Director: Noel Marshall.
Starring.Tippi Hedren, Noel Marshall, Melanie Grifith, Zakes Mokae, Will Hitchins, Jerry Marshall. USA. 1h 42m.
I have so many issues with this “movie” and I can’t say it’s something I settle down with and watch with glee, I fully understand the allure in making something like this, anyone who lives with big cats will appreciate the love and danger of any situation, Tippi Hedren herself did live with many large cats in her home and for her this was a “natural” environment, but even she admitted in interviews after the movie that what started out as a great idea eventually became the worst decision of her life after watching the end result.
The most dangerous movie ever made.
The vaguest outline of the movie is that a woman, Madelaine (Hedren) travels to Africa with her children to meet a scientist Hank (Marshall) who lives with wild animals. There are scenes of him romping with his animals, picking up Madelaine and her children and bringing them back to his home but then the movie pretty much breaks down into an hour and a half of people running from large cats. Okay in fairness there is a bit more, and the message is clear, then couple Hedren and Marshall drive a narrative about animal poaching and the sanctity of ALL life on the planet, but it’s lost in the hard to watch deadly scene and scene of people running for their lives.
For me the only magic is in the filming and the aftermath. over 100 crew members were maimed, one guy was partially scalped but came back to finish the film, Melanie Griffith had part of her face ripped apart and nearly lost her sight, and this went on for years throughout filming. Some of the scenes are hard to watch, people trapped in cupboards, with lions trying to tear the furniture apart to get at the tasty morsels and by the end of the film you do kinda realise that it is beast vs food, everyone is a viable snack.
It lives up to its tag line of most dangerous film ever made, and I understand that these boundaries have to be challenged but the end result is sure a mindless film. Stalker (1979) is another example of a film which basically killed most of its cast and director, being filmed in a highly radioactive area but the end result is a haunting beautiful movie which offers a strange and unusual film experience but there’s substance here.
On top of all the maimed cast and crew, $17 million spent, the couple who dreamt up the idea then split up and realised what a mess they had made and what danger that had put their children through, but without regrets they moved onto bigger and better things and from what I know a life filled with their beloved big cats.
It really has to be seen to really appreciate what a terrifying experience the film is, at least a lot of the fear is real, but after the struggle of watching this mess i thought that Wild Beasts was a