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United Kingdom 1966
Directed by
James Hill
96 minutes
Rated G

2.5 stars

Born Free

This story, based on Joy Admanson’s book about she and her husband bringing up a lion cub in Kenya, was an enormous hit in its day. Although in one way it was a harbinger of a more ecologically-aware sensibility in film, supplanting the Great White Hunter view of Africa perpetuated previously, with its highly sentimental portrayal of the Adamsons it is also typical of a era (Sound of Music was released the previous year) which was about to end. Virginia McKenna plays Joy Adamson with a high-strung nobility straight out of She Carved Her Name With Pride whilst Bill Travers as her husband is a typically damned good sport puffing on his pipe in times of need. Reality was a far cry from the way it was portrayed here, we later found out, Adamson apparently being a good deal less saintly and her husband eventually being killed by a lion if I’m not mistaken. Ihe film won Oscars for Best Score and Best Song, the latter with Matt Monroe singing, going on to huge success. It was followed by a sequel Living Free (1972) with Susan Hampshire taking over Virginia McKenna’s role and Nigel Davenport doing the marital honours but the moment had passed and the success was not repeated.

DVD Extras: Both films available on a two-for-one disc with English captions for the hearing impaired. BH

Available from: Columbia TriStar




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