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This is probably the first movie I have seen. That is the reason why I
want to write about it.
Every time I watch this movie I remember when I was just a child. I loved
this movie and I still do.
The Jungle Book is one of the first color movies ever made and you can see that... but that doesn`t matter because the level of entertainment is so high. Actors in this movie are great but so is the staging.. and matter a fact so is everything else. It is not hard to believe that this picture got a few oscar nomination.
After all, excellent movie and lot of nostalgia... at least for me.
Reared in the Indian Jungle, a young man must learn to live amongst the
most rapacious of Nature's creatures, Man.
Sir Alexander Korda's splendid film uses Kipling's book as a launching pad to tell Mowgli's story after he left his animal friends. It is told with great verve and excitement and its evocative views of the great jungle and the Lost City, as locations for Mowgli's further adventures, revealed in vibrant Technicolor, are an indication of the excellent production values lavished to make the story come alive.
As teen-aged Mowgli, Indian actor Sabu couldn't be more perfect. Whether as the Wild Boy who first enters the village, or, later, as the completely competent young man who ferrets out the secret of the Lost City's treasure, fights the tiger Shere Khan and communes with deadly snakes, elephants & wolves, he is completely believable. Kipling would have been proud.
Rosemary DeCamp is a quiet delight as Mowgli's gentle mother, her scenes with Sabu are most effective and tender. John Qualen, Frank Puglia, and especially Joseph Calleia, all score as the members of the man-village who want to see Mowgli destroyed. Playing his character as an old man, Calleia also bookends the film as its storyteller, using his somber demeanor to add to the mystery of the plot. That's Silent star Noble Johnson as the Sikh whose female companion encourages the telling of the tale.
Born Sabu Dastagir in 1924, Sabu was employed in the Maharaja of Mysore's stables when he was discovered by Korda's company and set before the cameras. His first four films (ELEPHANT BOY-1937, THE DRUM-1938, THE THIEF OF BAGDAD-1940, JUNGLE BOOK-1942) were his best and he found himself working out of Hollywood when they were completed. After distinguished military service in World War II he resumed his film career, but he became endlessly confined for years playing ethnic roles in undistinguished minor films, BLACK NARCISSUS (1947) being the one great exception. His final movie, Walt Disney's A TIGER WALKS (1964) was an improvement, but it was too late. Sabu had died of a heart attack in late 1963, only 39 years of age.
A young child wanders off into the woods and is lost. With the
dangerous, bloodthirsty tiger Shere Khan lurking about, the little boy
is adopted by wolves and raised in the jungle. Later embroiled in a
jungle feud with Shere Khan, the partly grown boy is driven out of the
jungle back into the world of man where he seeks a tooth (a knife) with
which he can once and for all strike down his arch nemesis. However the
world of man offers many unseen dangers and man isn't inclined to
follow those laws of the jungle to which the animals abide.
Personally I feel this is the best adaptation of the "Jungle Book" Rudyard Kipling story put to film. I prefer this over the Disney versions because it never fully loses sight of its overall message, doesn't fail to show the key differences between man and beast, and isn't bogged down by comedy or musical distraction. It's also fun and adventurous, boasts real animals in the familiar roles who give surprisingly believable performances. Lead Sabu as Mowgli is a natural to the role while character actor Joseph Calleia does quite well as lead villain Buldeo. Calleia made quite a career out of playing such roles. By far the silliest moments here have got to be the result of the talking snakes with the human voices. They are the only critters in the film to talk in such a fashion. While the information they relay is vital to the plot of the movie, I'm not sure we really needed to actually hear it spoken aloud. Also the romantic subplot doesn't quite fit in the story either and that it's introduced and never resolved is somewhat disappointing. Still at the end of the day, you want jungle adventure excitement done right, you won't go wrong with 1942's Jungle Book.
