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The Animal Kingdom

(1932 b 86')

En: 6 Ed: 7

This story of a publisher torn between two women was adapted from the play by Philip Barry.

Rufus Collier (Henry Stephenson), who has given his son Tom every opportunity, complains that he runs away from them and is always late. He tells Cecelia (Myrna Loy) that Tom lived with Daisy for three years, and now she has returned. Cecelia informs him that she is going to marry Tom. Tom Collier (Leslie Howard) arrives two hours late and tells Cecelia that Daisy has been his best friend and that he owes her so much he wants to explain his situation to her. At her apartment Daisy (Ann Harding) tells Tom she has become a painter and wants a child, asking Tom to marry her. He tells her he is engaged but that he wants to remain friends with her. Daisy notes that they still belong to the animal kingdom. She says good-bye and is getting his things for him when he walks out the door.

Tom and Daisy have been living like hermits in the country. Daisy wants him to fire his alcoholic butler Regan; but Tom likes him too much to do so. However, Regan has found another job; so he goes, but he comes back later. Cecelia has a headache and decides not to attend the opening of Daisy's art exhibit. After Cecelia appears in a negligee, Tom sends a telegram instead of going. A few days later Tom visits Daisy, who criticizes him for publishing popular books. He advises her that she is painting and showing her work too fast. Daisy agrees to be friends and insists there be no secrecy; he enthusiastically arranges to meet her that afternoon and goes out. Daisy realizes she is in love with him and decides to go away.

Cecilia calls to invite Daisy to Tom's birthday party. Daisy lectures Tom on integrity in publishing, but he says the book will make money. Cecelia asks his lawyer Owen to influence Tom to accept the offer to buy his publishing company. Daisy and her friends decide to leave early, telling Tom she pities him. This time they both say good-bye. Daisy wants Tom and her to move into town with his father for the winter and to sell the company; after an argument she locks her bedroom door. Tom agrees to sell the publishing company and tells Cecelia he wants a child. He received a large check from his father but does not want it nor to live with him. Daisy argues with him, and to make her happy he agrees, finding her attractive. Finally Tom signs the check over to Cecelia and leaves with the butler, saying he is going back to his "wife," meaning Daisy.

Tom is torn between the artistic values of Daisy and her friends and the physical attractiveness and materialistic values of Cecelia and her friends. When he realizes Cecelia is like a high-priced prostitute to him, he leaves to go to his soul-mate Daisy.

Copyright © 1999 by Sanderson Beck

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