Animal Kingdom, The

2797. THE ANIMAL KINGDOM (1932-USA). With ANN HARDING, LESLIE HOWARD, MYRNA LOY, WILLIAM GARGAN, NEIL HAMILTON, ILKA CHASE, HENRY STEPHENSON. Produced by DAVID O. SELZNICK. Based on a play by PHILIP BARRY. A powerhouse cast adds luster to this faithful and superlative adaptation of the famous and controversial Philip Barry play. Leslie Howard isperfectly cast as Tom Collier, a wealthy gentleman publisher with a mistress. She is Daisy Sage (Ann Harding, in a fine performance), an artist who deeply loves Tom. Collier nonetheless marries Cecilia Henry (played by Myrna Loy in one of her most memorable early roles). However, Cecilia proves to be not quite the wife Collier had in mind. The result is an unconventional romantic triangle in which Tom will be destined to choose between the two women. Add to the mix another of Barry’s brilliantly conceived characters: Regan (well-played by William Gargan), a former boxer who is employed as Tom’s butler. Regan is no stereotypical servant, but rather a friendly type who mixes with Tom’s upper-class friends as if he is their equal. Of course, Barry’s point is that a man like Regan (and for that matter anyone from the lower classes) is neither better nor worse than any man born with a silver spoon between his teeth. This is a deliciously sophisticated and adult story that remains as thoughtful and compelling today as when it first opened in movie theaters. Recommended. 85 minutes Drama