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Roar (1981) Poster

(1981)

Trivia

Melanie Griffith was mauled by a lion during filming, and required plastic surgery. Griffith reportedly received 50 stitches to her face. It was feared she would lose an eye, but she recovered and was not disfigured. On another occasion, a lion grabbed her hair and wouldn't let go. That shot made it into the film.
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With a budget of around US $17 million, this picture has been described as the most expensive home movie ever made.
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Cinematographer Jan de Bont was mauled by a lion on the set. Over 120 stitches were needed to sew his scalp back in place. After medical treatment, De Bont returned to the production to complete his Director Of Photography duties.
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Most of the lion attacks were real, and usually resulted in actual injury to the cast and crew.
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Noel Marshall was attacked by wild cats so many times during production that he eventually developed gangrene. In one incident, he was clawed by a cheetah while protecting the animals during a bushfire in 1979. All of the animals were evacuated. It took several years for him to recover from his injuries.
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Melanie Griffith once said of working with lions: "Lions are a really tough act to play with. Not because they are dangerous, but because they are so funny. They upstage you every time. If you are in a shot with a lion you just know everyone is looking at the cat instead of you."
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The production filming schedule for this movie was originally project estimated to require six months. It ended up taking four years to complete principal photography.
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Deputy Sheriffs had to shoot three lions during the flooding of the Marshall ranch. One of these lions was Robbie, the lion king of the picture. Robbie was a unique black-maned Rhodesian lion.
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This movie was financed by husband and wife Noel Marshall and Tippi Hedren. Reportedly, to finance this picture, Hedren and Marshall had to mortgage their assets including their ranch. They had to sell their Beverly Hills home, 120 acres of prime real estate in the San Fernando Valley and other assets in order complete this picture.
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Tippi Hedren fractured a leg during production when an elephant bucked her off its back when she was riding on top. Moreover, also during production, Hedren was bitten on the back of her head by a lioness called Sheri. Hedren received thirty-eight stitches to the open wound. The incident can be seen in the finished picture. Hedren is hanging to the branch of a tree when thirty-four lions run across her. The thirty-fifth lion bites at her head. Hedren's screams and the blood seen are real. Hedren once said of being bitten by a lion: "Let me tell you, it hurts when you're bitten by a lion. It's not only that you may have an open, gaping wound, plus shock, but the pressure of those enormous jaws is so strong that it hurts".
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In September 1979, the production was hit by a second natural disaster - a bushfire threatened the ranch where this movie was filming. All the animals were evacuated to safety. Noel Marshall was clawed by a cheetah when protecting the wildlife during this fire.
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In 1978, a flood from a dam break killed many lions in the film, washed away the set and destroyed nearly all of the movie, including sets, completed film footage and three key lions including Robbie, the movie's lion king. The picture was set back several years and the damaged done amounted to approximately US $4 million.
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This movie featured over 150 animals most of them being big cats.
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The movie is not considered a horror movie. However, the making of it has been called a horror because the production was plagued by bushfires, floods, animal attacks, crew resignations, rain, disease, and foreclosure.
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Director Noel Marshall's concept for this movie was to allow the big cats do pretty much do as they wanted thereby, like with an unobtrusive scientific technique methodology, find the most natural and truest expression of their personality and behavior.
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The unpredictable behavior of the big cats also contributed to the many delays in filming. Sometimes after spending a number of hours doing camera set-ups, the big cats did nothing whilst sometimes something worth filming would happen so quickly that the production was not ready to film it or the five cameras being used missed the moment.
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Assistant Director Doron Kauper was attacked and mauled by a lion during production filming of this picture. He had his throat bitten open, his jaw was bitten, and one of the lions attempted to rip an ear off. He was also injured in the head, chest, and thigh. Although it has been reported that the attack nearly proved fatal, the Santa Cruz Sentinel on July 9, 1978 printed a quote from a nurse saying his injuries were acute. Although, what this really means is that his injuries were sudden and traumatic. He was also reported as being conscious and in a fair condition.
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This movie's cinematographer Jan de Bont has said that this picture was the most intriguing, most demanding and most challenging of his career. He once said: "It was also pretty dangerous. Roar (1981) is the only picture I almost lost my head over . . . It was frustrating at times. But I was hooked. The Cats were fascinating. They never did the same thing twice. The technical problems were gigantic. When you shoot with five cameras simultaneously, each has to be ingeniously disguised so they don't appear in the shots. This was my first Hollywood film. And I'll never be the same again."
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Tippi Hedren once said of this movie: "This was probably one of the most dangerous films that Hollywood has ever seen. It's amazing no one was killed."
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Before filming, Noel Marshall's son John Marshall was the first victim; he was attacked by a lion who clamped its jaw on John's head. It took 25 minutes the lion to let go of John's head, and the result was 56 stitches.
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During the promotion of this picture, Tippi Hedren categorically stated that there would never be a 'Roar 2' sequel.
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Big cats seen in this movie include lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, cougars and jaguars.
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This movie took a period of eleven years to make from script conception to completed work. The script was first started to be written around 1969/1970. Actual first filming commenced in 1974. Production was setback for years when in 1978 much of the ranch-set was flooded. The movie was finally completed, and was released in 1981.
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After this movie was made and released, Tippi Hedren, through the Roar Foundation, continues to raise funds for the care and protection of the lions from this movie and their descendants at the Shambala Preserve, Acton, California.
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Jerry Marshall, whilst wearing tennis shoes, was bitten on the foot by a lion during production filming of this picture. He later jokingly said the lion had a "tennis shoe fetish."
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Noel Marshall and Tippi Hedren acquired a number of big cats from zoos, pet shops, circuses, private homes and animal control officers especially for the making of this movie. These included unwanted animals. The first cat they acquired was a three month old lion cub.
