Married couple George Adamson and Joy Adamson have longed lived in northern Kenya for George's work as the senior game warden of the region. One of George's primary responsibilities is to ... See full summary »
An American boy and girl, spending six months in Kenya with their scientist parents adopt a cheetah, only to realize that they must set it loose so that it can learn to hunt and be free. ... See full summary »
Married couple George Adamson and Joy Adamson have longed lived in northern Kenya for George's work as the senior game warden of the region. One of George's primary responsibilities is to deal with dangerous animals that may be chronically threatening to humans, livestock and/or crops. It is in this vein that George and his staff end up killing a man eating lion and its lioness, resulting in their three young female cubs being orphaned. Although difficult to begin, George and Joy are able to wean and take care of the three cubs, who they adopt as pets. But soon, they know they have to provide a more suitable environment for the cubs, namely sending them to Rotterdam Zoo... that is except for the smallest, who they have named Elsa and to who Joy in particular has become attached as the emotional fighter among the three. As Elsa grows into lioness maturity, George and Joy provide her with greater freedom away from their property, which may get her into trouble as a largely tame animal. ... Written by
The theme song was not heard on the original British release of the film, although it later won Best Song Oscar. See more »
[Joy cries sitting out on the hood of the truck as they ride in search of the young lioness]
Let's try this.
[2 shots ring out from his gun. George sees Elsa stumbling through the grass, approaching their vehicle]
all my nightmares had come true.
[Now Elsa rests in their tent as they argue over her]
...she can't make it. she can't think. she can't mix with her own kind... She can't do anything the wild animals do to survive. You've done too good a job on her. You've made her tame. It's ...
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Esteemed producer Carl Foreman's name is on this modestly enjoyable family film, and his trademark attention to storytelling and production values ensure that this is a considerable cut above other such G-rated fare from the 60's. Based on Joy Adamson's bestselling book, it tells the true story of how the wife of a game warden in Kenya raises Elsa, an orphaned lion cub, then has to face the difficult task of training the adult lioness to return to the wild.
Pacing is stolid, the photography of authentic African locales impressive (with the exception of a couple of poorly-integrated stock shots of attacking lions), and John Barry's Oscar-winning score is memorable if a bit overblown. The acting by real-life spouses Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers is excellent. Interaction of the lion cubs, and later, the star feline Elsa, with the human actors is often remarkable. Recommended for kids over 8 and their parents, who won't be bored.
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