Thursday, December 27, 2018

"Born Free" in the 1960s was a heartthrobing big cat movie

With all the cat videos around showing these animals’ intelligence and social capacities, I thought I’d resurrect my memory of seeing “Born Free” (1966, Columbia Pictures / Open Road) in my college years (actually, grad school at KU in Lawrence Kansas, I think in the Granada Theater).
The film is directed by James Hill and Tom McGowan (uncredited) and based on Joy Adamson’s book. 

When George and Joy Adamson have to kill a man-eating lion and lioness in Kenya, they are left with orphaned cubs to raise.  One of them, Elsa, the youngest kitten, becomes very attached to them.  When they try to set her free, she keeps returning.

General experience of ranchers or people living in rural areas is that large cats remember people who have fed them, or return to property where they find water and food.  Bobcats remember people well but are too large to be in homes (and are generally illegal).  In South Africa, sometimes cheetahs are kept as "pets" on ranches but allowed to roam (the 2005 film "Duma").  They seem to return,  
The couple is played by Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers.

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