|The Jungle Book|
The Jungle Book is a 1967 American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released on October 18, 1967. The 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli from the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. The film contains a number of classic songs, including "The Bare Necessities" and "I Wanna Be Like You". Most of the songs were written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman, it was the last to be produced by Walt Disney, who died during its production. The film grossed over $73 million in the United States in its first release, and as much again from three re-releases.
Mowgli (Bruce Reitherman) is found in a basket as a baby in the deep jungles of Madhya Pradesh, India. Bagheera (Sebastian Cabot), the black panther who discovers the boy, promptly takes him to an Indian Wolf who has just had cubs. She raises him along with her own cubs and Mowgli soon becomes well acquainted with jungle life. Ten years later, Mowgli visits the wolves and gets his face licked eagerly when he arrives. One night, when the wolf pack learns that Shere Khan (George Sanders), a man-eating Bengal tiger, has returned to the jungle, they realize that Mowgli must be taken to the "man village" to protect him and those around him. Bagheera volunteers to escort him back.
They leave that very night, but Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle. They spend the night on a large tree, where they encounter Kaa, a python who hypnotizes Mowgli and tries to eat him. Bagheera stops him, and he and Mowgli go to sleep.
The next morning, Mowgli tries to join the Indian elephant patrol led by Colonel Hathi (J. Pat O'Malley). Bagheera finds Mowgli and they argue; Mowgli runs away from Bagheera. The boy soon meets up with the fun-loving bear Baloo (Phil Harris), who shows Mowgli the fun of having a care-free life and promises not to take him to the man village.
Mowgli now wants to stay in the jungle more than ever. Before long, Mowgli is caught by a gang of monkeys and taken to their leader, King Louie (Louis Prima) the orangutan, who makes a deal with Mowgli that if he tells him the secret of making fire like a human, then he will make it so he can stay in the jungle ("I Wanna Be Like You"). However, since he was not raised by humans, Mowgli doesn't know how to make fire. Mowgli is rescued from King Louie by Bagheera and Baloo, but soon Mowgli runs away from them after Baloo realizes the man village is best for the boy. Kaa hypnotizes Mowgli into a deep and peaceful sleep, and tries to eat him, but thanks to the intervention of Shere Khan, Mowgli escapes.
He encounters a group of solemn vultures (J. Pat O'Malley,Digby Wolfe, Lord Tim Hudson and Chad Stuart), who closely resemble The Beatles, and they say they'll be his friend. The vultures argue and continually sidetrack Mowgli with their pointless arguments. Shere Khan appears shortly after and challenges Mowgli to a fight, but when Baloo and Bagheera rush to the rescue, they manage to get rid of the ruthless tiger. Bagheera and Baloo take him to the edge of a man-village, but Mowgli is still hesitant to go in. His mind soon changes when a young girl from the village comes down by the riverside to fetch water. After noticing the boy, she "accidentally" drops her water pot, and Mowgli retrieves it for her and follows her into the man village. After Mowgli chooses to stay in the man village, Baloo and Bagheera decide to head home.
- Bruce Reitherman provided the voice of Mowgli, who is the main character of the film. Mowgli is an orphaned boy, commonly referred to as "man-cub" by the other characters.
- Phil Harris voiced Baloo, a sloth bear who leads a carefree life and believes in letting the good things in life come by themselves.
- Sebastian Cabot voiced Bagheera, a serious black panther (melanistic leopard) who is determined to take Mowgli back to the village and disapproves of Baloo's carefree approach to life.
- Louis Prima voiced King Louie. King Louie is an ape who wants to be a human, and offers to let Mowgli stay in the jungle (by bribing him with bananas) if Mowgli shows him the secret of "Man's Red Flower" (fire), though why he wants it is unknown.
- George Sanders voiced Shere Khan the Bengal tiger, who wants to kill Mowgli. For this reason the Wolf Council votes to send Mowgli away.
- Sterling Holloway voiced Kaa the Indian python. Kaa is determined to catch and eat Mowgli before Shere Khan does.
- J. Pat O'Malley...Colonel Hathi the Indian elephant/Buzzie the Vulture
- Verna Felton voiced Winifred, Colonel Hathi's wife. It was Felton's last film role, with her dying one day before the death of Walt Disney, during the film's production.
- Clint Howard voiced Junior, Colonel Hathi's son.
- Chad Stuart - Flaps the Vulture
- Lord Tim Hudson - Dizzie the Vulture
- John Abbott - Akela the Indian Wolf
- Ben Wright - Father Wolf
- Darleen Carr - Shanti
- Leo De Lyon - Flunkey the Baboon
- Bill Lee - Shere Khan's singing voice
- Hal Smith - The Slob Elephant
- Terry-Thomas - Elephants' singing voices
- Digby Wolfe - Ziggy the Vulture
After finishing The Sword in the Stone, writer Bill Peet suggested Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book as the next film to Walt Disney. Disney agreed and bought the rights to the book. Peet decided to follow the dramatic, dark, and sinister tone of Kipling's book and wrote an early treatment with little to no supervision, as he had done in One Hundred and One Dalmatians & The Sword in the Stone, along with character designs as well as the idea for the song The Bare Necessities. However, disappointed by the reception of The Sword in the Stone, Disney was determined to be more involved with in the story than he had been in the past two films that were written by Peet. Disney soon became critical of Peet's original treatment, as he felt it was too dark for family viewing and insisted on script changes. Peet refused, and after a long arguement, Peet left the Disney Studios in January 1964.
