- Acting of Lead Performers
- Acting of Supporting Cast
- Music Score
- Title Sequence
- Historical Importance
- Would You Recommend?
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A rather stylish piece but with most early talkies it a filmed play. Fine performances by the cast but limited in the way most early speaking films were
- kevin sellers
One of those creaky 30s drawing room dramas where all the American actors (except William Gargan) have vaguely English accents and the one English actor (Ol Ashley) does not attempt to sound even vaguely American.
A fine melodrama with an excellent cast
I did not know what to expect from this film. I knew it was pre-Code, so could have some themes/behavior that later censors would have forbidden. And boy! was I right. A couple living without benefit of marriage, and not being punished for it, would have been unthinkable if the Code had been in place. Myrna Loy is the domineering, manipulative, greedy woman I enjoyed hating, while Ann Harding was the pure soul who only loved Leslie Howard for himself. William Gargan, always an enjoyable character in a movie, plays Howard's butler and foil to Myrna.The film reminded me of "Possessed," with Joan Crawford being Clark Gable's mistress and enjoying a happy ending anyway. Both films featured fine acting and interesting situations.I truly love pre-Code films.
Exalting Leslie Howard
- Will Fox
Born April 3, 1893, Leslie Howard Steiner was one of two sons of Hungarian immigrant to England, a London stockbroker married in 1892. Debonair Englishman LH excelled, playing disillusioned intellectuals and gallant gentlemen on stages and screens in Britain and America for about 30 years. Painfully shy as a child traumatized by World War I, LH turned to the theater for therapy. Acclaimed in London, then in America on Broadway in the 1920s, he debuted Hollywood in "Outward Bound" (1930, intriguing allegory of "crossing over" on oceanliner to Heaven or else, 3.5-stars). "The Animal Kingdom" (1933, 3.5 stars) followed with publisher LH besotted by free-spirited Ann Harding, while married to manipulative Myrna Loy. Ditto depressing Bette Davis in "Of Human Bondage" (1933). He is best remembered for four, 4-stars roles: 1) swashbuckling hero in "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1934), 2) wandering wise writer meets dreamer Davis and escaping gangster Bogart in "Petrified Forrest" (1936), 3) witty egoist, Prof. Henry Higgins in "Pygmalion" (aka "My Fair Lady," 1938, 4 stars for director star LH), and 4) milquetoast Ashley Wilkes in "Gone With the Wind" (1939). Despite his success, Howard held Hollywood in contempt. "I haven't the slightest intentions of playing another weak, watery character. I've played enough ineffectual characters already." LH told "GWTW" producer David O. Sleznick before accepting his part. In 1940 LH returned to England to fight for freedom. Leslie Howard's airplane shot down by Nazis, June 1, 1943.
The Animal Kingdom (1932)
- James Higgins
Slow moving but well produced and it has a good cast. Ann Harding comes off best, Myrna Loy does well. A bit too talky and curiously claustrophobic. Fine art direction. Ilka Chase has a good bit.