Film Fridays is a project initiated by Sarah and I. See previous posts for a longer preamble!
We would be delighted if you would join us! We don’t necessarily want to talk about the nerdy technical details but more about why these films speak to us as individuals, why they have a place in out hearts, and any personal memories they evoke.
‘The Jungle Book’ (1967)
No trailer but have a look at my favourite scene:
OK. Before we start, I should point out that I am struggling badly and don’t have the mental energy to blog much, hence the infrequency of my posts just now. And this will be a short one.
With that in mind, this movie choice is an appropriate one. The cinematic equivalent of comfort food in our household. The last two times we watched it after returning from watching unexpectedly triggering movies at the cinema (Nocturnal Animals and Where the Wild Things Are, in case you were wondering. One day I will write a post about movies I will ever watch again).
Jungle Book was the last movie that Walt Disney himself initiated before his death in 1966. Whilst he wanted to adapt the story it was changed significantly from Rudyard Kipling’s novel in order to make the story flow better as a movie and to make it less dark. In fact Disney himself gave script writer Larry Clemmons a copy of the novel but instructed him not to read it!
For those who do not know it. The story follows human baby Mowgli who is raised as a feral child by wolves in the jungles of India until the return of tiger Shere Khan, who hates mankind and has vowed to kill Mowgli. Mowgli’s friends Bagheera the panther and Baloo the bear try to deliver a reluctant Mowgli to the safety of a human village. Escaping from his escorts he encounters the elephant patrol, led by pompous Colonel Hathi, and King Louie – an orangutan desperate for the secret of fire. Kaa the serpent and a group of friendly vultures are also in the mix.
This is a complete joy of a movie because of its wit, voice performances and insanely catchy songs! The songs were largely written by the Sherman brothers after all but one of the previous composer’s songs were rejected (Baloo’s song ‘The Bare Necessities’ being the one retained).
Standouts for me are the sequence with King Louie, (voiced by Jazz singer and band leader Louis Prima), with its wonderful accompanying song, and the very Beatles-esque group of vultures. The original plan was to have the Beatles themselves voice the vultures, but John Lennon vetoed the idea. The King Louie sequence is also notable for beautifully timed slapstick humour.
Villain Shere Khan is deliciously voiced by British actor George Sanders, and the character’s facial features were intended to resemble him. I suspect this started a continuing tradition of distinguished British actors playing villains in Hollywood movies!
And no – I have not seen any of the sequels/remakes and never intend to 🙂 However – there are huge similarities between this and Disney’s later Robin Hood in 1973 – quite deliberately, even re-using the King Louie sequence but with different characters. And Little John being portrayed as a bear and even voiced by Baloo actor Phil Harris.
Do you have a ‘comfort food’ movie?