Picks and Pans Review: Free Spirit

updated 01/22/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/22/1979 AT 01:00 AM EST

There are only a few moments of drama in this British-made, imitation Disney tale about a hound named Merlin and an orphaned red fox named Tag, who are weaned together on an English estate. One such gripping moment occurs during a hunt, when dogs and riders set out after Tag, who leads them smack into an oncoming train. That enrages the estate's lead hunter, Eric Porter, who embarks on a vendetta, with Merlin—thinking it all a game—helping out. The rest of the cast—including Bill Travers as the good-guy woodsman and Rachel Roberts as Porter's wife—maintains a stiff upper lip. Though director-writer James Hill's noble lioness film, Born Free, worked, this time he outfoxed himself. (PG)

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