First Born (1988– )
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I first saw "First born" around 1996-97 on a late night satellite tv channel. It brings a flood of questions on the possibilities having to do with genetics. I have tried to find this compelling movie, to see it again.
I hope it will be shown again soon. Why not continue with a "First Born II".
I would thoroughly recommend this film as well worth viewing. As many of the previous have stated, the film was ahead of its time in dealing with some of the genetically engineering problems. The acting is excellent, with convincing work particularly by Charles Dance.
Whilst some people might have said that the basis of the story was far fetched (when it was originally filmed) it is now plain to see that this is not the case. "Dolly" the sheep and other hybrid experiments show that we have now reached the possibility of human hybrids.
I can still remember the thumping music for this show, a series that took a look at one man's meddling with nature. This was an entertaining show with a strong message to us all about the ghastly consequences of trying to 'play God.'
Charles Dance played Edward Forester who mixed the cells of a female gorilla with his own sperm to create a half male, half ape who was named Gor. The half male half ape grew up and everything seemed relatively happy until the shocking ending where Gor obtained the truth of his origins. He met his real mother-the female gorilla-and in one of the most powerful scenes ever, she beat him to death. This was powerful stuff-animals are said to have extraordinary senses and Gor's gorilla mother obviously killed her son to prevent any more suffering on his part. I still remember the scenes now. The real shocker was the ending though. Forester's daughter had committed incest and gave birth to Gor's child who was obviously also half ape. The final scene where Charles Dance as Forester realizes the ghastly consequences of his meddling with nature is pretty disturbing.
This show had a message relevant even today. Since this show there have been a lot of advances in genetics and we all know the story of Dolly the sheep. This series warned us that we are all mere mortals and that there are no vacancies for the position of God. It teaches us that we must be careful and not try to push the envelope and play God. A very powerful message indeed.
I don't think this has ever been released onto video or DVD. If you can find it, it is worth watching but also check out the novel this film is based on. The novel is Gorsaga by Maureen Duffy.
What man is capable of , what beasts are capable of and love. Science can create forms of life not found in nature. Nature may reject these lifeforms, man may reject them also. So they lie and hide things. But all things are capable of love and that is where the problems come in.
I hope the BBC decides to run it again or puts it out on DVD as I would love to get a copy or at least see it again. .
The book which it was based on is very good also and the movie positively adds to the story , which is unusual.
The ending is great! that sound.
The ape-boy born of the chimpanzee looked human and was raised by his human father and the father's wife. However, the "call of the wild" could be seen in his behavior and led to a highly moving ending. After all these years I can still see the final scene.
P.S. Let me add that I may have seen only the first episode, if it was a series. P.P.S. The source that was given by someone earlier no longer exists. If anyone can locate a source, please post it.
The female gorilla (Gor's mother) was called Mary. Probably the part I remember most was when Dr. Forester's colleague said there must have been a mix-up, because Gor could not have been born from a gorilla. Dr. Forester said: "It IS Mary's baby, but the sperm was human." This was even before I knew what "sperm" meant, but I guessed from the context that it meant the father. I must have been too young (not prejudiced enough, perhaps) to be shocked by the suggestion that a man had had sex with a gorilla.
It was a striking moment when a young Gor finally found himself able to articulate speech, having been bullied at school for perpetually making a "snah" kind of sound. He stood in the branches of a tree and shouted with pride: "I'm Gor!" The story also covered Gor as an adult, when he voluntarily chose to meet his own mother. Would she recognise him?
So if this could happen in real life, would we really send the human-gorilla hybrid to a school like any other child? This is just one question raised in an amazing insight into ethics in 1988, nearly 20 years before permission to use hybrid human-animal stem cells in experimentation was granted, and just one question that we now need to ask ourselves. Surely we have the answer after twenty years of thought, right?
Ahead of its time of course (as other people have already said), this is an important piece of film that should not be forgotten. See this if you get the chance, and marvel that it really was made in the 1980s. It was my first experience of an awesome performance by Charles Dance, but it certainly was not the last.