Professor Peter Boyd's engagement to the Dean's daughter is upset by the revelation that his father was a habitual convict. To prove the Dean's genetic theory of inherited traits as wrong, Boyd starts a 'secret' experiment. He borrows the science department's chimpanzee with the goal of showing that it is one's environment that affects your reaction to right and wrong.Written by
Richard Stephens <firstname.lastname@example.org>
During the 1980 US Presidential campaign when Ronald Reagan was the Republican nominee; this film suddenly became extremely popular again and was frequently shown on television. The joke in Washington was that "Bedtime for Bonzo" was a "favorite of old movie buffs and Democrats". See more »
When Bonzo is passed through the window, he has a skirt on that soon disappears. See more »
When Ronald Reagan, B picture actor became the 40th president of the United States on the way there he took a lot of criticism about his former profession as thespian. He always preferred his identification with the motion picture industry to be symbolized by playing George Gipp in Knute Rockne, All American. His supporters always referred to him as the Gipper. But his detractors always used Bedtime For Bonzo as the quintessential Reagan film.
It's both the title and the fact that Reagan is playing second fiddle to a young chimpanzee in the film that seem to resonate. Professors Reagan and Walter Slezak are conducting experiments as to just how close are the chimpanzees to man on the evolutionary scale. Reagan takes Bonzo home to live with him and treats him like a child and not a pet. For said experiment Bonzo needs a mother and Diana Lynn answers an advertisement for a chimp's mom.
It works out well on the scientific end, but plays havoc with Reagan's love life as he's slightly engaged to Lucille Barkley, daughter of college dean, Herbert Hayes. And Hayes just got an offer from Yale for Bonzo, but neither Reagan or Lynn want to part with him.
As a pet owner I can understand that, but the film does try to sell the point of view that Bonzo is more than a pet. That's a bit much for me to swallow.
Still Bedtime For Bonzo is an innocuous and pleasant comedy and could probably be remade today. Can you see Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie being Bonzo's parents?
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