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The Male Animal (1942)

Approved  |   |  Comedy, Romance  |  4 April 1942 (USA)
6.9
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 777 users  
Reviews: 20 user | 9 critic

The trustees of Midwestern University have forced three teachers out of their jobs for being suspected communists. Trustee Ed Keller has also threatened mild mannered English Professor ... See full summary »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
...
Herbert Anderson ...
...
Ivan F. Simpson ...
Dean Frederick Damon (as Ivan Simpson)
Don DeFore ...
Jean Ames ...
Minna Phillips ...
Regina Wallace ...
Frank Mayo ...
Coach Sprague
William B. Davidson ...
Alumnus
Bobby Barnes ...
Nutsy Miller
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Storyline

The trustees of Midwestern University have forced three teachers out of their jobs for being suspected communists. Trustee Ed Keller has also threatened mild mannered English Professor Tommy Turner, because he plans to read a controversial piece of prose in class. Tommy is upset that his wife Ellen also suggested he not read the passage. Meanwhile, Ellen's old boyfriend, the football player Joe Ferguson, comes to visit for the homecoming weekend. He takes Ellen out dancing after the football rally, causing Tommy to worry that he will lose her to Joe. Written by Will Gilbert

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Romance

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Details

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Release Date:

4 April 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Assim é que Elas Gostam  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

"The Screen Guild Theater" broadcast a 30 minute radio adaptation of the movie on December 28, 1942 with Olivia de Havilland and Jack Carson reprising their film roles. See more »

Quotes

Prof. Tommy Turner: [Reading Vanzetti's writing sample, at 1:35:40] If it had not been for these things, I might have lived out my life talking at street corners to scorning men. I might have died, unmarked, unknown, a failure. Now we are not a failure. Never in our full life can we hope to do such work for tolerance, for justice, for man's understanding of man, as now we do by accident. Our words - our lives - our pains - nothing! The taking of our lives - lives of a good shoemaker and a poor fish peddler - all! ...
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Connections

Version of She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) See more »

Soundtracks

I Wanna Go Back
(uncredited)
Traditional
Sung by those on their way to the rally
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User Reviews

Not Very Funny But Still Relevant . . .
19 March 2004 | by (New York, N.Y.) – See all my reviews

'The Male Animal' is that beast which lives in all men and comes to the surface when he is threatened. This satire about American concepts of manliness was a hit on Broadway but it made a rather sluggish movie in this incarnation.

Henry Fonda is fine as the egghead professor and man of principle who proves that standing up for ones values and for freedom of speech is the manliest act of all. Olivia de Havilland is too matronly in appearance and manner as his wife. Far better is Jack Carson, perfectly cast as the brash ex-football 'hero' who turns out to be timid when the chips are down. As usual, this hearty character actor brought more to the part than the script required.

What strikes you while watching this in 2004 is that the film's message is as fresh and relevant as it was over 60 years ago. A world where athletes are lionized for little reason despite their many shortcomings as men, a world where athletics is given more respect than scholarship, a world where liberal, humanist, democratic values are attacked and constantly threatened with censure -- this is the world we are still living in. This revelation is sobering and suggests that the forces of conservatism have always been too strong in this country, and have been holding us back from all we should be. So while it's a pity this film isn't much, much better than it is, it's still worth a look for the little shocks of recognition it provides.


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