Young Tina lives with her mother and stepfather on a wildlife reserve in Kenya. While her stepfather believes this is a wonderful environment for her to grow up in, her mother becomes ...
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Young Tina lives with her mother and stepfather on a wildlife reserve in Kenya. While her stepfather believes this is a wonderful environment for her to grow up in, her mother becomes increasingly concerned by her behaviour. These concerns are reinforced when it is revealed that her daughter's best friend in the whole world is a fully grown lion. Worried that her daughter may be turning into a savage, she sends for her former husband, Tina's biological father, in the hope that he can take her back to civilization (in this case rural Connecticut). But it seems as though Tina's mother wants something more than a civilized upbringing for her daughter. Written by
Kevin Steinhauer <K.Steinhauer@BoM.GOV.AU>
In the wrestling scene with the lion King (a.k.a. Zamba) is really licking Ralph Helfer's face. See more »
If Tina really did raise King from a cub she would be about 15 years old. See more »
[Saves Tina's life from lioness]
[King comes to Tina]
King! I knew you loved me. You saw King chose me. He's mine!
Stay away from her. You naughty thing.
King will see me home. He really loves me.
Now your beginning to see?
If I hadn't seen it... Well, I wouldn't have believed it. It's like witchcraft.
[Riding away on King]
Now do you understand King? I don't want you to have anything more to do with that nasty lioness again. Who does she think she is?
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There are two reasons for seeing The Lion. The first is for Pamela Franklin's performance as the twelve year old girl who has gone native as the British colonists used to say in every sense of the word. The second is because this gives today's audience an opportunity to view Africa as William Holden saw it and tried to preserve it.
The film may have been made so Holden had the excuse to stay at his famous Safari club which was a deluxe resort built in Kenya, partly financed by Holden. It was also a very large animal preserve and Bill Holden loved the place and took every opportunity to spend time there. Jack Cardiff who is the United Kingdom's most celebrated color cinematographer did some of his best work on The Lion as its director.
Oddly enough Holden casts himself as the outsider in the film. Years ago while he was making big money as a corporation attorney in the USA, his bored wife Capucine went on safari and fell in love with Africa and the safari guide Trevor Howard. She left Holden and married Howard taking her baby girl with her. Howard's raised her as his own and young Pamela Franklin is worrying Capucine now and she sends for Holden because of Franklin's behavior.
Pamela's companion is this full grown lion which she has raised since a cub and treats like a house pet. This isn't Clarence the Cross Eyed lion either, the male lion is fully functional in the wild. When Holden meets up with King as the lion is called, he gets a few anxious moments and appreciates Capucine's concern.
It's also possible Capucine is getting a little bored with life on a Kenyan game preserve as well, a fact Howard is becoming aware of. He does what he can to rattle Holden like playing tag at different times with an elephant and rhinoceros while the four cast members are in a jeep. The work is remarkably similar to the John Wayne/Howard Hawks classic Hatari which came out soon after.
The superb color cinematography of Africa plus Pamela Franklin's performance as a most disturbed child are the main reasons to see The Lion. It's not your usual kid's animal film, the child relates in an unhealthy way to The Lion and the adults have some very adult issues as well.
The Lion is your only real chance to see and appreciate the Africa that William Holden loved and tried to preserve, don't pass up an opportunity.
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