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My Aunt Gertrude did own a gorilla named Buddy, but she also owned another
named Massa, and they combined the lives of the 2 together.
First let me give you the true ending, Buddy was sold to the Ringling Bros circus, his name was changed to Gargantua, Massa was sold to the Philedelphia Zoo, and lived to be the oldest living Gorilla in captivity.
The story was hollywoodized to the extreme. If they had stuck to the facts, maybe it would have been better.
Gertrude also raised prize winning Saint Bernards, having over 100 on her estate in Brooklyn. She won the Westminster Dog show blue ribbon 5 times in a row. She helped to develop the "modern" pet foods. Since before then people just fed their pets scraps.
Also just one more minor note, my family is Jewish, yet in the movie, she wore a cross, and as far as I know, no-body in my family was paid or had given permission for the movie to come out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
As a big fan of gorilla movies in general, I anticipated that this one would be great - and as for the gorilla effects, They were quite good, however - that is the only thing I can write about this flop. The film claims to be based on a true story but in effect, it does not even come close to what actually happened to "Buddy" - who in real life, was the famous Gargantua, sold to Ringling Bros. by our supposed "heroic" Gertrude Lintz, known by many animal enthusiasts as a woman who hardly had her animals' welfare in the best interest. As far as Buddy being portrayed as becoming aggressive, this was total fiction and at no time did the gorilla, in real life, resort to such behavior. buddy did, in fact, escape his wooden crate (not a plush cage room as depicted in movie) during a storm, to seek shelter and comfort in the house, which frightened Gertrude Lintz into selling him. No, Buddy was not released into a gorilla family surrounded by lush trees in a zoological paradise - he was abandoned in a wooden crate, deep in the back of a garage for some time with only a single light bulb for comfort and then sold to the circus - where he actually lived a better life having peanuts thrown at him until he died (historically the oldest living gorilla on record, by the way) before a show in Miami. Notice also, in the film, how Buddy grows older but the chimpanzees never age. (The chimps, by the way, were not raised simultaneously with other animals, including Buddy, as portrayed in the film)
My Take: More proof that decent special effects and pretty sets can't
tell the story.
BUDDY is the film that BABE could have easily been, but while that harmless, little achievement took to a different direction (and succeeded as a great, little film), BUDDY takes off on the wrong track. The story elements are easily predictable, but that's rarely the worst part since the film, despite some imagination and style which went into the production design, the story drags on. It's dully paced and slow-moving, it's pretty hard to care for a somewhat interesting character (a domesticated ape, no less).
Rene Russo plays, and is actually fine as, eccentric wealthy animal lover Gertrude Lintz, who adopts all sorts of animals, chimpanzees mostly, and grooms them into civilized beings, dressing them up and teaches them to walk upright and eat on a table (with a spoon and fork, no less). Alongside her and her menagerie of trained (and well-dressed) apes is her husband (Robbie Coltrane), a helpful maid (Irma P. Hall) and her assistant (Alan Cumming). But when she decides to adopt a harmless orphaned gorilla, her confidence is slowly loosing as Buddy, as groomed and as attentive an animal he is, he's still an animal.
Russo and co., thankfully given some decent roles, are actually good, and the ape (cheesy as ape suits are today) is pretty endearing. But unlike BABE, the focus pitched on the animals are pretty tedious. This time, I think, giving the animals the gift of speech is a welcome asset. Director Caroline Thompson seemed to be distracted by the overall look of the film (the production design, from costumes to sets, are spontaneously elaborate) to strongly develop the script. The story lags a long in a drowsy, monotonous pace that could even put a few children to sleep.
What could have been an eagerly acceptable fantasy with touches of engaging tragedy is an elaborate and fancy bore. BUDDY isn't a failure, but it fails more than it succeeds. At best, it's a promise that never really got off the ground.
Rating: **1/2 out of 5.
After growing dogs and chimpanzees, the eccentric millionaire Gertrude
'Trudy' Lintz (Rene Russo) raises a sick baby gorilla in her mansion as
if it were a child, calling him "Buddy". When the animal grows, her
husband, Dr. Bill Lintz (Robbie Coltrane), advises her to send it to
its habitat or to a zoo. However, Trudy loves Buddy and believes she
can keep it at home. After an exposition in the Chicago World's Fair,
Buddy has a bad experience with the public and becomes violent, not
obeying Trudy's orders anymore. "Buddy" is a reasonable family
entertainment, more indicated for children. The story is not bad and
focuses mainly in the relationship between Trudy and Buddy, but does
not develop the characters, the place, the time. When and where the
story happens? Why Trudy does not have a baby and has such abnormal
behavior, preferring animals to children? How far this movie is based
on a true story? With regard to the film itself, the production is not
bad, but there is not "heart" in the direction and interpretation. This
type of story is usually very well developed by Disney studios. My vote
Title (Brazil): "Buddy"
I enjoyed the innocence of this film and how the characters had to deal with the reality of having a powerful animal in their midst. The gorilla looks just terrific, and the eyes were especially lifelike. It's even a little scary at times and should have children slightly frightened without going over the top. Rene Russo plays her role wonderfully feminine. Usually these type of Hollywood films that take place in the past feel the need to create a straw-man villain but the only adversary is the gorilla. It's an interesting look at how close some animals are to humans, how they feel the same emotions we do, and yet how we really can't treat them just like people because they aren't. Not many films venture into this territory and it's worth seeing if you want to contemplate the human-animal similarity.
