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Born Free / Living Free  [DVD] 
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Born Free tells the story of Joy Adamson and her husband, Kenyan game warden George Adamson, who raise Elsa, a lion cub. When Elsa approaches maturity, Joy determines she must re-educate Elsa to living in the wild so that the lioness can return to a free life.
In the sequel Living Free, the heartwarming story of three lion cubs struggling to survive in one of nature's most treacherous settings is brought to life.
Born Free is a bona fide family classic. The tale of how Kenya game warden George Adamson and his wife Joy (on whose book the film is based, with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers in the principal roles) adopted and raised three orphaned lion cubs, taking a particular shine to the one they call Elsa before helping her return to the wild, is familiar by now; so is John Barry's Oscar-winning title song. And while the movie has its flaws (it contains references to "Bwana George" and such that would be considered frightfully un-PC nowadays), the animal footage, especially that of the lions in their various stages of development, is extraordinary and timelessly entertaining.
The 1972 sequel doesn't quite measure up to its predecessor but, in an era when most "family entertainment" tends toward the insipid at best, Living Free is still a worthwhile venture. Susan Hampshire and Nigel Davenport take over the roles of Joy and George Adamson, the British couple who, while stationed in Kenya, adopted three orphaned lion cubs. Living Free finds the dying Elsa, their favourite of the original three and now a mother herself, returning to the Adamsons, who must figure out what to do with Elsa's three cubs, who develop an unfortunate appetite for domestic livestock. The film is on the slow side, but once again it's the animals who steal the show; the footage of the young lions interacting with other beasts, from wild giraffes and rhinos to a pet dog, is remarkable. --Sam Graham
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Although not as good as th original, the sequel Living Free makes great eye-candy, showing some adorable scenes with the cubs, and some stunning footage of wildlife (they actually caught a cheetah catching its prey).
I saw these films when I was about ten, and I am 13 now. They stay very loyal to the books, and well, if you haven't read, I suggest read them then watch the films. Highly recommended.
(How could you say these films are 'gruesome.' It's quite tame compared to what I've seen on so-called 'children's TV.' And besides, you can't sugarcoat everything for children. Next time, try explaining to your kids that this is a film about wild animals, not cute little fairies.)
Born Free begins when a park ranger has shot a pair of man-eating lions, orphaning a litter of three cubs. He brings them home to his wife and together they raise the cubs. Eventually, they grow old enough to be sent to a zoo and two of the cubs go, but the Adamsons love the third one, Elsa, so much that they keep her. As she grows into an adult it becomes clear that she must either be sent to a zoo, or set free. Yhe Adamsons decide to free her, but it will be a long, hard path...
People of all ages will enjoy the film. When I was younger I adored the parts where the cubs grow up - it'll bring tears of laughter to your eyes. The humour remains an element of the film. The film itself is remarkably well made, considering that they had to use real animals to play the parts of Elsa and other lions. You'll fall in love with the character of Elsa, and all her gentleness and her quirks. The ending is truly beautiful.
Living Free is the sequel to Elsa's story, but focuses this time on the three cubs she has. I won't give a plot blurb for fear of ruining part of the story. While not as good as Born Free in my eyes, the film is still well made and enjoyable for those already familiar with its predecessor.
I'd also like to defend the films after one reviewer said something along the lines of "don't watch this film, it has scenes of animals being killed, don't let your children see it!" This is grossly unfair - no animal is ever actually seen shot.Read more ›
This is a worthwhile purchase, if only to own Born Free, but the bonus with this edition is having both the original and the sequel together. And although Living Free doesn't quite meet the original's standards it still does make the whole story feel complete.
Plus even if you don't like the wonderful story, or beautiful scenery, almost everyone has some appreciation for the backing music and title track, which is worth the price on its own.
If you are building up a collection of classic films, or want see how movies really should be made then this is an essential purchase.
Its surprise success after a slow start led to director James Hill reluctantly being typecast on many of the slew of similar animal films that followed in its wake while his two stars started the Born Free foundation to release zoo animals into the wild. It also led to a very unfortunate sequel, though none of the key players apart from Carl Foreman would return.
Living Free is one of those obscure sequels to huge hits that most people don't even know exist. In this case it's not hard to see why: it's pretty awful. Susan Hampshire and Nigel Davenport make poor replacements for Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thank you for finally getting this DVD to me. I remember watching it as a child and still love it just as much!! Most awesome movie everPublished 2 months ago by Tessa McMullen