Following Peet's departure, Disney assigned Larry Clemmons as one of the four story men for the film; giving the animator a copy of Kipling's book, Disney told him: "The first thing I want you to do is not to read it." Walt counted on the characters to drive the story. Many familiar voices inspired the animators in their creation of the characters and helped them shape their personalities. This use of familiar voices for key characters was a rarity in Disney's past films. Walt took an active role in the story meetings, acting out each role and helping to create gags. It was the last animated film from the company to have Walt's personal touches.The vultures bearing a physical and vocal resemblance to The Beatles was a result of the band nearly singing songs for the movie and voicing the vultures themselves. Manager Brian Epstein (who died from an accidental drug overdose less than two months before the film's release) had approached Disney about having the band appearing in the movie without asking the band first. Once Epstein informed John Lennon about it, he immediately vetoed it and told Epstein to go tell Disney to look for Elvis Presley instead. Nonetheless, the vultures still appeared like the band, including with the signature mop-top haircut. Ironically, the Beatles had started to phase out the mop-top haircuts around this time, with Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band having been released that June and signifying the band's departure from that hairstyle.
The Jungle Book was released in October 1967, just 10 months after Walt's death. It was a success, earning $13 million in just its domestic release, mostly due to the popularity of its musical numbers. The film made its VHS home video debut in Mexico on October 31, 1987, twenty years after its original release. This 1987 release was dubbed in Spanish. The Jungle Book was released in the United States on VHS in 1991 as part of the Walt Disney Classics product line. The American version was subsequently re-released in 1997 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection for the film's 30th anniversary; this transfer had washed-out colors. A Limited Issue DVD was released by Buena Vista Home Entertainment in 1999. The DVD was barebones and used the 1997 VHS transfer with analog video. The film was released once again as a 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD on October 2, 2007 to commemorate its 40th anniversary. The Platinum Edition presents the film for the first time in 1.75:1 widescreen aspect ratio and also includes brand new luscious and rich colors. This is the first Disney release titled "Platinum Edition" in the UK instead of "Special Edition". Since the movie was part of the Platinum Edition, it is expected to be released on Blu-ray as part of the Diamond Edition series in Sping 2014 accourding to the Peter Pan Diamond Edition blu-ray guide.
The Jungle Book received an outpouring of positive reviews, undoubtedly influenced by a nostalgic reaction to the passing of Walt. Time Magazine noted that the film strayed far from the Kipling stories, but "the result is thoroughly delightful...it is the happiest possible way to remember Walt Disney." The New York Times called in "a perfectly dandy cartoon feature," and Life magazine referred to it as "the best thing of its kind since Dumbo."
Some negative reviews came from Judith Crist, who said the film was "devoid of mood or atmosphere." Variety's review was generally positive, but they stated that "the story development is restrained" and that younger audiences "may squirm at times."
The film received an Academy Award nomination in 1967 :
- Best Song for "The Bare Necessities". (Lost against "Talk to the Animals" from Doctor Dolittle).
The score features eight original songs:
- "Jungle Book Overture" - (instrumental)
- "Colonel Hathi's March" - Colonel Hathi and the elephants
- "The Bare Necessities" - Baloo and Mowgli
- "I Wanna Be Like You" - King Louie and Baloo
- "Colonel Hathi's March (reprise)" - Colonel Hathi and the elephants
- "Trust in Me" - Kaa
- "That's What Friends Are For" - The Vultures, Mowgli and Shere Khan
- "My Own Home" - The Girl
- "The Bare Necessities (reprise)" - Baloo and Bagheera
Longtime Disney collaborator Terry Gilkyson was brought in to write the songs for the film. Gilkyson delivered several complete songs, but Walt Disney felt that his efforts were too dark. The Sherman Brothers were brought in to do a complete rewrite, on the condition that they not read Rudyard Kipling's book. The only piece of Gilkyson's work which survived to the final film was his upbeat tune "The Bare Necessities", which was liked by the rest of the film crew.
The song "Trust in Me" is based upon a song entitled "Land of Sand" which had been written by the Sherman Brothers for, but not used in, Mary Poppins. Part of "Bare Necessities" was remixed for the theme song of its short-lived 1990s TV spin-off, Jungle Cubs. In the scene where Bagheera, the vultures, and Mowgli believe that Baloo is dead as well as Bagheera funerals Baloo, Paul J. Smith's organ score from Walt Disney's first film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is heard from the scene where the seven Dwarfs mourn Snow White on her bed before she is put into the glass coffin.
