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The Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom(1932)

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The Animal Kingdom was the first film to be screened commercially in RKO's Roxy Theatre. According to Film Daily, The Animal Kingdom was an example of the kind of "adult fare" that production head David O. Selznick was pushing RKO to produce. Leslie Howard, William Gargan and Ilka Chase appeared in the Broadway production of Philip Barry's play and reprised their stage roles for this film. Gargan received $550 per week for his work, while Ann Harding earned $93,000 for the entire production. Karen Morley was announced as a cast member in Hollywood Reporter. Modern sources state that Selznick wanted Morley for the role of "Cecilia," but eventually cast Myrna Loy for her superior beauty. RKO borrowed Loy from M-G-M for the film. Modern sources also claim that Katharine Hepburn, who was fired from the original Broadway production, vied for the part as well. Before Harding was cast, RKO considered Irene Dunne for the role of "Daisy," according to Hollywood Reporter news items. According to a Film Daily pre-production news item, screenwriter Horace Jackson was to assist in the casting of the film. Film Daily news items claim that director Edward Griffith used a "new method" of filming for this production. To speed up filming, six small sets adjoining one another on one large set were built. This technique was designed to save ten days of shooting time. However, because Harding became ill, production was delayed by a week and actually took longer than usual. According to files in the MPAA/Collection at the AMPAS Library, RKO considered re-issuing Animal Kingdom in 1935 and 1937, but was informed by the PCA that they would not approve the film for censorship reasons. Modern sources state that in spite of initial good grosses in New York, the film lost RKO $110,000 in profits. In 1946, Peter Godfrey directed Dennis Morgan, Ann Sheridan and Alexis Smith in One More Tomorrow, Warner Bros.' version of Barry's play.