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The Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom(1932)

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On the night of his engagement party, Tom Collier, a Connecticut publisher, receives an ocean liner radiogram from Daisy Sage, his former lover and best friend, announcing her imminent arrival in New York. After Tom reassures his fiancée, Cecelia Henry, that his interest in Daisy, a commercial artist, is purely friendly, he leaves his party to break the news of his engagement to Daisy. Before Tom can share his news, however, Daisy confesses that, since learning how to paint in Paris, she has decided to pursue serious painting as a career and wants him to go to Mexico with her. Daisy also confesses her desire to marry and have a baby with Tom. Although startled by Daisy's sudden shift in attitude toward him, Tom tells her about his June wedding and insists that they continue their friendship. Devastated, Daisy refuses the friendship, and Tom returns to Connecticut to marry Cecelia. Months later, Tom sees a posted announcement about Daisy's first gallery showing in New York. Although Cecelia agrees to go with Tom to the show's opening, she feigns a headache just before their departure and, using an enticing dressing gown, subtly seduces Tom into staying home with her. Cecilia also persuades Tom to fire the rough-edged "Red" Regan, a washed-up boxer who now works as Tom's butler. To Tom's relief, Red, aware that Cecilia disapproves of him, announces that he has been offered another job and wants to quit. Soon after, a lonely and bored Tom visits Daisy in New York to rekindle their friendship. Although grateful for Tom's honest criticism of her paintings, a still enamored Daisy panics at the thought of being with him and leaves suddenly for Nova Scotia. Later, however, Cecilia telephones Daisy and invites her and two of Tom's former New York friends, cellist Franc Schmidt and novelist Joe Fiske, to Tom's overnight birthday party. Curious about Cecilia, Daisy buries her feelings and accepts the invitation. At the party, Daisy criticizes Tom for turning his distinguished publishing company into a pulp fiction factory, a change precipitated by the greedy Cecilia. Daisy then sees Cecilia embracing Owen, her would-be lover and Tom's lawyer, whom Cecilia has persuaded to engineer a lucrative merger deal for Tom's publishing house. Disgusted, Daisy abruptly leaves the party and tells Tom that she feels only pity for him. After shutting Tom out of her bedroom as punishment for refusing to accept his domineering father's offer to move into the family house in New York, Cecilia then plans an intimate dinner for two. Over champagne, Cecilia continues her manipulations until Tom finally sees through her. At last fed up, Tom signs over to Cecilia a generous check that his father had given him as a birthday gift and announces to Red, who has since been rehired, that he is returning to his "wife" in New York.