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BORN FREE - the film

Born Free, KenyaIn Kenya, British game warden George Adamson and his wife Joy raise a lioness, Elsa, as a pet, only to discover that they must retrain her to live in the wild in order to prevent the Government from placing her in a zoo.

Based on Joy's book, BORN FREE is a touching true story the whole family can experience together.

Academy Awards: Best Song ("Born Free"), Best Original Music


George Adamson served as technical advisor on the film.

Peter Whitehead served as animal supervisor.

Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers were married in real life as well as on screen and have a son Will Travers.

The success of "Born Free" produced a sequel, "Living Free" (1972). It starred Susan Hampshire, Nigel Davenport, and Geoffrey Keen, and was directed by Jack Couffer from a script by Millard Kaufman.

The story concerned the Adamson's effort to protect the cubs of Elsa the lioness.

NBC aired a television series based on the film from September 9, 1974, to December 12, 1974. "Born Free" starred Gary Collins and Diana Muldaur, and was filmed on location in East Africa.

Filmed on location in Kenya, East Africa. Shot in Technicolor and Panavision.

Post-production work was done at the Shepperton Studios in England.

"Born Free" was shown as a Royal Command Performance in London in early March, 1966.

The film was given a PG rating October 30, 1996.

Information compliments of Rottentomatoes.com

The Story

On February 1st, 1956, after having had to shoot a wild lioness that attacked him,George Adamson brought home 3 female cubs; he and his wife kept one whom they named "Elsa" and sent the others to a Dutch zoo. When Elsa was 3, they decided to teach her to live by herself in the wild. She gave birth to three cubs: Jespah, Gopa (male) and Little Elsa (female). Elsa died January 24, 1961.

Her wife, Joy Adamson, wrote the best-selling "Born Free" trilogy (1960-62) that told the story of her relationship with Elsa and her cubs (made into a movie in 1966). She was born Joy Friederike Victoria Gessner in Troppau [now Opava], Silesia on January 20th, 1910, and was murdered in Northern Kenya on January 3rd, 1980, by one of her collaborators over a question of money. Her cremated remains were scattered on the graves of Elsa and the cheetah "Pippa", whom they had raised after Elsa died.

Her husband, George Adamson, on whose diaries the book was based without recognition according to his friends, was born in Etawah, India, in 1906 (sorry, couldn't get the date), and was murdered August 20, 1989 at Kampi Ya Simba (camp of the lions) in Kora, by Somali poachers. ("Kora" was an isolated and almost uninhabited region of desert 402 kilometers North of Nairobi, the only place where the Kenyan government would allow them to keep their lions).

Although their relationship had been strained some time before Joy's death (they separated in 1977), they never abandoned their life in the wild and their work with the wild cats. I would like to quote the following commentary in this respect:

<<Even with the offers and opportunities that came with fame, Joy and George Adamson chose to remain in the wilds of Kenya. They continued to care for and study the animals that had become their life's work, living in this harsh and isolated environment amidst wild and untamed predatory cats. Their unfortunate deaths at the hands of humans, motivated by simple greed, makes for an ironic contrast.>> -- taken from: VayuLila.com - Vayu's Cave [Profile - Joy & George Adamson]



 


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