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Before filming began, Melanie Griffith dropped out of her family's film nervously telling her mother Tippi Hedren that she was afraid that the big cats would hurt her. Her role went to her childhood friend Patricia Nedd known as Patsy, who shot a few scenes. Later, Melanie changed her mind and joined the cast and her scenes needed to re-shot. She did get hurt on the film, and after reconstructive surgery, came back to finish the film.
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Outside of a few producer or executive producer duties, this is the only ever screen credit for Noel Marshall, former husband of Tippi Hedren. On this movie, he performed a number of duties, at least five in total, including actor, writer, director, production designer and producer.
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In 1978, a flood from a dam break killed many lions in the film, washed away the set and destroyed nearly all of the movie, including ranch property, personal possessions, film sets, editing equipment, completed film footage and three key lions including Robbie, the movie's lion king. The picture was set back several years and the damaged done amounted to approximately US $4.5 million.
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John Marshall was bitten by a lion during production filming of this picture and required fifty-six stitches.
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Togar, the main antagonist lion in the movie, had previously been owned by Anton LaVey, the founder of the Church of Satan. He kept Togar in his house, which was in a very residential neighborhood in San Francisco.
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This movie was publicized as being so dangerous, regular actors and stars could not be cast for this picture.
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First Hollywood movie for director-cinematographer Jan de Bont.
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Tippi Hedren has said of the big cats in this movie: "We don't blame the cats. At first we just didn't know enough about them to stay out of trouble. But it was always a case of love at first bite, and we learned fast."
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First major movie where Tippi Hedren stars with her daughter Melanie Griffith. Previously, Hedren had starred in The Harrad Experiment (1973) where Griffith had had a very minor uncredited bit part as a student. The mother and daughter would later star together again in Pacific Heights (1990).
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About a year after this movie was released into theaters in 1981, Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall separated and divorced.
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During filming of one scene, a lion bit through Noel Marshall's hand; that moment is in the film, and Marshall can be seen attempting to shake the blood off his hand.
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Tippi Hedren co-wrote the book 'Cats of Shambala' about the making of this movie. It was first published in 1985.
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Noel Marshall initially and ultimately partially financed this movie from revenue generated from such other pictures as The Harrad Experiment (1973) and The Exorcist (1973).
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This movie was somewhat of a family affair. Actor-writer-director-production designer Noel Marshall cast two of his three real-life sons, Jerry Marshall and John Marshall, to play his sons Jerry and John in this picture. His other son, Joel Marshall worked behind-the-scenes, and was art director. Jerry Marshall also acted as an editor whilst Mona Marshall acted as an assistant editor. Tippi Hedren, married to Noel Marshall, both acted as producers, whilst Hedren starred in this movie along with her daughter, Melanie Griffith.
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This movie has been described as a cross between The Birds (1963) and Born Free (1966).
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Tippi Hedren once said of Joey Marshall's involvement on this picture: "Joey is more interested in the birds. He likes to look at the lions, but he doesn't want to have anything to do with them. He got a nip on the wrist the first time he dealt with one."
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The crew on this movie nicknamed its star Tippi Hedren as the Pearl White of the 1980s. White was the star of the silent adventure movie The Perils of Pauline (1914), a movie that Hedren alluded to whilst publicizing this picture: "Making Roar (1981) was just like The Perils of Pauline (1914), a cliff-hanger every day. Now the cliff-hangers are not the physical kind, but the demanding problems of promotion, distribution and marketing associated with getting a major motion picture into the theaters and into public consciousness."
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Savage Harvest (1981), another movie featuring lions, a thriller where humans are under their attack, was also released in 1981. It was actually released about six months prior to Roar (1981). Moreover, the movie The White Lions (1981) was also a 1981 release.
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This movie was conceived over a decade before it was made when Tippi Hedren worked in Africa on films during the 1960s / 1970s such as Satan's Harvest (1970). She once said of its conception in Africa: "Exploring a game reserve, we came across a pride of lions that was living in an abandoned game warden's house. We thought it was wonderful, and my husband [Noel Marshall] wrote a script around the idea." Hedren says on the film's official site: "We were delighted with the way they adapted themselves to living there. And they were so funny we knew we had an idea for a picture." The site goes on to say that the idea for this movie "grew from a father and mother's passion for cats."
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Noel Marshall and Tippi Hedren acquired a number of big cats from zoos, circuses and animal control officers especially for the making of this movie.
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Tippi Hedren, a staunch supporter of animal rights, regrets having ever put the animals in the situation she and her husband put them through.
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This movie is arguably one of the most dangerous to film pictures ever made.
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A number of the cast in this movie have character names the same as their real first names. This includes all of the children of Tippi Hedren and Noel Marshall that star in this movie: Melanie Griffith, Jerry Marshall and John Marshall. Other actors playing characters with their first names included Frank Tom and Rick Glassey. Kyalo Mativo plays a character known by his real last name.
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Joey Marshall was the only Marshall family member who did not appear in this movie.
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The film's official site states that cinematographer Jan de Bont's Hollywood career began here (i.e. debut Hollywood movie). De Bont however also had another US movie out in 1981, that was Private Lessons (1981).
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Though filmed in anamorphic Panavision, much of the film was shot with an anamorphic adapter mounted behind standard spherical lenses. This was largely due to the fact that with so many animals around, coupled with the documentary-style coverage, there was nowhere to put the amount of lighting that would be needed for 1970s-era anamorphic zoom lenses.
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The script was originally titled "Lions, Lions and more Lions".
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Apparently, this movie was inspired by the box-office success of Born Free (1966).
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