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The Female Animal

The Female Animal(1958)

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Remind Me

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On location for a film, movie star Vanessa Windsor lurches drunkenly into a complex scene that takes place on a suspension bridge, and, after catching sight of her daughter Penny standing with actor Chris Farley, loses her footing and plunges into the water below. Months earlier, Vanessa is walking across a movie stage when a large camera swings off a crane inches from her head. Chris, then an extra in the film, leaps to her rescue by pushing her out of the way, cutting his arm in the process. He is brought to Vanessa's dressing room to be examined by the doctor, where the studio publicity director immediately creates a story about the how handsome young man saved her life. Chris is thrilled when Vanessa then invites him to escort her to a movie premiere the following night. After the film, she drives him to her Malibu beach home and sets a romantic mood with drinks, music and a fire. As soon as Chris kisses her, however, Vanessa's maid calls to inform her that Penny is ill, after which Chris drops Vanessa off at her city house. There, she discovers that Penny is not sick but drunk, and when she chastises the girl, Penny raves that her mother adopted her only for the publicity. After Vanessa warns her about acting like a tramp, Penny accuses her of rolling in the gutter, and Vanessa slaps her. The next day, Vanessa visits Chris and offers him the job of caretaker of her beach house, and although he is concerned about appearing as a kept man, he cannot resist the opportunity. Soon after, Chris is having a drink at Tom Maloney's bar when his friend, independent producer Hank Lopez, offers him the lead role in an exploitation film he is shooting in Mexico. Although Hank cannot guarantee him a salary, Chris promises to read the script. Also there is a drunken Penny, who Chris does not know is Vanessa's daughter, with her date Piggy, a ruffian who asks Tom to pour extra vodka into Penny's drink. AfterTom refuses, Piggy grabs Penny and pulls her outside to his car, and when Chris leaves the bar soon after, he finds Penny attempting to extract herself from Piggy's clutches. When Chris tries to separate the two, Piggy punches him, but Chris knocks him out easily and offers to drive Penny home. Although drunk, she remains lively and flirtatious, and asks him to help her clean up before she goes home. He brings her to the beach house, and, when she starts to pass out on the couch, dunks her under the shower. This both sobers and infuriates her, and although she quarrels with him, she kisses him before leaving. The next day, Vanessa sends Chris six new suits as a gift, but he returns them, offended. She takes him to a restaurant that night to apologize, but there he is further affronted by aging star Lily Frayne and her lover, the young, handsome and very bored Pepe. Lily crassly suggests to Chris that he might benefit more from her tutelage, after which he storms off, prompting Lily to warn Vanessa to keep him dependent on her. Later at the beach house, Chris packs to leave, but Vanessa insists that her love is sincere. Although he tells her he cannot respect himself in their relationship, she begs him to stay, and he capitulates. One day when he comes home, Penny is sunbathing in the yard of the beach house. Hank then visits, and after Chris tells him he cannot travel to Mexico, both Hank and Penny assume that he is too comfortable being a gigolo to work. After Hank's departure, Penny grows more sexually aggressive with Chris, but when he finally gives in and kisses her, she reveals that she has guessed that Vanessa is his "employer," and threatens to reveal that he has kissed her. He spanks her, but when she breaks into tears, describing how she was sent to school when her age threatened Vanessa's vanity, Chris holds her tenderly. Later, Vanessa visits when Chris is asleep, and finding lipstick on a glass, races home in tears. Penny finds her drinking in anguish, and holds her mother as Vanessa sobs about her love for Chris. The next morning, Chris tells Vanessa that he is leaving for Mexico, but she manipulates him into agreeing to marry her. When she drives to the beach to pick him up, however, she finds a note declaring that he could not go through with it. She drives to his bungalow, and when she promises him that she does not mind if he has affairs, he cannot bring himself to turn her down again. Days later, Chris visits her film set, where Penny confesses that she loves him but realizes that Vanessa also truly loves him. Lily sees the two whispering, and deducing their involvement, congratulates Chris on gaining two women through one marriage. Disgusted by her innuendo, Chris finds the strength to break up with Vanessa, declaring that he does not want to be a legalized gigolo. Penny then reveals their affair to her, devastating Vanessa. Hours later, she performs her scene on the bridge and falls into the water, but Chris dives in and rescues her. She recuperates at her home, and when Penny and Chris visit, she declares that she is ashamed of her selfishness and wants them to be happy together. Penny leaves but Chris stays behind to check on Vanessa, and although she insists that she has finally grown up, she turns her head to her pillow and cries after he departs.