HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
Higher Power
Shinsengumi
IT Chapter Two
Rich Kids
Arena
Glory Guys, The
Serial Killer's Guide to Life, A
Lovers and Other Strangers
Shiny Shrimps, The
Good Woman is Hard to Find, A
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
Doctor at Sea
Spear
Death Cheaters
Wild Rose
Streetwalkin'
Mystify: Michael Hutchence
Devil's Playground, The
Cleanin' Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters
Hustlers
Mega Time Squad
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker
Souvenir, The
Birds of Passage
Ma
Woman at War
   
 
Newest Articles
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
70s Psycho-Thrillers! And Soon the Darkness and Fright on Blu-ray
Split: Stephen King and George A. Romero's The Dark Half on Blu-ray
Disney Post-Walt: Three Gamechangers
   
 
  Bedtime for Bonzo Ronnie Goes ApeBuy this film here.
Year: 1951
Director: Frederick De Cordova
Stars: Ronald Reagan, Diana Lynn, Walter Slezak, Lucille Barkley, Jesse White, Herbert Heyes, Herb Vigran, Harry Tyler, Edward Clark, Edward Gargan, Joel Friedkin, Brad Browne, Elizabeth Flournoy, Howard Banks, Perc Launders, Brad Johnson, Billy Mauch, Bonzo
Genre: Comedy
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Professor Peter Boyd (Ronald Reagan) arrives at the university where he works just as the fire brigade is showing up - there's someone who has climbed out of a high window in the building where his offices are and may be planning to jump! Boyd rushes up the stairs and into the lab where his colleague Professor Hans Neumann (Walter Slezak) is dithering in a panic, so he opts to play hero and get out onto the ledge to coax the potential calamity down. But the would-be jumper is not human, he's Bonzo the chimpanzee (playing himself), a test subject Peter would do well to take care of...

When Ronald Reagan was running for President, and indeed when he was in office, his opponents in the Democrats delighted in making mention of his movie career, specifically Bedtime for Bonzo, the one where his co-star was a chimp. The idea was that Ronnie would be embarrassed by this silly comedy and it would make him look incredibly foolish, so that mere mention of its name should have sent hoots of derision echoing around the White House, or at least in its general direction. What those opponents hadn't counted on was that they'd be far better off showing his last film, The Killers, because that was the one where he played an out and out villain.

In this, on the other hand, Reagan came across as a genuinely nice guy, and wasn't indulging us with pratfalls and tea parties with the ape, for he remained pretty sensible throughout. That was the joke, really: Peter was such a scientist that in his endeavours to show how nurture rather than nature guided a personality through life he wound up neglecting his duties as a person himself. The premise was that he would bring up Bonzo as a human child, thus proving wrong the Dean (Herbert Heyes) who has gotten cold feet about allowing Peter to marry his daughter Valerie (Lucille Barkley) now it has been revealed the boffin's father was a conman who spent a long time behind bars.

Did the old man's bad influence rub off on his son, or has Boyd's upbringing separate from him allowed him to become a far more valuable member of society than his father ever was? According to this, it's the environment which maketh the man (or woman, or chimp), which sounded... well, frankly it sounded very progressive and (ulp!) liberal, which had Reagan survived politically to the twenty-first century would have been a bigger stick to beat him with than sharing the screen with an antics-prone chimp. Actually, one of the screenwriters, Val Burton, was soon after this blacklisted as a Communist and never wrote another movie, and many have divined a certain left wing attitude in Bedtime for Bonzo since then, once the guffaws about the clowning had died down.

Peter thinks that Bonzo needs a stable home environment as if he were an actual baby, so employs a nanny in the shape of Jane Linden (Diana Lynn, she of the laughing eyes, a June Allyson type) who is initially shocked but quickly comes around to the idea. At last, some conservative fifties values, even if they are applied to an unmarried couple and an ape, but for all the script's moves towards social commentary, which were unmistakably there, this was more like a Disney comedy made around a decade before that studio found such business so lucrative. Therefore it ends up with Bonzo becoming an unintentional jewel thief thereby landing Peter in hot water, just as Jane has fallen for him and his obstinately intellectual ways, all a bit silly but light and breezy nonetheless. What you can compare it to now is the documentary Project Nim, which was the real life tale of a Bonzo situation, carried out by seventies hippy-dippies rather than a straightlaced future President. In real life, it wasn't so funny. Music by Frank Skinner.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 1935 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
  Desbris M
   

 

Last Updated: