• joebev-23 October 2005
    This is a good family film!
    This is a good family film!

    I only want to say that the previous reviewer is not correct. This is fabulous, entertaining and well-done family film. I highly recommend it! Just seeing the real Africa and not a Hollywood set is reason enough to see this film. Also, please note that this film was made into a good TV series: "Daktari". Yes, Richard Hayden is the best thing in the movie! What a great comedic actor!

    Perhap some might not like the movie because it is simple, straight-forward and charming. It is a kids movie that adults will like too!

    I saw this in the theater when I was a child and watched the TV show too.

    One of my favorite shows as a kid.
  • SanDiego14 August 2000
    Excellent family adventure.
    Excellent family-oriented animal adventure film with plenty of human interaction and comedy. Marshall Thompson is Doctor "Daktari" Marsh Tracy, head of an animal study compound in Africa. Widowed, he takes care of his teenage daughter Paula played by cute and perky Cheryl Miller. Sort of an American Hayley Mills, Paula Tracy is a bit of tom-boy (she has a python for a pet) but is growing up into a woman (she tapes her stockings to her thighs with masking tape to hold them up). Betsy Drake (the former Mrs. Cary Grant) is Julie Harper, a sort of Jane Goodhall type character who studies apes in their natural habitat and is the romantic interest for Dr. Tracy. The great character actor who made a career of rolling his r's, Richard Haydn ("Five Days in a Balloon"), is excellent as the comic relief Rupert Rowbotham, Paula's tutor, who is afraid of all the animals (especially Mary Lou the python and Clarence, the lion who tend to snuggle up to him). Add some wrestling with wild cheetahs, a few dangerous gorilla poachers, the antics of Doris the chimpanzee, and of course Clarence, the cross-eyed lion and what you have is the most consistently entertaining of the African animal adventure films which include John Wayne's "Hatari" and Hugh O'Brien's "Africa--Texas Style!. Ivan Tors ("Flipper," "Sea Hunt," "Gentle Ben," "Zebra in the Kitchen") produced this film which later became the TV series "Daktari."
  • brackenhe27 July 2006
    Not a terribly bad film however
    I laughed at some of the corny setups and jokes and loved the animals. However, this movie made me rethink what passed for family movies back in the 60's (I was a kid then but I'd never seen this movie before today--I wasn't really into animals at 12 years old.) There were some very adult behavior that would never make it into a family film today--all the alcohol drinking and a few Hell's & Damn's thrown in not to mention the raid by troops on poachers. But if you don't have anything else to do and this movie is on, it's not a total waste of time. Betsy Drake is really pretty good in it and Richard Haydn made me laugh some. I've seen Marshall Thompson in better movies but maybe the reason he never was a huge star was because he really wasn't a good actor. I was glad they kept Cheryl Miller's scenes to a minimum.
  • familytoth6 April 2006
    Objective criticism
    I admit this movie was not a fantastic watch, but it was mildly amusing for the time and era of the movie. If you are going to critique I think you should carry on a subjective opinion based on not just whether the acting/directing/writing, etc. was good or not but consider what they had to work with at the time. To say that the movie was awful because they made it seem like you could tame a lion with chocolate cake is ridiculous. Lots of movies do not display things that we necessarily agree with, but it does not make them bad movies. I don't agree with cannibalism, but Silence of the Lambs was good, yet I don't see you protesting the implications that the bad guy was killing people to eat. I thought Clarence was a cute movie. No, it wasn't a greatly acted or directed one, but it was cute. One more tiny little suggestion, don't use movies to tell you how to live your life.
  • lemurlou14 September 2003
    Don't add this one to your family classics collection
    There are many wonderful animal-themed family movies out there, but this is not one of them. About the movie in general: The script is poor, the characters are stereotyped and undeveloped, and the acting is poor, except Richard Haydn (Mr. Rowbotham) who adds some comic relief to an otherwise uncomical family comedy. Cheryl Miller (as Paula) displays some of the worst acting I have ever seen, as she tries to play a character that appears to be about 10 years younger than she actually is. It is very obvious when the movie cuts to nature film footage, and when the gorillas are real and when they are someone in a costume, but considering the date of the movie, perhaps this was forgivable. Also, for a G-rated family film, there are a surprising number of swear words and there are several mildly violent scenes.

