It's always a little hard for me to watch a animal-driven film from before the days of the American Humane Society's presence on set. 1966's Born Free, the true story of a British couple adopting a lioness on a Kenyan preserve has a couple of dubious moments, but for the most part, the animals seem well treated and the production even reintegrated the animals into the wild against the studio's wishes (I guess they didn't get it) after it wrapped. If you're interested in lion cubs running rampant in the house, and an incredibly tame lioness hanging out with actors like she's just a big house cat, you'll find what you're looking for, and some nice nature photography to boot. I often wondered just how they got the lion to do what she did. What Born Free lacks is richly drawn HUMAN characters. They have only one thing on their mind, and it's Elsa the Lion and her welfare. It's all very saccharine and idealized and hard to believe. These people can't even raise a "tut tut" when a big game hunter almost massacres their pet. I can't get the theme song out of my head though.

10 months ago

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