An Elephant Called Slowly

An Elephant Called Slowly (1969)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: Virginia McKenna, Bill Travers
Extras: Theatrical Trailer

When reviewing an older film, sometimes it is necessary to project oneself back in time to fully appreciate the movie in question. A good case in point is ’An Elephant Called Slowly’. While this is a fictional film, it is basically about animals in Africa. The movie boast many beautiful and intriguing shots of wild animals in their natural habitat. While this is interesting, in the year 2000, it is in no way novel. As we now have the Animal Planet channel, countless nature specials on other networks, and even ’Zoboomafoo’, a nature show for kids on PBS. Animals are everywhere. So, to fully appreciate ’An Elephant Called Slowly’, one must imagine what life was like in 1969 when audiences weren’t constantly being bombarded by things like Jack Hanna and his ’Animal Adventures’.

’An Elephant Called Slowly’ is a sequel of sorts to the 1966 hit, ’Born Free.’ Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers star as an English couple who trek to Africa to meet game warden George Adamson (here playing himself.) Once in Africa, our group is introduced to a menagerie of animals, such as lions and hippos. Along the way, the meet Pole Pole (Swahili for ’Slowly’) a baby elephant who adopts McKenna and Travers and attempts to travel with them. The first twenty minutes of the film is rather slow, as the couple travels to Africa. But, the last seventy minutes of the film is very watchable, mostly because of the gorgeous cinematography and the astounding nature shots. Don’t expect to be blown away by the story, but ’An Elephant Called Slowly’ is good-natured fun for the whole family, and it’s educational as well. Although, it could’ve used a little Zoboomafoo!

’An Elephant Called Slowly’comes to DVD from Anchor Bay Entertainment. The film is presented in a full-frame format, and to put it simply, looks gorgeous. How does Anchor Bay take these obscure older films and make them look so good? The image is crystal clear and razor sharp, with hardly a speck of grain visible. This is quite a feat, consider that the bulk of the film takes place outside in the bright African sun. There are no obvious artifacting or compression problems. The only flaw with the transfer is that some of the scenes look a bit washed out, but this only happens a couple of times.

The audio on the DVD is a Dolby Digital Mono track. This is a servicable soundtrack, as all of the dialogue is clear and audible. Be warned, unless you’re Austin Powers, the sixties music in the film may get on your nerves. The lone extra on the DVD is the theatrical trailer for the film which is presented full-frame. This trailer runs for nearly three minutes and shows off some of the best shots in the film.