The Animal Kingdom


1h 25m 1932
The Animal Kingdom

Brief Synopsis

An intellectual publisher can't choose between his society wife and his free thinking former love.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 28, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Animal Kingdom by Philip Barry (New York, 12 Jan 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Synopsis

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.

Film Details

Genre
Comedy
Drama
Adaptation
Release Date
Dec 28, 1932
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Distribution Company
RKO Radio Pictures, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the play The Animal Kingdom by Philip Barry (New York, 12 Jan 1932).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 25m
Sound
Mono (RCA Photophone System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
9 reels

Articles

The Animal Kingdom


Adapted from the stage comedy by Philip Barry, one of Broadway's most sophisticated playwrights, RKO's The Animal Kingdom tells the story of a publisher (Leslie Howard) who marries a sexy but unsympathetic woman (Myrna Loy) yet wants to maintain his relationship with the woman he really loves (Ann Harding). The movie provided a crucial turning point in the career of Loy, who had been typecast in exotic roles; her most recent role at her home studio, MGM, had been Fah Lo See, the sadistic daughter of Boris Karloff in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932).

David O. Selznick, then head of production at RKO, was the first producer to see Loy's potential in roles requiring a cool comedy style. "Most casting successes are a matter of common sense," Selznick later wrote. "Myrna Loy had been playing Oriental sirens for years, which was always a joke with people who knew her." Selznick added that, when director Edward H. Griffith suggested that Loy be borrowed from MGM for The Animal Kingdom, "I leaped at the idea...It's strange that she was so long in reaching her natural field." Within a couple of years, of course, Loy would become MGM's queen of sophisticated comedy in The Thin Man and other films.

Still, before she was awarded the role in The Animal Kingdom, Loy had to make a test. Director Griffith talked Leslie Howard, the film's star, into acting opposite her. Loy recalls that her "wonderful Mexican maid, Carolla, who always pampered me, fixed scrambled eggs laced with garlic sausage before I left for the studio." The test went fine, although Loy noticed that Howard - who would later come to adore her - seemed a bit stand-offish. When she asked Griffith what Howard thought of her, the director replied, "He thought you were very good, but wondered if you always eat so much garlic."

Director: Edward H. Griffith
Producer: David O. Selznick
Screenplay: Horace Jackson, Adela Rogers St. Johns (uncredited), from play by Philip Barry
Cinematography: George J. Folsey
Editing: Daniel Mandell
Costume Design: Walter Plunkett (uncredited)
Cast: Ann Harding (Daisy Sage), Leslie Howard (Tom Collier), Myrna Loy (Cecilia Collier), William Gargan ("Red" Regan), Neil Hamilton (Owen), Ilka Chase (Grace).
BW-85m.

by Roger Fristoe
The Animal Kingdom

The Animal Kingdom

Adapted from the stage comedy by Philip Barry, one of Broadway's most sophisticated playwrights, RKO's The Animal Kingdom tells the story of a publisher (Leslie Howard) who marries a sexy but unsympathetic woman (Myrna Loy) yet wants to maintain his relationship with the woman he really loves (Ann Harding). The movie provided a crucial turning point in the career of Loy, who had been typecast in exotic roles; her most recent role at her home studio, MGM, had been Fah Lo See, the sadistic daughter of Boris Karloff in The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932). David O. Selznick, then head of production at RKO, was the first producer to see Loy's potential in roles requiring a cool comedy style. "Most casting successes are a matter of common sense," Selznick later wrote. "Myrna Loy had been playing Oriental sirens for years, which was always a joke with people who knew her." Selznick added that, when director Edward H. Griffith suggested that Loy be borrowed from MGM for The Animal Kingdom, "I leaped at the idea...It's strange that she was so long in reaching her natural field." Within a couple of years, of course, Loy would become MGM's queen of sophisticated comedy in The Thin Man and other films. Still, before she was awarded the role in The Animal Kingdom, Loy had to make a test. Director Griffith talked Leslie Howard, the film's star, into acting opposite her. Loy recalls that her "wonderful Mexican maid, Carolla, who always pampered me, fixed scrambled eggs laced with garlic sausage before I left for the studio." The test went fine, although Loy noticed that Howard - who would later come to adore her - seemed a bit stand-offish. When she asked Griffith what Howard thought of her, the director replied, "He thought you were very good, but wondered if you always eat so much garlic." Director: Edward H. Griffith Producer: David O. Selznick Screenplay: Horace Jackson, Adela Rogers St. Johns (uncredited), from play by Philip Barry Cinematography: George J. Folsey Editing: Daniel Mandell Costume Design: Walter Plunkett (uncredited) Cast: Ann Harding (Daisy Sage), Leslie Howard (Tom Collier), Myrna Loy (Cecilia Collier), William Gargan ("Red" Regan), Neil Hamilton (Owen), Ilka Chase (Grace). BW-85m. by Roger Fristoe

Quotes

Trivia

This was the first film to play at the spectacular Roxie Theatre in New York City.

'Howard, Leslie' , William Gargan, and Ilka Chase originated the roles they have in the movie when the play opened in New York on 12 January 1932.

Notes

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.