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 »
According to the legend of the Shangaan, white lions are the messengers of the gods, but it has been years since one has been seen in their remote African valley. When a white lion is ... 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 ... See full summary »
Fifty years ago there were close to half-a-million lions in Africa. Today there are around 20,000. To make matters worse, lions, unlike elephants, which are far more numerous, have ... See full summary »
LIVING FREE is the low budget sequel to the original African lion classic, BORN FREE. It says a lot that Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna didn't return for this follow-up, which casts Nigel Davenport and Susan Hampshire as the same characters before going on to tell the same story.
And boy, is this horrendous. All of the charm and originality of the first film is missing here, leaving LIVING FREE feeling like a cheap cash-in more than anything else. The early scenes feature some excruciating re-staging of scenes from the first movie but with the new actors, while the latter half tells a straightforward story in a long and protracted way.
The problem with this film lies with the actors, who just don't have the genuine love for the animals that the original cast members did. Particularly awful is Susan Hampshire, whose acting is embarrassingly awful: grating, overstated, sanctimonious when delivering her lines. Even worse, Millard Kaufman's screenplay presents Joy Adamson as a selfish, self-centred and quite obnoxious character who cares only for her own enjoyment, and I'm sure this is a disservice to the real-life Adamson.
The only decent scenes in this are the scenes of the lion cubs playing and interacting with the natural world, but even these moments are spoiled by Hampshire's plummy, say-the-obvious voice-overs. Although I like this 'animal' sub-genre and especially classics like RING OF BRIGHT WATER and BORN FREE, LIVING FREE is definitely worth skipping.
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