America's obsession with big cats is all the rage,thanks to the mass devouring under quarantine of Netflix's seven-part documentary series Tiger King.This wild saga about Oklahoma zookeeper Joe Exotic,his several husbands,and his violent feuding with animal rights groups has been jaw-droppingly sensational viewing.
Thanks to it,a once-forgotten 1981 film called Roar,sometimes dubbed“the most dangerous movie ever made”,has clawed everyone's attention back,with the distributor craftily re-releasing it to video-on-demand in the US.
Eleven years in the making and costing a then-exorbitant$17 million,Roar was an insane project from inception right through its legendarily disastrous production in southern California,which involved 71 lions,26 tigers,a tigon,nine black panthers,10 cougars,two jaguars,four leopards,two elephants,six black swans,four Canada geese,four cranes,two peacocks,seven flamingos and a marabou stork.
It took 34 years for the film to get a theatrical release in America.When it came out,in 2015,it was under the catchy tag-line:“No animals were harmed in the making of this film.70 members of the cast and crew were.”
The idea was cooked up when Roar's two leads,Tippi Hedren and her husband,Noel Marshall,were on safari in Mozambique,where Hedren,in her post-Hitchcock afterglow,had shot the adventure film Satan's Harvest in 1969.During their travels,they came across an abandoned plantation house in Gorongoza National Park that had been overrun by lions.
当《咆哮》的两位负责人蒂比·海德莉(Tippi Hedren)和她的丈夫诺埃尔·马歇尔(Noel Marshall)在莫桑比克的野生动物园里旅行观光时，这个想法就被提了出来，Hedren在后希区柯克时代的余辉中拍摄了冒险电影《撒旦的丰收》，这是他们在1969年拍摄的。在他们的旅途中，他们在哥伦哥萨国家公园（Gorongoza National Park）偶然发现了一座被狮子占领的废弃种植园。
“They were sitting in the windows,they were going in and out of the doors,they were sitting on the verandas,”remembers Hedren.“It was such a unique thing to see,and we thought,‘For a movie,let us use the great cats as our stars.'”
Marshall,buoyed by his financial success as a co-producer on The Exorcist,became obsessed with bringing Roar to fruition.They began to purchase young lions–illegally–from zoos and circuses in the USA,and brought them up–in their Los Angeles home.
Hedren's daughter Melanie Griffith–who would eventually co-star in Roar,be clawed across the face,and need plastic surgery–spent much of her adolescence cohabiting with this feline menagerie.In time,the family bought 40 acres of scrub in the Santa Clarita valley,and built a Portuguese-style two-storey ranch that would serve,not only as the compound for their growing zoo,but as the film's main set.
Marshall had written a flexible script about a naturalist(played by himself)studying wildlife on a reserve in Tanzania(Santa Clarita with added cottonwoods).It was full of weird slapstick routines and moments of human peril not unlike The Birds,particularly when Hedren and her daughter arrive at the unattended ranch.
And so the filming began,with a large crew including the Dutch cinematographer Jan de Bont,later to shoot Die Hard(1988)and direct Speed(1994)and Twister(1996).It quickly became clear that razzing up the lions to perform ferociously on camera was going to have some safety implications.
然后，拍摄就开始了，当时包括荷兰摄影师扬·德·邦特(Jan de Bont)在内的一大批摄制组随后拍摄了《虎胆龙威》（1988年），《生死时速》（1994年）和《龙卷风》（1996年）。拍摄前很快就明确了关于让凶猛的狮子出演电影会带来的一些安全隐患。
Marshall,who saw the animals as family,would fling himself into their midst and roll around in take after take.One bit into his hand so deeply it caused a 50ft arterial spray and he needed immediate hospital treatment.Determined to get the wound on film,he asked a crew member to squirt some fake blood on top.Later,he would be bitten through the leg and dragged off-camera,narrowly avoiding the need for amputation.
Hedren,when an elephant called Tembo tried to pick her up,slipped and broke her ankle on one of his tusks.And while de Bont was hiding in a camouflaged pit to get close-ups,a lioness detected movement and swiped down with her claws.This took the back of his scalp off,needing 220 stitches.
Even amid this carnage,the shoot limped on.They were 95 per cent done with it when the worst flooding in years–19in of rain over 24 hours–hit the valley and a dam burst upriver.The facilities were devastated and many animals were swept away,or escaped,and–giving the lie to the movie's tag-line–were shot by local police.
And still Marshall wouldn't give up the ghost.At staggering cost,he rebuilt the set and got the final footage.The MGM lab–where,under the lion logo,Roar was being processed–received over a million feet of film:double the amount processed for Gone with the Wind,and somewhere right up in the Apocalypse Now/Heaven's Gate ballpark.
For foreign release,Roar was variously packaged as a suspense thriller,“a ferocious comedy”or a family adventure.It did quite well in Germany and Japan.But Marshall rejected all presales in America as insufficiently lucrative,and so it simply sat on the shelf unwatched.Marshall died in 2010;Hedren,who is still alive,set up the Shambala Preserve,an 80-acre wildcat habitat,in 1983.Roar is a monument to its makers'folly,and a film which can't hold a candle to its own mad production story.