Monday, January 10, 2011

Elsa's Legacy

Elsa & Joy AdamsonPBS is running a show this week (the exact day depends on where you live) called "Elsa's Legacy", Elsa being the lion made famous by "Born Free".

I can't go on without giving a too-brief critique of the show. I have serious doubts about whether whoever wrote the script of the show (there is no writer credit given) ever saw the movie or read the book. Over and over, "Born Free" is referred to as a "fairy tale" and a "myth". Why? The writer seems to be of the opinion that "Born Free" presented some phony view of Elsa and the whole process she and the Adamsons went through in teaching her how to live in the African bush. The examples used to illustrate this point were, in actuality, all dealt with in both book and movie. I don't understand the cluelessness of the narration. (And very laughable was the picture used to illustrate the dangers of wild lions when they encounter an intruder: two lions mating.) Christian playing soccerThey also mixed pictures of the lion Christian (ca. 1971) in with the recounting of the making of the movie "Born Free" (ca. 1965)--but I suppose one lion is interchangeable with any other to most people. This is all the more a shame since one of the points they hammer home is that "Born Free" was the first time anyone considered that animals were all individuals with unique personalities.

Naturally, it wasn't the first time anyone had that idea, but it may be that the movie "Born Free" brought that idea to more people than anything that came before. The show ends by asking the question, can we rekindle the passion for lions that the movie instilled in people?

Christian & Tony FitzjohnStrangely, given the show's title, they never really explore Elsa's legacy. And it is a great legacy. Not merely the Born Free Foundation but also the George Adamson Wild Animal Protection Trust (which was not mentioned). Many people are carrying on George Adamson's work in rehabilitating animals to a natural life, and not just lions. And there is the story of Christian the lion, which set the world on fire just a couple of years ago, and which would have turned out very, very differently had it not been for Elsa.

Elsa and the Adamsons have made a change in the world, and all for the better. The reaction to Christian's story shows that people can get passionate about lions, and "wild" animals, thus continuing the good that Elsa started.

ChristianPeople need more opportunities to see more animals as they actually are, and observe their natures for themselves. I believe the passions will then arise naturally.

Born Free BookBorn Free DVD

No comments:

Post a Comment