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Tom Collier has had a great relationship with Daisy, but when he decides to marry, it is not Daisy whom he asks, it is Cecelia. After the marriage, Tom is bored with the social scene and the obligations of his life. He publishes books that will sell, not books that he wants to write. Even worse, he has his old friend working as a butler and Cecelia wants him fired. When Tom tries to get back together with Daisy to renew the feelings that he once felt, Daisy turns the tables on him and leaves to protect both of them. Written by
Tony Fontana <firstname.lastname@example.org>
That was a line from another Philip Barry play which had a bit more screen popularity than The Animal Kingdom. Philip Barry as a playwright was able to find an audience in two distinct eras of American history, the carefree Roaring Twenties and the poorer socially significant Thirties. He did with a clever mixture of social commentary while writing about the privileged classes enjoying their privileges.
The Animal Kingdom had a 183 performance run on Broadway the previous year and its star Leslie Howard was a movie name already on two continents. So Howard, Bill Gargan, and Ilka Chase repeat their Broadway roles here. Good thing for Howard, he got to do this screen version of one of his Broadway triumphs. Probably in a few more years Cary Grant might have gotten the call.
Howard is a rich young man rather bored with his life and living without benefit of clergy with bohemian artist Ann Harding. But family pressures force him to marry society girl Myrna Loy. Guess who in the end he winds up with or watch the film to find out.
A lot of similarities here with Holiday, a Barry play that got a more well known screen adaption. An overbearing parent, snobbish friends/ relatives and two women to choose from, and some down to earth friends for the hero.
The players do well here and a special note should be made of Bill Gargan who plays Howard's butler who is a washed up former prizefighter. The Animal Kingdom was Gargan's feature film debut and I wouldn't be surprised if Leslie Howard did the same service for him as he did for Humphrey Bogart in The Petrified Forest.
The Animal Kingdom despite good notices failed to find an audience in Herbert Hoover America. Howard's problems do seem trivial in the face of what a lot of people were dealing with. Still it's a good and faithful adaption of a good play.
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