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
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
When the Second World War began three brilliant Hungarians Jews who had made a name for themselves in London -the impresario/director Alexander and his two brothers Zoltan, also a director, and Vincent, artist and art director-- escaped to Hollywood and started making movies. After the international success of their superb London Film Productions, among them "The Thief of Bagdad" (1940), "Rembrandt" (1936) and "The Private Life of Henry VIII" (1933), the three began all over again in distant Hollywood. With its Indian themes and actors, few viewers today have recognized that most of this production was shot in 1941-1942 on Hollywood sound stages, primarily the low-budget Hollywood Center Studios on No. Las Palmas, not far from the more luxurious Paramount Studios. Producer Korda with his brother Zoltan as director were brave enough to mix a native-born Indian actor, Sabu ("Elephant Boy") with two Hollywood star character actors, Spanish-born Joseph Calleia ("Touch of Evil") and Sicilian-born Franco Puglia, both heavily made up. Eternally loyal as the Kordas were to their native countrymen, they never forgot to hire their fellow expatriates: the astonishing music is by Budapest-born Milklos Rozsa ("Spellbound") and orchestrated by Eugene Zador; the second-unit work, the animal sequences and those probably shot on location in India, were directed by Andre de Toth, born in Mako in old Austria-Hungary. American born Bill Hornbeck who edited the Korda's "Scarlet Pimpernel" in London did the cutting and Lee Garmes ("Night of the Hunter') and the Technicolor pioneer, W. Howard Greene, did the cinematography. The excellent sound effects are not credited.
This is a rather amazing production for 1942. The lavish sets, costumes
and full-color are quite amazing for the time--especially considering
it was made during one of the darkest years of WWII. So, instead of the
typical black & white propaganda film, here we have pure escapism.
Now if you are looking for the Disney version of the Kipling story, you'll no doubt be disappointed. Aside from names and a few plot elements, the story really bears little in common with the 1967 film. Unlike the cartoon, this film does address how Mowgli becomes stranded in the jungle as an infant plus about 80% of the film consists of Mowgli's life AFTER returning to the village where he was born. And, also unlike the Disney film, humans are pretty greedy and awful in this film. In fact, instead of the tiger, Shere Khan, trying to kill Mowgli, the plot mostly has to do with a jungle treasure and the terrible lengths greed drives men to have it. By the end of the film, Mowgli is sick of the humans and their wicked ways--and leaves to live in his beloved jungle once again--quite the opposite of the Disney story.
Aside from very nice production values, there is a lot to admire about the film. The story is rather timeless and has some depth to it due to its examination of human nature. The only serious negative is the same negative you'd have with all adventure films of this era--no one in the film is actually Indian other than Sabu! Remember, this was the time of Charlie Chan (played originally by a Swede) and actors such as Errol Flynn and Katherine Hepburn playing Asians!! Here, such reliable Hollywood actors as John Qualen and Joseph Calleia play Indians! It's all rather laughable, though perhaps it was tough finding Indian actors at the time (especially with India in the thick of things in the war). Still, it's all very forgivable considering that it's otherwise a quality production from start to finish.
When the Blitz began taking its toll on London, producer Alexander
Korda picked up stakes and headed for Hollywood, with his two brothers,
Zoltan and Vincent, in tow. There, they finished "Thief of Bagdad"
(1940) and then began this elaborate Technicolor version of Kipling's
Mowgli stories, originally titled "The Jungle Books," (published in
1894 and 1895). The film focuses on three of the volume's stories -
"Mowgli's Brothers," "Tiger, Tiger" and "The King's Ankus." It's a
fairly interesting screen translation of Kipling's attempt to provide
young readers with the stories he was told by his Indian ayah when he
was a child growing up in the Far East.
When a big-spending movie producer like Korda acquires the rights to a classic, there are inevitable changes. Someone hit upon the cute idea of giving Mowgli (played by Sabu) a "love interest." She appears here in the person of Mahala (Patricia O'Rourke), but after she passively lends impetus to an ill-fated search for lost treasure, her character becomes inconsequential to the rest of the picture.
The film begins as Mowgli's mother, Messua (Rosemary de Camp) is widowed one morning when her husband becomes breakfast for a hungry tiger. We later learn that the tiger is the vicious Shere Khan, who during Mowgli's childhood has become his arch-enemy. Unfortunately, when Mowgli and Shere Khan square off for a climactic battle to the end, the dated special-effects are a disappointment. Perhaps Kipling's original version of Khan's death in the book, he is trampled lifeless by Mowgli's animal/allies would have better suited the film.
