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The Male Animal (1942)

Passed | | Comedy, Romance | 4 April 1942 (USA)
2:30 | Trailer
It's Homecoming weekend at Midwestern University, the weekend which will culminate with the big game between Midwestern and Michigan. Homecoming marks the return for the first time in six ... See full summary »


Elliott Nugent


Julius J. Epstein (screen play), Philip G. Epstein (screen play) | 3 more credits »
2 wins. See more awards »





Complete credited cast:
Henry Fonda ... Tommy Turner
Olivia de Havilland ... Ellen Turner
Joan Leslie ... Patricia Stanley
Jack Carson ... Joe Ferguson
Eugene Pallette ... Ed Keller
Herbert Anderson ... Michael Barnes
Hattie McDaniel ... Cleota
Ivan F. Simpson ... Dean Frederick Damon (as Ivan Simpson)
Don DeFore ... Wally Myers
Jean Ames ... 'Hot Garters' Gardner
Minna Phillips Minna Phillips ... Mrs. Blanche Damon
Regina Wallace Regina Wallace ... Mrs. Myrtle Keller
Frank Mayo ... Coach Sprague
William B. Davidson ... Alumnus
Bobby Barnes Bobby Barnes ... Nutsy Miller


It's Homecoming weekend at Midwestern University, the weekend which will culminate with the big game between Midwestern and Michigan. Homecoming marks the return for the first time in six years of alumnus All-American Joe Ferguson, whose world is all about football and especially his place in it. Mild-mannered English Professor Tommy Turner is able to handle the thought of Joe's return to campus as the ex-boyfriend of Tommy's wife of six years, Ellen Turner née Stanley, who is temperamentally more like Joe than him. Tommy knows that Ellen loves him, the reason he doesn't mind the thought of Joe. The weekend starts off well enough for Tommy in that he believes he is being promoted from associate to full professor, which if be the case would be much earlier than he or Ellen had expected. However, it comes to his attention that Michael Barnes, an idealistic student of his who is also the editor of the campus' literary magazine, has written an editorial for the upcoming edition of the ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


SHE turned a lamb into a lion! See more »


Comedy | Romance


Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

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Did You Know?


This film's earliest documented telecast took place in Tucson Monday 29 October 1956 on KDWI (Channel 9); it first aired in Bloomington IN Thursday 10 January 1957 on WTTV (Channel 4), in Boise Friday 18 January 1957 on KBOI (Channel 2), in Chicago Saturday 26 January 1957 on WGN (Channel 9), in Los Angeles Sunday 3 February 1957 on KTLA (Channel 5), in Portland OR Saturday 8 February 1957 on KLOR (Channel 12), and in Phoenix Tuesday 5 March 1957 on KOOL (Channel 10). See more »


While the camera is zooming into Henry Fonda right before he is going to read the infamous letter, on the right of the screen, you can very plainly see the boom mike pole shadow edging across the screen. See more »


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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Version of BBC Play of the Month: The Male Animal (1968) See more »


The Old Grey Mare
Played during the opening credits and later sung with modified lyrics as a football fight song
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User Reviews

Not Very Funny But Still Relevant . . .
19 March 2004 | by tjonasgreenSee 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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Release Date:

4 April 1942 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Male Animal See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Warner Bros. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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