyn Monroe), with
husband Barnaby (Cary Grant) forced to intervene
Cary Grant is hilarious in this film - I would consider this to be one of his funniest, along with Arsenic and Old Lace.

Ginger Rogers as Cary's wife Edwina steals the film with her vivacious performance. We are even treated with seeing Ginger kick up her heels on the dance floor, reminiscent of her earlier films with Fred Astaire.   

Marilyn Monroe is charming as Oxley's secretary Miss Lois Laurel. One of her first major roles in a film.

Charles Coburn is typecast as the wealthy Oxley, delivering one of the funniest lines to Monroe: "Find someone to type this".

This is reminiscent to Lucille Ball's incompetence as a secretary in Here's Lucy.

Did you know...

  • 'Monkey Business' was the first time Marilyn appeared on-screen with platinum blonde hair

Closing remarks

This is yet another film I have seen a number of times, and it still remains fresh and hilarious regardless of how many times it has been seen.

I recently showed this to my 80 year Italian grandmother, Nonna Flora, and I can't remember seeing her laugh so much.

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