I just watched Buddy for the first time on TV. I thought it was great!
I am a big animal lover and yes, I too treat them more like my children
Buddy is a movie that will delight animal lovers. I really felt that Rene Russo portrayed the bond between her and the gorilla. The loved each other.
When Buddy ran free at the fair, it was the frightened screams he was met with that frightened him. It was just cruel when people threw things at him. It very much saddened me when the inevitable happened. I cried and cried. I do not understand anyone who does not love this movie. The only thing I can think of, is that if you don't like this movie, you don't like animals.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Buddy (1997): Dir: Caroline Thompson / Cast: Rene Russo, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Cumming, Paul Reubens, Dane Cook: Poster ads feature Rene Russo sitting with her chin cupped in her hands surrounded by all sorts of animals including a gorilla named Buddy. To a parent it might seem harmless but it is about as suitable for children as Cujo. Supposedly based on a true story of a woman who could communicates with animals and the gorilla she accepts that will grow too big and out of control. At one point Buddy breaks loose and causes a panic. Then viewers are subject to an attack on this woman as well as the destruction of her home. An adult film packaged as kids entertainment that will hardly appeal to either. Also featured are two chimpanzees that toss a meat clever back and forth. Production is fine but directing by Caroline Thompson is lousy. Part of the problem here is tone. This is not Rene Russo's finest moment for she overacts to the max. It is unfortunate considering this was a grand opportunity to play a lead. In flat supporting roles are Robbie Coltrane as the doctor, and Alan Cumming as an animal keeper. Paul Reubens also makes an appearance although his playhouse is far more fun than this. Dane Cook makes an early appearance as a cop. The film has good intentions with its theme of animal rights but to o be part of this dread should be considered animal cruelty. Score: 3 / 10
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Based on an apparently true story, Rene Russo plays a woman who has very
unconventional ideas about wild animals and how they should be treated. She
ends up with a bunch of Chimps and assorted other animals living as children
in her home, along with her physician husband. Set around the time of the
Chicago World's Fair. This film focuses on the part of her story where she
rescues a sick baby gorilla and raises it to be a part of the family,
including dressing him as a person.
some SPOILERS follow - As the gorilla grows up it behaves for the most part as planned. It is shown carrying a tray to serve h'orderves to visitors, or helping the maid scrub floors in the kitchen. He develops a fondness for things red, a scarf, a rose, a velvet chair. Still, he sleeps in a sort of cage, a bedroom with locked iron bars. He is strong, be breaks out, wrecks the house, wreaks havoc at the World's Fair. Finally they are forced to find a more appropriate home for him, a protected natural habitat with other gorillas.
The gorilla was an actor in a gorilla suit. While the movie was entertaining in parts, especially the Chimps, and it has a moderately interesting message, overall it is not a particularly good movie. Free DVD loan from my local library.
Trudy Lintz (Rene Russo) was one very fortunate lady many years ago. She was the wife of a wealthy doctor and had lots of extracurricular money. Her passion was animals and she devoted herself to providing a sanctuary for the furry ones on her property grounds. Trudy also raised two chimps in her home to be more like children. They dressed in clothes and had many amenities. One day, she learns of an abandoned baby gorilla. Knowing nothing about the large apes, she relies on her husband's medical abilities and expert advice to save the gorilla's life. Once out of danger, Trudy decides she will raise the gorilla, also, as one of her children. This works well for years and Buddy, the gorilla, is truly a remarkably intelligent addition to her home. But, Buddy is also a gorilla and his strength and curiosity become quite enormous. Will Trudy be able to keep Buddy under control? For those who love animals, Buddy is a must-see movie. Based on a true story, Trudy and her ape develop a relationship that is unique in the annals of animal history and lore. Of course, Buddy is not a real gorilla but a mechanical one, in the film, but he is very close to seeming totally real. Russo gives a nice performance as a lady ahead of her time and the supporting players are also quite nice. The costumes are exemplary, as befitting the earlier era of the story, and the settings and production values outstanding. But, most importantly, animals are here in abundance, not only Buddy, but the adorable chimps, the ducks, the rabbits, and so forth. For those who want to watch a film and be transported to animal heaven, here on earth, this is a great movie choice. All animal lovers, and even those who just want to watch a great family film, will go "ape" over Buddy.
Buddy is an entertaining family film set in a time when "humanizing"
animals, and making them cute was an accepted way to get people to be
interested in them.
Based on a true story, Buddy shows the great love that the main characters have for animals and for each other, and that they will do anything for each other.
While not a perfect movie, the animated gorilla is quite lifelike most of the time and the mayhem that occurs within the home is usually amusing for children.
This film misses an opportunity to address the mistake of bringing wild animals into the home as pets, but does show the difficulties.
A recommended film which was the first for Jim Henson Productions.
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