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Born Free on dual Blu-ray and DVD

Sunday, 07 May 2017 23:00 Written by 

Born Free - out now on dual format Blu-ray and DVDBased on a true story and book by Joy Adamson, “Born Free” is the story of a married couple who raise an orphaned lion cub to adulthood and then attempt to prepare the tamed animal for release into the Kenyan wilderness. Virginia McKenna (“A Town Like Alice”) and Bill Travers (“Ring of Bright Water”) star as Joy and George Adamson, and the film won a couple of Oscars thanks to John Barry’s fantastic score and closing credits song sung by Matt Monro.

Treading a careful line between realism and sentimentality, the movie sucks you in with countless shots of cute and majestic animals that interact with the Adamsons like they are domestic cats or dogs. Anyone with a household pet will delight in seeing Elsa the lion cub play, destroy furniture, steal food and bond with her keepers. It is a relationship that cannot last because an adult lion cannot be controlled, and therein lies the film’s central theme.

Eureka’s new Blu-ray release is incredibly sharp and detailed, presenting the efforts of director James Hill (Worzel Gummidge, The Avengers) and cinematographer Kenneth Talbot (“Countess Dracula”, Doomwatch) in the best possible light. The majestic Kenyan landscape and wildlife within it really come to life.

Unlike some of the BBC’s recent nature documentaries, things are kept on a distinctly family-friendly level, even in the accompanying bonus content about the Born Free Foundation’s work, carrying out lion censuses and rescuing animals from inhumane conditions. The film is less ‘tooth and claw’, more ‘furry and frolicking’. This is not to say that emotions will not rise to the surface when the time to say goodbye arrives. McKenna depicts the bond between lion and human magnificently.

“Born Free” is an important film for animal conservation, but more than that it is a genuinely entertaining drama about the constant struggle between humans and the animals that inhabited the land before them. If you care about this issue I urge you to check it out and even if you do not, the movie stands tall in the annals of rewarding animal-related films. Forget Hollywood’s output of anthropomorphised, CGI-enhanced critters – this is the real deal.

Special features include:

  • Stunning High-Definition presentation
  • Uncompressed monaural soundtrack on the Blu-ray
  • Isolated score track
  • Audio Commentary with Film Historians Jon Burlingame, Julie Kirgo and Nick Redman
  • Spirit of Elsa – a featurette on the Born Free Foundation’s work in Kenya
  • Elsa the Lioness 60th Anniversary – a short featurette about Elsa, the lioness whose story is the basis for Born Free
  • Promotional featurette, generously provided by the Born Free Foundation
  • Original Theatrical Trailers

The featurettes promote the Born Free Foundation but are not preachy or overly pleading. They provide an interesting and moving insight into the work of the animal rights charity.

“Born Free” (1966) is out now on dual-format Blu-ray and DVD (two discs), courtesy of Eureka. The main feature has a running time of 95 minutes approx, carries a 'U' certificate and retails for £14.99, or less from BY CLICKING HERE.


Last modified on Sunday, 14 May 2017 19:20