Friday High Five: Animals: Hitchcock, Lions and Hemingway’s Cats

This week’s selection of articles and links from around the internet is animal-themed. Just because!

How a Hitchcock heroine lived, filmed and slept with lions

A recent New York Times Q&A with Tippi Hedren, the star of The Birds revealed her love of big cats.

Tippi Hedren and her live-in lion, Neil.

Tippi Hedren and her live-in lion, Neil.

Tippi Hedren and family, including a teenage Melanie Griffith, at home with Neil.

Tippi Hedren and family, including a teenage Melanie Griffith, at home with Neil.

After being discovered, made a star and then sexually stalked by Alfred Hitchcock, Hedren decided to make Roar, a film about lions, and so bought a large piece of land in California and stocked it with big cats, which she and her family wrangled themselves. In the process, a lion scratched her daughter Melanie Griffiths, who needed plastic surgery, scalped a cinematographer and mauled Hedren’s husband.

Melanie having a snooze with the family pet.

Melanie having a snooze with the family pet.

The Awl, in a long article on Hedren and her lions, mused on the psychology of the idea that that a woman terrorised by a man who trapped her with killer birds then decided to surround herself with enormous killer cats …

Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith on the set of *Roar*.

Tippi Hedren and Melanie Griffith on the set of Roar.

Hedren is now an activist who argues against exotic animals being kept as pets. These days, she and her family like to reflect on the Roar days: ‘Thank God we made it. Thank God nobody was killed. We all say that.’

Hemingway’s cats

Did you know that Papa, the famously macho literary lion, was a cat lover? In fact, if he was a woman he’d be called a cat lady … in his Key West Florida home, where he lived with wife Pauline, he kept over 50 cats. That house is now the Hemingway Home and Museum Museum, and the cats (or, their descendants) remain, roaming the grounds as part of the Hemingway experience. ‘Every corner you take on this acre of land, you’ll find a couple of cats either snoozing or eating, or lapping from a cat fountain.’

The Cats at Key West's Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum

See Hemingway’s cats roaming his former home.

Delia Falconer on animals in Australian fiction

In a blast from the Wheeler Centre’s own past, here’s a terrific essay (from our Long View series) by one Delia Falconer, on animals in Australian fiction and what they represent. ‘An animal lover, I’m always on the alert for animal characters in novels – and alive, as a writer, to the tricks authors play with them,’ she says.

Raised by animals

Talk about an extraordinary topic for a memoir … Marina Chapman’s autobiography The GIrl With no Name: The Incredible True Story of Being Raised by Monkeys is more than a fairytale she tells her children at bedtime. Kidnapped aged five, she was then abandoned in the Colombian jungle and left for dead. She survived with the help of a tribe of capuchin monkeys, who taught her to catch birds and rabbits. When she rejoined the human world, she was captured by hunters, who sold her to a brothel, exchanging her for a parrot. Here are five more true tales of children raised by animals.

Helen Garner dog-sits

Earlier this year, Helen Garner wrote about dog-sitting her family’s red heeler while they were on holiday - and what happened when she swapped their established routine for a spontaneous, leash-free walk through her suburb’s streets. ‘One morning, after a night of rain, it struck me that our routine had become rigid. Was there nothing in a dog’s life but work?’

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