Something terrible and predictable happens when you watch a film over and over and over to write about it, especially when it’s a film no one has written about. A film like Monkeys Go Home! I had to put the chapter away for a while, because I started to convince myself that Monkeys Go Home! was an unacknowledged masterpiece. I don’t want to give away too much, since Intellect will want the book to be as all-new as possible, but here’s an earlier draft of what I find kind of crazy about the movie: After dispensing with the political conflict underpinning the narrative conflict, Monkeys Go Home offers a magical, ideological solution to the narrative conflict itself – everyone works for Hank for free because he previously proposed to have his chimpanzees work at all the farms in the village gratis. Paired with this second-hand neighborliness is that old standby, the romantic couple. Not only do Hank and Marie pair off, but Marie provides a male chimpanzee for (one of?) the four female chimps. Father Sylvain, unlike Don Camillo, picks a side and overtly collaborates. He helps the American capitalist; for his efforts he is paired off with Paraulis, who finds religion, or at least finds sanctuary from the mob, in the church. The anti-imperialist communists, the village’s villains, are thus redeemed by the exposure of their faux-intellectual Paraulis (who does look a little like Jean-Paul Sartre). But Carlucci, the sincere communist who looked to have lost the argument about American imperialism, does not find religion, does not take part in the mass pro-American demonstration of volunteerism at the end of the film, and does not disavow his political beliefs. He just goes back, one assumes, to his dog-ravaged butcher shop to pick up the pieces, alone. The logic of the Hollywood/Disney happy ending mistakes Carlucci’s quiet departure and lack of romantic partner at the conclusion as being proven wrong, but otherwise Walt’s anti-union, anti-communist populism clearly and joyously wins the day. I will add some images later.

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