    About the way wildlife is portrayed in the movie: On the positive side, the characters are trying to help wildlife, and the message that poachers are bad is very clear. However, the way that wild animals are portrayed as pets is terrible. The ideas that wild lions can be tamed with chocolate cake, that animals can be captured and released without any worry about human imprinting, or that a chimpanzee makes a good companion to a gorilla field researcher are all incredulous. And that's just the beginning. Also, the "leopard" is actually a jaguar.
  • wes-connors17 November 2011
    In Africa, veterinarian Marshall Thompson (as Marsh Tracy) and teenage daughter Cheryl Miller (as Paula Tracy) adopt a cross-eyed lion who is unable to hunt well due to impaired visual perception. With help from a book, Ms. Miller names him "Clarence" (the Cross-Eyed Lion). Some of the local natives are afraid of Clarence, as is Miller's British tutor Richard Haydn (as Rupert Rowbotham), but Clarence remains as gentle as a lamb. He has double vision. While studying Gorillas, Mr. Thompson's girlfriend Betsy Drake (as Julie Harper) gets in trouble with nasty native poachers...

    Several involved with this feature were also featured behind, and in front of, the cameras on the "Flipper" (the dolphin) TV series. "Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion" doesn't hold much appeal or excitement as a film, today. However, the combination of setting and the fact it would be broadcast IN COLOR made it an easy sell as TV's "Daktari". At the time, colorful locations brought in viewers and sold color TV sets. Clarence and the series' other animals had an appeal, and the lion became a distinctly lovable character. Spunky young Miller was augmented by handsome young Yale Summers.

    **** Clarence the Cross-Eyed Lion (4/14/65) Andrew Marton ~ Marshall Thompson, Cheryl Miller, Betsy Drake, Richard Haydn
  • Neal996 January 2003
    Bad acting, terrible writing
    This amateurish effort gives a bad name to family films. The acting is bad - the performances run the gamut from wooden to irritating - and the writing is terrible. The scenes of gorillas are obviously stock footage, and the efforts to make the actors appear to interact with the gorillas are ludicrous. The animals are fairly likable, although used for comic effect a bit too often. By the way, despite his title status, Clarence has very little to do with the plot.
  • preppy-322 July 2004
    Just boring and silly
    Pretty bad family film about a research group in the jungle studying animal behavior. They then come across a cross-eyed lion and make an attempt to cure him. Then there's some subplot about bad guys doing something (I was dozing off). And there's truly dreadful "comic" relief by Richard Haydn. Add bad acting and a script that meanders all over the place. By the way Clarence has very little to do with this movie. I almost turned it off when someone actually started singing "Kumbiya"!

    This gets a three because Betsy Drake (in her last film--so far) was actually quite charming and there was some beautiful animal footage (although some was obviously stock footage). Little kids who like animals might go for this--it's pretty deadly for anyone else.
  • Wizard-811 December 2011
    Don't cross paths with this
    This was a movie from Ivan Tors Productions, the same company that brought the world family entertainment (often centered around animals) like "Flipper". Unlike "Flipper", "Clarence, The Cross-Eyed Lion" has more or less been forgotten, and it's easy to see why. It's a pretty cheap-looking movie, for one thing - it's obvious that the bulk of the movie was not shot in Africa and was instead filmed in southern California. There is some African footage, but it's painfully obvious that it's stock footage originally shot for some other production. It's also a very dull movie, and I can imagine children will be squirming in their seats. The oddest thing about the entire enterprise is that despite the title, Clarence the lion is almost an afterthought - much of the movie does not focus on him, but on the human characters in an endless series of vignettes that have little to no relation to each other. Even those who are cross-eyed will see that this project was misguided from the start.
  • a_chinn27 January 2018
    Standard Disney nature film comedy delivers standard Disney quality
    A family of great white hunters living in Africa have their village visited by the titular cross-eyed lion and wacky animal Disney hijinks ensue. It's nothing you haven't already seen dozens of times before, but as usual, Disney pretty consistently makes enjoyable entertainment that's hard to resist. This film was so popular at the time that it spun off into it's own TV series.
  • JohnHowardReid15 November 2016
    JHR, the cross-eyed film critic!
    Warning: Spoilers
    I can well believe that this little movie served as the basis for a TV series, as it has everything that TV audiences like, including lots of forced comedy involving shots of animals (including a funny chimp and a lion), caricatures of a British schoolteacher (played with such over- pompous skill by Richard H that he actually gets a few laughs) and a pukka colonel, plus two clean-cut do-gooder Yanks, a teenage daughter, subservient servants, and last but least, a no-good German villain. This yaketty-yak script is rounded out with minimal production values, including totally boring direction, humdrum photography, obvious stock footage and a bit of forced action with obvious, speeded-up camera- work.