The Lion

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This article is about the novel. For the animal, see Lion. For the locomotive, see The Lion (locomotive). For other uses, see Lion (disambiguation).
Le Lion
Le Lion Cover.jpg
Le Lion cover
Author Joseph Kessel
Original title Le Lion
Translator Peter Green[1]
Cover artist Henri Galeron
Country France
Language French
Genre Novel
Publisher Gallimard-Jeunesse
Publication date
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 280 pp
ISBN 978-2-07-051344-4
OCLC 39011521

The Lion (French: Le Lion) is a 1958 novel by French author Joseph Kessel about a girl and her lion.

The novel was translated into English by Peter Green and was made into a movie starring William Holden in 1962.

Plot summary[edit]

Patricia has a rare gift to communicate with animals, and thinks she can control everything. She is popular with both animals and people. The story is narrated through a French man on a visit to Kenya. The plot of the story revolves around the friendship between Patricia and a lion called King, whom Patricia raised since he was a cub. Ouriounga, a teenage Maasai, who wishes to marry Patricia, decides to prove his worth by killing a lion to gain her respect, as is custom in his tribe. However the lion he chooses is King. Patricia's father shoots King in order to protect Ouriounga from certain death. With her idealistic view of the African savanna crushed, Patricia finally gives in to everyone's demands and leaves with the narrator to attend a boarding school in Nairobi.[2]

Film adaption[edit]

Main article: The Lion (film)

Irene and Louis Kamp adapted the novel for the screenplay of a 1962 movie of the same title starring William Holden, Trevor Howard, Capucine, and the young Pamela Franklin as Tina (Patricia of the novel).[3]

Directed by cinematographer Jack Cardiff and filmed on location in East Africa, it was made for a budget of $4,345,000 - a costly film for its time.[4] Film critic Leonard Maltin found the beautiful scenery to be "far better than the melodrama."[5]

It earned rentals in North America of $1.3 million.[6]


  1. ^ Monday, June 22, 1959 (1959-06-22). "Books: The Lass Who Loved a Lion, review in Time magazine, 22 June 1959". Retrieved 2012-09-07. 
  2. ^ THE LION by Joseph Kessel. Kirkus Reviews. Accessed April 29, 2012.
  3. ^ "The Lion (personal review)". They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To. Retrieved 5 November 2012. 
  4. ^ Solomon, Aubrey. Twentieth Century Fox: A Corporate and Financial History (The Scarecrow Filmmakers Series). Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, 1989. ISBN 978-0-8108-4244-1. p253
  5. ^ Leonard Maltin, Movie Guide (annual), Plume.
  6. ^ "Top Rental Features of 1963", Variety, 8 January 1964 p 71. Please note figures are rentals as opposed to total gross.