To Walk With Lions

A visually stunning, emotionally affecting sequel to BORN FREE that features a magnificent performance by Richard Harris as legendary naturalist George Adamson. The film begins some years after the events recounted in BORN FREE (which were based on Joy Adamson's non-fiction bestseller), as slacker Tony Fitzjohn (John Michie) arrives in a small East Kenyan...read more

Reviewed by Steve Simels
Rating:

A visually stunning, emotionally affecting sequel to BORN FREE that features a magnificent performance by Richard Harris as legendary naturalist George Adamson. The film begins some years after the events recounted in BORN FREE (which were based on Joy Adamson's non-fiction bestseller), as slacker Tony Fitzjohn (John Michie) arrives in a small East Kenyan town, where's supposed to join a safari as assistant guide. But he's a day late, and after getting thrown out of a bar by his prospective employer (Hugh Quarshie), Fitzjohn hitches a ride with Terence Adamson (Ian Bannen), who tells him there's job at Kora, his brother George's game preserve. Upon arrival, Fitzjohn recognizes George Adamson as "the guy from the film," but after almost getting killed by one of Adamson's lions he has second thoughts about the job. Nonetheless, with no prospects and nowhere really to go, Fitzjohn sticks around for a while and eventually both the prickly Adamson and the job begins to grow on him. Years pass and other characters drift in and out of the story, including Adamson's wife, Joy (Honor Blackman), who deserted him after he had an affair with the love of his life, Victoria Anrecelli (Geraldine Chaplin). Anthropology student Lucy Jackson (Kerry Fox), whom Fitzjohn gradually comes to love, also passes through. But by the mid-1980s, Adamson's lions are threatened both by poachers and by corrupt factions within the Kenyan government; with Adamson ailing and the odds against him, it falls to Fitzjohn to try to move the lions to a far larger, protected range in Nigeria before they're completely wiped out. Episodic as the story is, director Carl Schultz's film is enormously involving and takes full advantage of some extraordinary African locations. As for the lions themselves, they're frequently amazing — you get the feeling some of them could do Shakespeare. Why this film was scarcely released theatrically is a mystery.

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