This Sunday, January 9, PBS’s Nature will be airing “Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story" which re-visits the iconic film about Elsa the lioness and Joy and George Adamson, her human surrogate parents who carefully trained her for life in the wild.
The special incorporates George Adamson's original diary entries with rarely before seen home movies of the Adamsons frolicking with Elsa the lioness, and shows how Elsa’s story transformed the way many people perceived animals.
Virginia McKenna, the actress who played Joy Adamson in "Born Free," became a conservationist and animal advocate after the film.
"'Born Free' was one of the earliest representations on film of animals as individuals," stated McKenna on the Bornfreeusa.org website. "Behind its romanticized depiction of Elsa and the Adamsons is the compelling story of the daring and controversial life two lovers of wildlife chose to live. But it is also a celebration of how a simple act of kindness taught us all how to see animals in a new way."
"I became involved because I was in the film and knew the Adamsons," McKenna continued. "Also, some of my late husband's documentary footage is used — clips from 'The Lions are Free' and 'Christian the Lion.' I felt very privileged to be invited to be a part of this project. Our lives were completely changed by the experience of making 'Born Free.' In 1984, we started our animal welfare charity Zoo Check, renamed The Born Free Foundation in 1991. Our son Will is CEO of the Born Free Foundation and Born Free USA. The story does not end."
"Elsa's Legacy: The Born Free Story" will air at Sunday, January 9 at 8 p.m. ET on PBS—check your local listings.
Photo credit: video screen capture