Zoo in Budapest (1933)

82 or 85 mins | Drama, Romance | 28 April 1933

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HISTORY

This was Jesse L. Lasky's first production for Fox. According to news items, James Cruze was originally scheduled to direct this film, but because he was busy with Tars and Feathers , which was released as Sailor, Be Good! (see above), Lasky signed Rowland V. Lee. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Fox contracted with I. S. Horne of San Marino, CA for the rental of 311 animals and birds for the film. Var commented, "Seemingly what Lasky has tried to do is to make a picture which has in it something of the strange fascination of romance and atmosphere of Liliom (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.3093) and at the same time an element of Hollywood punch. He has gotten both things and they don't blend." According to DV , in Jul 1962, officials at Twentieth Century-Fox discussed the possibility of having an updated screenplay written, but no remake has been produced. According to modern sources, Loretta Young was borrowed from Warner Bros., and Tom Ricketts was in the ... More Less

This was Jesse L. Lasky's first production for Fox. According to news items, James Cruze was originally scheduled to direct this film, but because he was busy with Tars and Feathers , which was released as Sailor, Be Good! (see above), Lasky signed Rowland V. Lee. According to information in the Twentieth Century-Fox Records of the Legal Department at the UCLA Theater Arts Library, Fox contracted with I. S. Horne of San Marino, CA for the rental of 311 animals and birds for the film. Var commented, "Seemingly what Lasky has tried to do is to make a picture which has in it something of the strange fascination of romance and atmosphere of Liliom (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30 ; F2.3093) and at the same time an element of Hollywood punch. He has gotten both things and they don't blend." According to DV , in Jul 1962, officials at Twentieth Century-Fox discussed the possibility of having an updated screenplay written, but no remake has been produced. According to modern sources, Loretta Young was borrowed from Warner Bros., and Tom Ricketts was in the cast. More Less

BIBLIOGRAPHIC SOURCES
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
23-Jul-62
---
Film Daily
25 Nov 32
p. 7.
Film Daily
12 Apr 33
p. 8.
Hollywood Reporter
18 Nov 32
p. 1.
Hollywood Reporter
3 Apr 33
p. 3.
International Photographer
1 Feb 33
p. 21.
Motion Picture Daily
12 Apr 33
p. 7.
Motion Picture Herald
22 Apr 33
p. 35.
New York Times
28 Apr 33
p. 15.
Variety
2 May 33
p. 12.
DETAILS
Release Date:
28 April 1933
Production Date:
9 January--early February 1933
Copyright Claimant:
Fox Film Corp.
Copyright Date:
8 April 1933
Copyright Number:
LP3819
Physical Properties:
Sound
Western Electric System
Black and White
Duration(in mins):
82 or 85
Length(in feet):
8,500
Length(in reels):
9
Country:
United States
SYNOPSIS

One afternoon at the Budapest Zoo, Katrina, a governess, shows the animals to her cousins Freda and Paul Vandor; Count Adolf chides Countess Felicia about her disgust for the animals' smell; Rajah the elephant sprays Sultan the tiger with water; and Zeppo, a sick chimpanzee, is taken from his mate Maria to the hospital. When Dr. Grunbaum, the zoo's director-general, is confronted by an irate patron whose skunk fur was stolen the previous week, Grunbaum knows at once the identity of the culprit: Zani, the son of the late headkeeper, who has grown up in the zoo and hates the world outside and its people. Zani admits that he took the fur and says that he burned it because people should not kill animals and wear their fur. The kindhearted Grunbaum gives Zani another chance, to the disgust of Grunbaum's strict assistant, Garbosh. As Miss Murst, the leader of a group of orphan girls, lectures her charges about the animals, Eve, who has just turned eighteen and is about to be sent from the orphanage to a tannery to work for five years, is encouraged by her friend Rosita to escape. At the lion's cage, Zani pretends to speak to the lions, but Eve knows that his words to the lion are really dares for her to escape because he has been surreptitiously speaking to her like this for weeks. As the girls are crossing a bridge to leave, Eve gives a signal, and one of them dives into the water to create a diversion which allows Eve to hide. Unaware of Eve's escape, Zani overhears Countess Felicia ask Count Adolf to buy a fox she ... +


One afternoon at the Budapest Zoo, Katrina, a governess, shows the animals to her cousins Freda and Paul Vandor; Count Adolf chides Countess Felicia about her disgust for the animals' smell; Rajah the elephant sprays Sultan the tiger with water; and Zeppo, a sick chimpanzee, is taken from his mate Maria to the hospital. When Dr. Grunbaum, the zoo's director-general, is confronted by an irate patron whose skunk fur was stolen the previous week, Grunbaum knows at once the identity of the culprit: Zani, the son of the late headkeeper, who has grown up in the zoo and hates the world outside and its people. Zani admits that he took the fur and says that he burned it because people should not kill animals and wear their fur. The kindhearted Grunbaum gives Zani another chance, to the disgust of Grunbaum's strict assistant, Garbosh. As Miss Murst, the leader of a group of orphan girls, lectures her charges about the animals, Eve, who has just turned eighteen and is about to be sent from the orphanage to a tannery to work for five years, is encouraged by her friend Rosita to escape. At the lion's cage, Zani pretends to speak to the lions, but Eve knows that his words to the lion are really dares for her to escape because he has been surreptitiously speaking to her like this for weeks. As the girls are crossing a bridge to leave, Eve gives a signal, and one of them dives into the water to create a diversion which allows Eve to hide. Unaware of Eve's escape, Zani overhears Countess Felicia ask Count Adolf to buy a fox she sees so that she can have its fur. In anger, Zani steals the fur the countess is wearing. As the zoo closes, Paul, unhappy that he has not been able to ride the elephant, sneaks away from Katrina and hides. Miss Murst and Katrina both notify the zoo guards about their missing charges, as Countess Felicia and Count Adolf report the theft of the fur. Dr. Grunbaum sadly tells Garbosh to turn Zani over to the police. Learning that Eve is missing, Zani finds her on an island on the zoo grounds, and they wait together until nightfall. He then kisses her and leads her to an abandoned bear pit. Zani goes to get food and, seeing that Zeppo is not responding to treatment, advises the doctor to bring Maria, who then gives Zeppo mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Zani brings food and Mimi, a monkey, to Eve, but rebukes her when she says she has been thinking that they might marry. He then reassures her that he likes her, and as they embrace, they hear Paul approach in tears. While Mimi entertains Paul, Heinie, a brutish attendant whom Zani earlier fought, discovers them. Zani chases Heinie, but when he hears Garbosh say that he plans to search the bear pit, Zani, to protect Eve and Paul, gives himself up. Heinie returns to Eve and tries to kiss her, but Zani, hearing her scream, breaks free and fights Heinie. Zani and Eve are then caught, while Paul and Mimi wander into a building where Ferenc, a guard, had been earlier locked into a cage by Heinie. Ferenc instructs Paul to open his cage, but Paul mistakenly opens Sultan's cage instead. Paul hides in a little opening under the cage while the tiger jumps onto the back of Rajah and scratches him. Rajah breaks through a door and calls the other elephants, who knock over many cages. Lions, tigers, monkeys, elephants, bears and porcupines run rampant. Although a sympathetic guard lets Zani and Eve escape, when Zani hears Paul's cries, he rescues him and Mimi, with Rajah's help, but he is severely scratched by a leopard. Afterwards, Zani marries Eve, and as they plan to live together in a cottage on the estate of Paul's parents, taking care of their animals, Eve expresses her long-felt hope that now they can live like other people. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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