Search - Bedtime for Bonzo on DVD

Bedtime for Bonzo
Bedtime for Bonzo
Actors: Ronald Reagan, Diana Lynn, Walter Slezak, Lucille Barkley, Jesse White
Director: Frederick De Cordova
Genres: Comedy
NR     2005     1hr 23min

No Description Available. Genre: Feature Film-Comedy Rating: NR Release Date: 31-MAY-2005 Media Type: DVD


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Movie Details

Actors: Ronald Reagan, Diana Lynn, Walter Slezak, Lucille Barkley, Jesse White
Director: Frederick De Cordova
Creators: Carl E. Guthrie, Ted J. Kent, Michael Kraike, Lou Breslow, Raphael Blau, Ted Berkman, Val Burton
Genres: Comedy
Sub-Genres: Comedy
Studio: Universal Studios
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 05/31/2005
Release Year: 2005
Run Time: 1hr 23min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Monkey Love
A.Trendl | Glen Ellyn, IL USA | 10/28/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

""Bedtime for Bonzo" is more than a B-movie built on schemes and pratfalls.

In a movie masked as a question of environment versus genetics, we are treated to a love story as gentle as a Disney flick, as innocent as "Leave It to Beaver" and as silly as a Martin and Lewis comedy.

The havoc is huge that Bonzo causes as he tramps across the screen, as Peter, a psychology professor (famously played by Ronald Reagan) follows in pursuit. The star chimpanzee leads Peter into chaos with Valerie. Peter thinks he intends to marry Valerie, and uses Bonzo to help prove his valor to her father.

In the process of convoluting a scheme to win the approval of Valerie's father, Peter hires a nanny to help with good Bonzo's parenting. Jane, the nanny, is willing but nave, and her childlike manner unexpectedly endears Peter who becomes confused about his commitment to Valerie.

Bonzo longs to please his neo-mother Jane, and swipes a hard-to-steal necklace from a jewelry store. This plants Peter in a pound of trouble, and furthers Valerie's father's ill-founded belief that his daughter's boyfriend is a ne'er-do-well professorial thug.

Will Peter's honesty and goodness shine through? Can he convince a non-human primate to make the right decision and return the stolen necklace? Will Valerie's father realize the error of his ideas? What about Peter and his confused heart?

The ending comes about predictably, but satisfyingly.

I fully recommend "Bedtime for Bonzo."

Anthony Trendl
A classic B-movie starring Ronald Reagan as well as Bonzo
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 06/11/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Political opponents of Ronald Reagan always liked to refer to "Bedtime for Bonzo" as some sort of joke film, but it really is a solid B-movie tha offers a solid performance by the future president. Reagan plays Peter Boyd, a professor of psychology whose father was a thief. To impress Dean Tillinghast (Herbert Heyes), not to mention the dean's lovely daughter, Valerie (Lucille Barkley), Peter sets out to prove that environment is a more important factor than heredity. Towards this end he borrows Bonzo from a zoology professor (Walter Slezak) and takes the chimp home to raise him like a human. Peter even hires a nurse named Jane (Diana Lynn) to become Bonzo's "mother," and everything proceeds well for a while. Of course the dean's daughter gets jealous and Bonzo senses things are not going well for his happy home. Fascinated with pretty jewelry, Bonzo steals a valuable necklace from a store. Peter is accused of having trained the chimp to steal (heredity wills out as it were) and is jailed. Fortunately Jane and Bonzo are pretty much smarter than the rest of this crew put together and we have a happy ending. Reagan's performance in this movie is solid, with just the right touch of conviction and exasperation as he deals with the upstaging chimp in scene after scene. Think about how hard it is to act with a chimp: look what Cheetah did to Johnny Weismueller. Walter Slezak as Professor Neumann is a great second banana in this film, but Reagan makes "Bedtime for Bonzo" work. He makes this whole crazy story believable and that is what you need in this type of film. Just think of all the people over the years who have watched this film to ridicule Reagan and who had to end up admitting this is an entertaining little film that deserves to be remembered as more than a curious footnote in Reagan's acting career. "Bedtime for Bonzo" is directed by Frederick De Cordova, who would eventually be better known for directing television shows like "The Burns and Allen Show, " "The Jack Benny Show" and "December Bride" as Freddy De Cordova. Most people today would remember him as the executive producer of the "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson."
Ronald Reagan Raises a Chimp
Bryan Carey | Houston, TX | 09/12/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)

"Bedtime for Bonzo is one of Ronald Reagan's best- known films. Originally released in 1951, Regan was only 39 years old when this film was shot. Reagan is the main star of the show, but part of the credit for the film's success also belongs to Bonzo, the chimpanzee that Reagan takes under his wing; adopting him temporarily for a psychology experiment and attempting to teach him the difference between good and bad.

Reagan's character in this film is a Psychology professor and the reason he raises Bonzo is to prove a point to the man who would later become his father in law. The man is Dean Tillinghast, and he is an associate professor at the same school. He discovers one day that Reagan's father was a convicted felon and he doesn't want the son of a criminal marrying his daughter because he is afraid the "bad" genes have been passed on and that Reagan will end up the same way. Reagan decides to conduct this experiment with Bonzo to prove a point that one's environment is the key to behavioral formation. He and actress Diane Lynn proceed to raise Bonzo and teach him right from wrong.

The plot of this film is a little bit cheesy and some of it is very far- fetched. Even if the experiment succeeds, why would a fellow professor accept the behavior pattern of a chimp as proof that it also applies to humans? Of course, one has to keep in mind that this film is meant to be primarily a comedy, so the director likely made it a little bit unreal on purpose, just to make it funnier.

Reagan, Herbert Heyes, and Walter Slezak are all pretty good in their respective roles. They seem at least believable in their personifications of the different characters. But the women in the movie seem a little bit too much like actresses. That is, they seem like people on a stage trying their best to act like normal people but not succeeding very well. They talk a little too fast and respond too quickly to questions, like they are being cued by a director.

Overall, this movie is ok, but it isn't very memorable for its story or acting. The main thing that makes this movie memorable is Ronald Reagan himself. Watching the future president of the United States playing surrogate father to a chimp is funny and ironic, and it makes "Bedtime for Bonzo" worth a look.

Reagan and the Chimp
Samantha Kelley | USA | 10/04/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Professor Peter Boyd (Ronald Reagan) is all set to marry the Dean's daughter until the Dean discovers that there is a history of crime in Boyd's family. Backed by the arguement that environment shapes behavior, Boyd argues for the hand of the woman he loves, but the Dean insists on proof. Boyd then borrows the University chimp named Bonzo and sets out to teach him to behave like a human, thus proving that behavior is learned. He hires a young girl (Diana Lynn) to behave as the "Mama" of the family unit and to coach Bonzo. Will the experiment work?

A cute and breezy comedy, Bedtime For Bonzo is best known for Reagan's appearance. He isn't a great actor, but he is adequate in his role and has some truly funny moments with the chimp. The script is rather trite; we know what will happen when it happens, but it is charming just the same. This is a great film to show kids to introduce them to black and white movies too because it lacks smut."