Friday, November 11, 2011


At his surprise birthday party, rich bachelor Dennis Morgan meets two very different women: a sexy gold digger (Alexis Smith, pictured standing) and a photographer (Ann Sheridan, pictured seated) who works part-time for a small left-wing magazine. Morgan takes a liking to Sheridan and her publisher (Reginald Gardiner) and buys their struggling publication, to the dismay of his father who wants him to join the family conglomerate business. Morgan wants to marry Sheridan, but she's uncertain how she'd fit into his life and turns him down, so on the rebound, he hooks up with Smith, much to the chagrin of Morgan's butler (and longtime buddy) Jack Carson who sees through her. When they marry, Smith starts running Morgan's life, starting with getting rid of Carson. By the time Sheridan comes back into the picture, Smith has plunged into a backstabbing plan to get Morgan away from the magazine and back with his father. A tug-of-war ensues between the two women for Morgan's heart and soul.

This enjoyable drama, with romantic comedy touches, is a remake of the 30s film THE ANIMAL KINGDOM, based on a play by Philip Barry. The earlier pre-Code version is sexier, but this one fleshes out the backstory in an interesting way, and the cast is solid, not only the central core of Morgan, Sheridan, Smith and Carson, but also supporting players like Gardiner, Jane Wyman (as Sheridan's sidekick), Thurston Hall (Morgan's father) and John Loder (the family lawyer who encourages Smith to set her cap for Morgan in the first place). This may not stick with you for long, but it's fun while it lasts, especially when Smith's diabolical plan becomes clear. Favorite line, from Alexis Smith: "Stop being bitter and get me a drink!" [TCM]

No comments: