The Use Of Animals In The Making Of The Film "The Ghost And The Darkness" Thesis: It Is Ethically Acceptable To Use Trained Animals In Film Making, So Long As They Are Treated Well.

2028 words - 8 pages

In a 1939 film called Jesse James there is a scene in which a horse and rider jump off a cliff into a river. In the next shot, rider and horse are shown swimming in the river. If you were to look very closely you might notice that the horse in the river is not the same horse that jumped off the cliff. That's because that horse died in the fall. Out of this tragic event came the American Humane Association's film and tv unit. When you see the sentence "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" that means that the AHA gave their approval of the animal usage in the film. I agree with the AHA's philosophy on using and portraying animals in films. It's alright, as long as the animals are treated well. How the animals are portrayed is completely up to the film-makers. That's freedom of speech. In The Ghost and the Darkness lions are portrayed as ferocious man-eaters. Is it wrong to portray them that way? I don't believe so. It's evident to me that the animals used in this, and most North American productions are treated very well.First a brief summary of the film is necessary to place the contents of this essay in context. This is a true story, embellished only a little by Hollywood in order to bring in another big name to draw crowds. An Irish engineer named Colonel John Patterson (Val Kilmer) goes to build a bridge in Africa, at a place called Tsavo. The Colonel is a very smart man who always dreamed of going to Africa. On his first day there a lion attacks a worker and Patterson hunts and kills it. This wins the workers over to him and the project goes well for a few weeks until the night two male lions drag the strong African foreman from his tent and kill him. The Colonel resumes hunting, but the very next night the lions attack again, too soon to be from hunger. The men take specific precautions now against the lions, a thorn wall around their camp, bonfires and a curfew. One week later the lions attack in broad daylight, injuring the Colonel and killing many. The men name the lions the Ghost and the Darkness and believe they are evil, the Colonel has to convince them to stay on. With thirty dead and the bridge behind schedule the Colonel's boss decides to hire a professional hunter. The pro arrives with a group of Masi hunters and partakes in the Masi tradition of drinking a cow's blood to prepare for the hunt. Another slaughter occurs and the workers flee Tsavo despite anything the Colonel can say. While hunting them the pro and Colonel Patterson find the lions' lair. It's full of huge piles of bones, many of them human. The men realize now that these lions are hunting for sport. The pro kills one of the lions, Ghost, and then Darkness drags him from his tent in the middle of the night while the Colonel dreams of a lion killing his wife and son. When he discovers the pro is dead he gets mad and starts a grassfire to draw the Darkness out. In an exciting climactic scene Darkness chases the Colonel over the half completed bridge. The...

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