Emotional drama following owners who decide to visit Christian, the Lion, in the African wild one year after he was released in the wilderness.
Original Title: The Lion at World's End
Release Date: 20 October 1972 (USA)
Director: Bill Travers
Writer: James Hill, Bill Travers
Cast: Bill Travers, Virginia McKenna, George Adamson
When it comes to movies that do not get a lot of recognition as a moving, powerful, and spirited story, then 1971’s Christian the Lion must be leading the pack. Many people will not think that a documentary, about a lion, would be able to move people in such a dramatic way. However, this is exactly what Christian the Lion does for those that see it.
The film, also known as The Lion at World’s End, was written by screenwriters James Hill and Bill Travers. Another pair of authors, John Rendall and Anthony Bourke went on to write a companion book called ‘A Lion Called Christian’ the next year to further bring the great story of Christian, the star of the documentary film, into more people’s homes so they could be enlightened and see how wonderful the interaction between people and animals can be without the constant fear and misunderstanding.
Directed by Bill Travers, who previously directed another lion documentary called The Lions are Free, had a specific goal in mind when depicting the story of Christian being sent back to the wild. He wanted to show the almost human side of the Christian. Through his time in London, and then being shipped to the wilds of the African jungles, the entire process is seen before our eyes. The incredibly warm Christian is turned back into a wild beast that roams, hunting and living off the land.
George Adamson, a well respected lion activist, is featured quite prominently towards the ending of the movie. Both George and Bill Travers have had a respectful, if not very fond, friendship that continues not just in the way they interact with each other, but with the lions themselves.
Christian the Lion is more than just a documentary. For many people it is a life-changing experience that helps them experience a bond through the magic of film. As they watch Christian from the very opening scene, which is a little dramatized to pull the view into the screen, and then the real life clips of his “rehabilitation” they begin to fall in love with this lovable animal. Regal, majestic, and awe inspiring, Christian alone can be a means of cultivating a heart that beats ever so tenderly for the animal kingdom – and more specifically, the lion’s world; into the viewers as they are increasingly pulled into the actions, events, and story.
One of the main bits that many people take away from this movie is how incredibly intelligent, and loving, Christian is. It is almost as if he was “acting” a part with a script. However, the reality of the intelligence, the tenderness, and the outpouring of affection that Christian portrays is entirely his own. Family friendly, but truly oriented towards individuals who want more insight into the animal kingdom, how they interact, and how some people are protecting them, Christian the Lion is one of those truly must see type of films. Full of many values that can be taken from the screen to life, viewers will also appreciate Christian, lions, and how to interact with animals on a much higher level.