Pre-teen jungle boy Mowgli gets to human world and is pursued by P.T.Barnum circus scout Harrison who wants to take him to circus as curiosity. Harrison hires local grandee Buldeo for help ... See full summary »
Pre-teen jungle boy Mowgli gets to human world and is pursued by P.T.Barnum circus scout Harrison who wants to take him to circus as curiosity. Harrison hires local grandee Buldeo for help in tracking Mowgli down. It turns out to be that Mowgli is Buldeo's nephew, and the only obstacle for him to take his late brother's rich estate. Written by
Jamie Williams, only 10 years old when the movie was made, stars as the man-cub Mowgli in this movie adaptation of the classic story by Rudyard Kipling. He is supported by an outstanding cast of animals, such as Baloo the bear, Bagheera the panther, and Sher Khan the tiger.
The story is too well know to bear repeating. But playing against Williams are characters representing the Yankee "collector" for P. T, Barnum's circus (Bill Campbell), a couple of eccentric British army officers and their wives, an Indian hurdy-gurdy player complete with trained monkey, an Indian prince who is really Mowgli's uncle, and a positively weird tracker with his trained python.
There is also an appearance by Roddy McDowall, who was himself a very famous child star (How Green Was My Valley, Kidnapped (1948)) with over 158 movie appearances in his career.
The boy-cub, his wolf brothers, and all the animals out shine and out star the adults in this movie. The animal trainers are the invisible stars, directing the animals in major roles, not just quick appearances.
Williams is exceptional in his role as Mowgli, even more exceptional considering that no stunt doubles were used in the filming. All Mowgli's stunt scenes were made by Jamie himself at age 10 and half! Including the chase at running train's roof, climbing the walls in the ruined city and few scenes, where he was 4-6 feets from the adult tiger, who was on thin lead only.
And he's cute, to boot! Tanned, smooth skinned, and lithe. With a grin to light up a city. It's a joy to watch him run though the jungle swinging from tree to tree. A young Tarzan comes to mind. Maybe in a few more years when his body has filled out, Williams could replace Johnny Weismuller? Watch this movie as an antidote to the dreadful cartoon version of the novel, with the singing bear. It is an extremely realistic portrayal of a feral boy, his jungle friends, the jungle itself, and those adults who would wish him ill. It belongs in that category of serious movies that star children, but are not just children's stories.
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