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Jungle Book (1942)

Approved | | Action, Adventure, Family | 3 April 1942 (USA)
A boy raised by wolves tries to adapt to human village life.

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(adaptation)
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Nominated for 4 Oscars. Another 1 win. See more awards »
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
...
...
The Pundit
...
Messua (as Rosemary De Camp)
Patricia O'Rourke ...
Mahala
...
John Mather ...
Rao
...
English Girl
...
Sikh
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Bagheera ...
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Storyline

Teenaged Mowgli, who was raised by wolves, appears in a village in India and is adopted by Messua. Mowgli learns human language and some human ways quickly, though keeping jungle ideas. Influential Merchant Buldeo is bigoted against 'beasts' including Mowgli; not so Buldeo's pretty daughter, whom Mowgli takes on a jungle tour where they find a treasure, setting the evil of human greed in motion. Written by Rod Crawford <puffinus@u.washington.edu>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

MOWGLI, HALF-BOY, HALF WOLF . . . armed only with a knife and the love of a girl, meets the challenge of Shere Khan, the Killer Tiger! See more »


Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

3 April 1942 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (restored)

Sound Mix:

(Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Color:

(Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Merian C. Cooper did considerable preproduction work but it was abandoned when he decided to re-enlist in the armed forces in June 1941. See more »

Goofs

Two scenes with the black panther were obviously shot with the panther behind a glass screen, likely as a safeguard to protect the actors. In both scenes, showing close-ups of the panther, debris is seen adhering to the glass. See more »

Quotes

Mowgli: I am of the jungle. Their lair is my lair. Their trail is my trail. Their fight is my fight.
See more »

Connections

Version of The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Memorable Star, Brilliant Art Design--And Incredibly Dire DVDs
4 August 2005 | by (Biloxi, Mississippi) – See all my reviews

Loosely based on the Rudyard Kipling "Mowgli" stories, the 1942 JUNGLE BOOK offered war-weary audiences brilliant Technicolor, elaborate sets, numerous action sequences, exotic animals, lost treasure, and a climatic firestorm--not to mention charismatic Indian-born star Sabu in a persistently and titillating half-naked state. It was easily one of the most popular films of the year, a two-hour respite from some of the darkest days of World War II, and its style was so admired it easily won two Academy Awards for best color cinematography and best art direction.

Seen today, however, JUNGLE BOOK is considerably less enchanting. Much of the film's original appeal arose from audience interest in seeing "jungle beasts" in full color--and while several of the animal sequences (particularly those relating to tiger Shere Khan) are classics of their kind, most modern audiences have seen many such scenes in many later films. Further undercutting the animal-interest is the film's use of several animal "dummies" that seemed realistic in 1942 but which are now very obvious in their artificiality.

What remains, however, are Sabu and the overall design of the film, both of which are quite remarkable. Sabu (1924-1963) was an extremely unlikely star, plucked from complete obscurity in India by the Korda brothers to star in the 1937 ELEPHANT BOY. Fluent in English, unexpectedly charismatic, and with a handsome face and impressive body that the Kordas displayed to great effect, Sabu's greatest success would come with the 1940 Korda brothers' production of THE THIEF OF BAGDAD, and he would remain a popular actor in exotic roles throughout World War II. Although not his best film, JUNGLE BOOK captures Sabu at the very height of his appeal--and that is saying a great deal indeed.

The design of the film is equally notable and provides a perfect backdrop to Sabu's charms. Filmed largely on soundstages where producer Alexander Korda, director Zoltan Korda, and art director Vincent Korda could exercise absolute control over every aspect of the film, JUNGLE BOOK is a study in the art of the Technicolor process and easily ranks among the finest color films of that decade. The sets, particularly the complex jungle and "lost city" scenes, are both remarkably fine and beautifully photographed, and the firestorm that climaxes the film retains considerable power.

Unfortunately, however, there doesn't really seem a single DVD edition of the film that presents the film in its full 1942 glory. JUNGLE BOOK is among a number of famous films that has fallen into public domain--and the result is a host of incredibly dire releases to the home market. I have seen, either in full or in part, at least a half-dozen DVD releases of the film, and in each instance the colors are extremely muddy and the picture very fuzzy, often to a point at which the movie is virtually unwatchable. And sadly, given the obscurity of the film in the wake of the popular Walt Disney animated feature, we are very unlikely to see anything better.

Gary F. Taylor, aka GFT, Amazon Reviewer


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