Film Fridays – ‘The Jungle Book’

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?

27 Comments

  1. Great post, Arty! Like u said, The music is so catchy and comforting here. “Look for the, Bear necessities… forget about your worries and your strife.” Yeahh! Just instantly puts me at ease ☺️

    I go through periods where I don’t have the strength to blog. The Winter is historically hard. So don’t feel bad. But I loved this post😀

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Also, if I ever meet the director of “Nocturnal Animals” I’m going to clock him straight in the face. That movie was so triggering, manipulative of the audience, and just sickening. I Def needed comfort food after that horrible experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely! We knew nothing about it otherwise we would not have gone. Twenty minutes in my heart was racing and I was really distressed but stuck with it as I mistakenly thought my wife (who suggested it) wanted to watch it. Turns out she was already hating it by this point too. Never again.

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  3. Oh, Darren – you couldn’t have picked a better film for today’s post! 😍 The Jungle Book is my absolute favourite Disney movie of all times!! I so love the illustrations and the music. And of course the story! I read the Kipling book before I watched the film as a kid and still wasn’t disappointed at all because it’s just so brilliant. I have both the soundtracks: one in German because that’s the one I grew up with and therefore will be my fav forever, and the English one. 😊 Baloo will always be my favourite bear btw. 😄
    And you’re so right about this film being comfort food for the soul! I have a couple of others too, like Harry Potter, Star Trek etc. But The Jungle Book is the best – and like you I don’t intend to ever watch any of the sequels/readaptations. 😀💕

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for this lovely comment Sarah. Totally my favourite Disney movie too 😍.
      I’ve never read the novel I’m afraid. And not sure I fancy it. But this film is just such a joy. Delighted to hear you have the soundtrack – excellent taste!
      Baloo has the right attitude to life and could teach us a lot I think😁.
      Have you seen The Croods? A more modern animated film I totally love even if it has no songs. By Star Trek do you mean the newer Chris Pine ones? I loved the first of the three for sure. 💕

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No, I haven’t seen The Croods yet, will see if I can get a copy next time I go to the library!!
        Oh, all the Star Trek movies actually, it’s just nice to escape to another galaxy sometimes. 😉 The new ones with Pine are awesome – which is a surprise since I resent the new Star Wars films on the other hand! LOL!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You will love the Croods Sarah.
          I like every generation of the Trek movies too. And like you am not a fan of the newer Star Wars episodes – though I did enjoy Rogue One. As for escaping to another galaxy – I totally get that. 😍

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I love, love, love this film, Darren. I’ve not seen any of the re-makes, because, well, the singing and the dancing. Interestingly someone suggested a song to me recently. It was “I wanna be like you” with Oily Mar, on The Graham Norton Show. It had me singing along to my favourite Jungle Book song. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Awww, I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been having rough days. I enjoyed reading and learning more about The Jungle Book though. It is a fond movie from childhood for sure. Very upbeat, catchy, and quirky.

    That’s a good question. Do I have a comfort movie? I think a movie is too short if I need that kind of care. 😛 There are series that give me that ‘hug’ though, but I understand what you’re saying.

    Something recently annoyed me about storytelling for the screen, so I’ve gone back to watch Star Trek: The Next Generation. To me, it’s about a simpler time, when ‘good’ and ‘bad’ were more clear cut and nuanced, if that makes sense. I feel like today’s politics in entertainment ruins the newer stuff.

    And like you I’ve never seen any reboot or remake of Jungle Book, often I don’t like them, and wonder why they bother to tarnish the classics.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lani. I’ve been back on meds for a few weeks but only slight signs of improvement yet. Hopefully soon.
      I totally get your point about screenwriting. And I also delve into old series a lot these days. I also loved Star Trek TNG back in the day. I have watched a lot of Firefly, The New Avengers and Magnum PI recently!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😀 Ohhhh, Firefly – THE BEST. Grew up on Magnum PI as you can imagine – saw the famous helicopter around the island at times. Very exciting! 😀

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  6. Darren I’m so sorry to hear that’s you’re experiencing such tough times. I hope the meds help and that you can find strategies for coping and improving your well-being.

    I saw the movie as a kid, and have quite strong memories of the experience — though not so much of the film itself for some (unknown) reason.

    I do have comfort films, though I take more comfort in re-reading favourite books. But there is nothing quite like an afternoon spent watching Breakfast At Tiffany’s, The Lady Vanishes (Hitchcock’s original), or Some Like it Hot to restore me. The Taika Waititi film Boy works too — though I get the same burst of joy just watching the film’s haka mash-up of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and a kiwi classic Poi E.

    That probably makes no sense. Here’s the You Tube link. https://youtu.be/u-TiQXCJtRk

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    1. This video is genius! I must watch the movie as I like his work as both an actor and director.
      I have not seen Some Like it Hot in years but must watch it again as I have loved it since first seeing it as a teenager. Thank you for reminding me of it!
      And thank you – I am sure the meds will help. I honestly thought that last time I fought off depression would be the last as I made huge progress and have made so many lovely friends. But I never predicted 2020…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. The song Poi E is considered a kiwi classic, written and performed by a small town’s Maori Club when the town’s main employer closing down. It became a huge hit and helped revitalise Maori culture, partly by fusing it with pop culture of the time.

        2020 is proving hugely challenging to all of us, and I’m glad that you have both the meds, and a strong support network.

        Take care, and be kind to yourself. Kia Kaha

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  7. I hope you are feeling better Darren ❤️
    I am struggling with the blogging right now too, have been for awhile. I question if I should even keep the wordpress site.
    I have great memories of watching this with my kids, thanks for reminding me of what is really important💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Funny thing is Dee Dee, that you, Lisa, Linda and Dominique as well as myself have all really reduced our blogging and yet if it had not been for WP none of us would have met. So I have a lot to be grateful for. 😍

      Like

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