Three of the village's leading citizens have been thrown together as a sort of Hindu vaudeville act: Buldeo, the blowhard hunter (the good, underrated Joseph Calleia); the greedy barber (John Qualen); and the "pundit" (Frank Puglia). Their lust for a dead king's treasure is given appropriate levity. The predatory Buldeo, Shere Khan's human counterpart, represents the single most dangerous threat to the jungle and the sense of community held sacred by the animals who live there. Ideologically, therefore, the fire that purges the jungle of all human sins seems an appropriate climax.
In the end, we see Buldeo, now aged and wiser, confessing his past sins to all who will pay a rupee to listen to his story of Mowgli and the jungle. As we see, he ultimately earns his money and reputation honestly as not only a story-teller, but as the narrator of this charming spectacle.
The first time I saw this movie I walked each step with Sabu playing the part of Mowgli, what an adventure it was. The animals of the jungle know and respect him, they willingly do as he wishes because, they know that he is good and one of them. I first saw this in a theater, and don't remember the year, I was very young. I am sorry to say that it has gained some darkness and lost a little of the very nice color, but to anyone who didn't first see it way back when, it should seem very nice. Watch for the one who whispers, so old and yet so special. Well worth the rental/buy price in my opinion. Mowgli of the wolfs wants to get a tooth, and he does. A very nice movie, I have watched it many times, and will watch it many more. Join me.
I had seen this movie in late 80's when i was a kid. I loved it. When i first saw this movie, i knew it was old maybe released in late 60'- early 70's. Few days back i saw it again after many many years on TV. And I was shocked to find this movie was released in 1942. Which is years before the independence of India and this makes the movie older than most of the so called Great Hollywood Classics. During the time it was released it might not have been heard by many.Mostly forgotten over number of years. But i have no doubt its one of the first Hollywood movies to star an Asian actor in the lead.And probably the first Indian actor. Also the first color movie which involves lots of Animals.I'm not surprised that few 100 people have voted for this movie. Maybe because it was released during the world war days.I was really surprised this movie was given a rating of just over 6. And why is that? The Movies good. it involves animals..Its made for Kids. Then i felt maybe because some don't want to see an Asian actor Leading in a Hollywood Classic. When you see movies like the much hyped king kong (1933)which was released just 9 years before this movie and was a B&W Classic and involved a stuffed monkey dancing on a sky scraper to get a vote of 8 and voted by almost 18,000 people i think this justifies my Answer.
Based on Rudyard Kipling's known classic , it concerns about a little
boy named Mowgli (Sabu). He's living in an Indian village with his
warmhearted mum (Rosemary DeCamp). But he's lost and raised by a wolf
pack . Along the way he encounters a variety of jungle animals ,
including a complete menagerie , such as the ferocious black panther
named Bagheera , the evil tiger named Shere Khan , the Croc , the bear,
elephant , monkeys... Mowgli stays among his animals friends . He takes
on a jungle journey and knows the location of a hidden treasure ; then
three of the village men (Joseph Calleia, John Qualen, Puglia) follow
him and many adventures ensue .
This lavish version of the great classic displays adventures, fantasy , exotic atmosphere , and breathtaking scenarios . This is the first acting to the young Indian actor named Sabu , he followed a Hollywood 's successful career : ¨The thief of Bagdad, Elephant boy and Arabian nights¨ . Rudyard Kipling's two Jungle Book anthologies comprise fifteen stories, four of which were used is this film: "Mowgli's Brothers," "How Fear Came ," "Tiger! Tiger!," and "The King's Colorful cinematography by Howard Greene and Lee Garmes in shimmer Technicolor with matte shots that make some landscapes look like they were added with magic markers . Exotic and oriental musical score by the great master Miklos Rozsa . It was the first film for which original soundtrack recordings were issued . This big budgeted movie is well made by Korda family . Vincent Korda created the impressive sets , Zoltan Korda directed brilliantly this familiar story and magnificent production by Alexander Korda . A must see for children of all ages. Adults will find the picture a little boring , but the younger to be amused.
Other adaptations about the vintage tale are the followings : the Walt Disney animated classic version by Wolfgang Reithman (1969) and its sequel (2005) , and in the 90s , a beautifully and enchanting filmed version , live-action by Stephen Sommers with Jason Scott Lee, Lena Headley and Sam Neill .
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