Sunday, March 1, 2009

Lions and Lambs

Today being the first day of March, I'm reminded of the proverb about March "coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb". (Or is it the other way around?) If you want lions in the movies, you can't miss. Just watch any MGM movie.

Seriously, for lions in the movies that are real characters, there are still quite a few. The old fable of Androcles and the Lion has been made into a movie a bunch of times, most notably by Hollywood in 1952 with Victor Mature and Jean Simmons. Lions in Roman times are a suitable combat partner for gladiators, as in Cecil B. DeMille's outrageous The Sign of the Cross.

There are more contemporary lions in 1960s movies such as Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion, or the true story Born Free. And for a completely different kind of lion, you can't go wrong watching Paper Lion, about George Plimpton's tryout with the Detroit Lions football team.

Lambs don't seem to show up as much, simply because they're not as interesting as lions. The good people of the island of Foula herd sheep in Michael Powell's excellent The Edge of the World, but other than shepherds, I can't think of sheep showing up too often. I suppose I could mention Lambada, but that has nothing to do with sheep....

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