The Male Animal (1942) - Rotten Tomatoes

The Male Animal1942

The Male Animal (1942)





Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

The Male Animal Photos

Movie Info

In this screen version of the James Thurber-Elliot Nugent Broadway play of the same name, Henry Fonda stars as bespectacled, bookish college professor Tommy Turner, who puts his career on the line by insisting upon standing up for his right to free speech. Determining to read a letter written by executed anarchistic Bartolomeo Vanzetti to his classroom,Tommy not only risks dismissal and castigation by the conservative college trustees, but seriously jeopardizes his marriage to his wife Ellen (Olivia DeHavilland), who wishes that Tommy would stop making waves and start lobbying for a raise. Coinciding with all this is the arrival of former college football star Joe Ferguson (Jack Carson), who many years earlier had been Tommy's rival for Ellen's affections. Eminently successful and aggressively athletic, Joe seems to be everything that Tommy isn't, and the little professor is worried that he's going to lose Ellen to Joe after all. An all-night drinking session with equally idealistic student Michael Barnes (Herbert Anderson) convinces Tommy to stick to his principles no matter what the cost-and miracle of miracles, this resolve makes him a hero in everyone's eyes, including sweet Ellen. The Male Animal was remade in 1952 as She's Working Her Way Through College, with the liberal ideology of the original film sacrificed in favor of McCarthy-era banalities.


Henry Fonda
as Tommy Turner
Olivia de Havilland
as Ellen Turner
Jack Carson
as Joe Ferguson
Joan Leslie
as Patricia Stanley
Eugene Pallette
as Ed Keller
Herbert Anderson
as Michael Barnes
Ivan Simpson
as Dr. Damon
Jean Ames
as "Hot Garters" Garner
Minna Phillips
as Mrs. Blanche Lamon
Regina Wallace
as Mrs. Myrtle Keller
Frank Mayo
as Coach Sprague
Bobby Barnes
as Nutsy Miller
Jane Randolph
as Secretary
Dave Willock
as Student
Howard Hickman
as Faculty Member
Don Phillips
as Student
Audrey Long
as Student
Marijo James
as Student
Ann Edmonds
as Student
Eddie Brian
as Student
Gig Young
as Student
Tod Andrews
as Student
George Meeker
as Reporter
Will Morgan
as Reporter
Walter Brooke
as Reporter
Hank Mann
as Reporter
Al Lloyd
as Reporter
Ed Graham
as Reporter
Cliff Saum
as Reporter
Glen Cavender
as Reporter
View All

Critic Reviews for The Male Animal

All Critics (3)

Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland have achieved two triumphal performances in this delightful movie. [Full Review in Spanish]

September 12, 2019 | Full Review…

The stagebound film has its amusing moments, solid performances and a still timely message about academic freedom.

March 27, 2009 | Rating: B | Full Review…

A surprisingly relevant movie on academic freedom in light of Ward Churchill and pro-Palestinian professors being victimized today.

August 31, 2008 | Full Review…

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