The Jungle Book (1942)

Article #968 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 11-8-2003
Posting Date: 4-6-2004
Directed by Zoltan Korda
Featuring Sabu, Joseph Calleia, John Qualen

A boy is lost in the jungle where he is raised by wolves. He returns to his own village years later and tries to adjust to the human world.

I’ve never had the privilege of reading the Rudyard Kipling novel, but one of the very first movies I remember seeing as a child was the Disney version of this story. I can’t say whether either of them is particularly faithful to the book, but I do think it kind of interesting that they tell two different stories; in fact, this version feels something like a sequel to the later version, with the story really beginning in this one after Mowgli’s return to his own people, the event which marked the end of the later version. The two movies also come to different conclusions about Mowgli’s proper place in the world. This one is very colorful indeed, and Sabu gives a great and impassioned performance as Mowgli. The animal scenes are exciting, though you can tell the faked animals from the real one, but it works well enough anyway. Nonetheless, I’m always thrown off a little whenever I see John Qualen appear as something other than a Norwegian; here he is an Indian barber.

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