Walking with the Alligators

Walking with the Alligators
A Florida Alligator

June 16, 2013

Courage Defined

A 2-3 year old African Mountain Gorilla
Picture credit: Kurt Ackermann

The last time that I talked about a movie, it was a terrific, positive experience for many of you, and you responded to it with glowing comments.
The movie from last night however, will not be the causation for a repeat of that.
I had seen this movie many years ago, when it first came out and was nearly unable to sit through it.
My reaction to the film again last night, was exactly the same.
The movie was " Gorillas in the Mist. "
The person that I share my life with had never seen it and I had recently recorded it.
I warned him before it began, of the content, but he wanted to see it.
So, with complete trepidation on my part, we did.
This story is pretty accurate in many ways, there were a few errors, but they were minor.
When I look at films like this my Anthro education clicks in.
The film for those who may not have seen it, is about Dian Fossey's nearly lifetime of work with Africa's Mountain or Silverback Gorillas.
The scenery is exquisite and the script is tight, but it is the wonderful personal relationships detailed in the movie, including the National Geographic photographer and her personal African guide, that make the otherwise extremely cruel subject of this film, almost bearable to watch.
But unfortunately the film also addressed her uneasy at times, frequently at odds, rocky relationship with her mentor Louis Leakey.
My initial, " over the top, " admiration for Louis Leakey at the beginning of my studies in Anthropology, was abruptly reversed after reading his wife Mary's Autobiography, " Disclosing the Past, " which sheds some rather unflattering light on his " indiscretions. "
The film is a cold, hard look at humanity at its worst and the poachers who will do anything to make money by stealing and/or murdering critically endangered animals,  namely Africa's Mountain Gorillas.
Dian Fossey was one of the most dedicated scientists ever, in her particular field of study and she should be an example to all of us for having the courage to do what was right, what she believed in, irregardless of the consequences.
The cast, the script, (from her book) and cinematography makes this an unforgettable, heart breaking film that is difficult to see, but is a must be told story.
Dian's life was important, what she did for animals was important, she must never be forgotten.
This is not a film for children, or those with tender, delicate hearts.


  1. My son and I are reading a graphic novel about Leakey's three "angels"; Goodall, Fossey and Galdikas, by Jim Ottoviani. The book hints at Louis Leakey's indiscretions with female assistants but clears the three angels of any such involvement. I haven't read far enough yet to know how it treats Fossey's death. My (eight-year-old) son knows that Fossey is dead but not how and I wonder what I will have to explain if/when the subject comes up. Ah, not looking for advice, just chatting.

  2. If you have not read Mary's book, I highly recommend it.
    She was the true star of that family~
    As for the other, truly have no advice.
    Thank you for coming here and for your thoughts~
    Have you and your son been to my www.gator-woman.com site?
    Some good stuff there for his age~
    He might love the Bats page, and turn up the volume!