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 ... See full summary »
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>
Before the Producers met Ralph Helfer and Zamba they thought they were going to have to use a robot Lion for the movie because their were no African Lions' in Hollywood tame enough to trust with a small child. See more »
On-location shooting in East Africa lends credibility to this mostly predictable family saga about an American lawyer who travels to his ex-wife's wildlife sanctuary in Kenya to see his estranged pre-teen daughter; turns out the youngster has become an out-of-control little creature who runs with the animals, in particular a full-grown lion named King. The wife's new husband, a former safari hunter, is threatened by the male intruder, while the ex-hubby is distressed over his daughter's upbringing (she displays an advanced education, yet her see-sawing emotions--much like her mother's--reveal a troublesome undercurrent). Just a year after her mercurial performance in "The Innocents", young Pamela Franklin once again does forceful acting work; her maliciousness is very mature for a child, and her glassy-eyed intensity is impeccable and scary at the same time. Still, it's understandable why this girl never became an audience favorite: her brash independence and wizened superiority is rather a turn-off for most adults (perhaps kids, too). In the grown-up roles, William Holden stays commendably in a lower key while chilly marrieds Capucine and Trevor Howard do their best to make him as uncomfortable as possible. Mixture of family dynamics melodrama and African travelogue isn't enthralling entertainment, although the cinematography is good, as is Malcolm Arnold's buoyant score. ** from ****
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