16 Apr

The Animal Kingdom (1932)



“The Animal Kingdom” (also known as The Woman in His House in the UK) is a 1932 American comedy-drama film directed by Edward H. Griffith based upon a comedy of manners of the same name by Philip Barry. The film starred Leslie Howard, Ann Harding, Myrna Loy, William Gargan, Ilka Chase, and Neil Hamilton. Howard, Gargan, and Chase also starred in the play when it opened on Broadway on 12 January 1932.

The film is based on a play, of the same name, set in 1930’s New York and Connecticut. Tom Collier, Leslie Howard, is a book publisher, who has been living in the city with his best friend, Daisy Sage, Ann Harding, without being married. His wealthy Father, Rufus Collier, Henry Stephenson, wants him to live a respectable life. While Daisy is away, with her work, Cecilia, Myrna Loy, convinces Tom to marry her. Although, their lawyer and friend, Owen, Neil Hamilton, is in love with her; he doesn’t have enough financial resources to maintain her interest. Cecilia tries to get Tom to “sell out”, without his realizing it. She talks him into publishing books that will make money, get rid of his old friends, including “Red”, his prize-fighter friend and butler. She wants Tom to sell his publishing company, live in the city, with his Father, as a “proper gentleman”, and take their place in society, which Tom has been fighting all his life; but, is all “Cee” cares about.

Daisy tries to stay away; but, she and Tom’s Bohemian friends can’t believe he’s happy. She loves him deeply, and wants to have children with him; but, cares most about his well-being. Tom complains that he’s losing his soul and integrity. Finally, when Cee offers Tom champagne, to toast selling his publishing company and moving in with his Father, Tom realizes that Cee’s bedroom suite reminds him of a brothel he used to go, as he says, “in vino veritas”. When Red tells Tom he is going back to the city, that he can’t stomach anymore, Tom agrees, saying, he’s “going back to his wife,” Daisy.
As he leaves, he put a little something on the mantle for Cee, just as he used to, with the girls, in the bordello.

Directed by Edward H. Griffith and George Cukor, produced by David O. Selznick, written by Philip Barry (play), Horace Jackson (screenplay), Edward H. Griffith, Adela Rogers St. Johns, starring Leslie Howard, Ann Harding and Myrna Loy.


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