"We're Your Friends" was originally conceived as a rock and roll song, sung by the quartet of vultures and an original character, Rocky the Rhino. The vultures were even designed based on The Beatles, with moptop haircuts and Liverpudlian accents, and would be voiced by the band, which did not come into fruition due to problems with their schedule. During production, first Rocky was cut, then Disney decided the 60's style rock would cause the song to be considered dated later, leading "We're Your Friends" to be changed to the barbershop quartet that appears in the final film. Bill Lee of The Mellomen sung Shere Kahn's part, due to George Sanders not being available.
On Classic Disney: 60 Years of Musical Magic, this includes "Colonel Hathi's March" on the red disc, "The Bare Necessities" on the blue disc, "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Trust in Me" on the green disc, "That's What Friends Are For" on the purple disc, and "My Own Home" on the orange disc.
All of the below songs were the original songs by Terry Gilkyson.
- "Brothers All" - Opening
- "The Song Of The Seeonee" - Wolf Pack
- "Monkey See, Monkey Do" - Monkeys
- "I Knew I Belonged to Her " - Mowgli
- "In A Day's Work" - Baloo and Bagheera
- "The Mighty Hunters" - Shere Khan & Buldeo the Hunter.
Differences between the Mowgli Stories and the filmEdit
When the Walt Disney Company read The Jungle Book, they decided to make it a more viewer friendly film and altered the story. Here are some main differences:
- Rama is simply Father Wolf in the book. His name in the film is an error; in the book, Rama is actually a bull from the cattle herd Mowgli had to drive when he lived in the man village.
- In the book, it is Father Wolf and Raksha who find Mowgli, not Bagheera as seen in the film.
- In the book, Bagheera spoiled Mowgli. He is more serious in the film.
- In the book, Shere Khan is killed by Mowgli and a herd of cattle. In the film, he does not die but runs away and tries to put out the flaming branch on his tail.
- In the film, Baloo is portrayed as a fun-loving, silly bear who cares deeply about Mowgli. In the book, he is a sleepy, serious bear who taught Mowgli the Law of the Jungle.
- In the book, Kaa is one of Mowgli's close friends who rescues Mowgli from the Bandar Log, and tells him of the golden ankus, and helps fight the red dogs. In the film, he is a minor antagonist who wants to eat Mowgli.
- In the film, Kaa hypnotizes with his eyes. In the book however, Kaa hypnotizes through a dance that affects everyone but Mowgli.
- In the book, Hathi is a wise ruler of the jungle, while in the movie he is a pompous war elephant who often forgets things.
- In the book, Hathi has three children, but no spouse. In the film, he has only one child, Junior, a wife, Winifred, and an equal amount of male and female herd members.
- In the film, the monkeys are ruled by a king, King Louie, while in the book they it is repeatedly stated that they have no form of leadership whatsoever. The monkeys are also much more sinister characters in the book, while in the film they are friendly to Mowgli and Baloo.
- The vultures are not present in the book either. They were original characters who were made to resemble The Beatles. The only bird that plays an important role in the book is Chil the Kite, who is absent from the film.
- Another character absent from the film is Tabaqui the Jackal. In the book, Shere Khan has a sidekick who is a mad cowardly jackal that scavenges the homes of others for scraps of food and such.
- The wolves play an important part in the book. In the film, the wolves are only in the beginning of the story.
- In the book, Mowgli eats meat like his foster wolf brother. In the film, he eats fruit like Baloo and King Louie.
- In the book, Mowgli realizes he needs to go back to the man village. In the film, he desires to stay in the jungle until the end of the film.
- There is no girl that lures Mowgli into the village in the book. In the book, the main female character is a woman named Messua who adopts Mowgli.
Elements of The Jungle Book were recycled in the later Disney feature film Robin Hood due to that film's limited budget, such as Baloo being inspiration for Little John (who not only was a bear, but also voiced by Phil Harris). Many characters appear in the 1990-91 animated series TaleSpin. Between 1996 and 1998, the TV series Jungle Cubs told the stories of Baloo, Hahti, Bagheera, Louie, Kaa and Shere Khan when they were children.
Disney later made a live-action remake of the movie, which was more of a realistic action-adventure film with somewhat-more adult themes. The film, released in 1994, differs even more from the book than its animated counterpart, but was still a box-office success.
There are two videogames based on the film. The Jungle Book was a platformer released in 1993-4 for Master System, Mega Drive, Game Gear, Super NES, Game Boy and PC. A version for the Game Boy Advance was later released in 2003. The Jungle Book Groove Party was a dance mat game released in 2000 for PlayStation and PlayStation 2. Kaa and Shere Khan have also made cameo appearances in another Disney video game, Quackshot. There's some speculation that a world based on the film will be playable in the upcoming Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep video game for the PSP. This world was going to be in Kingdom Hearts but was dropped out due to similarities of a world known as Deep Jungle based on Tarzan. The events of that world could take place before the events of the film began.
On February 14, 2003, DisneyToon Studios in Australia released a sequel to the 1967 classic, entitled, The Jungle Book 2, in which Mowgli runs away from the man village he moved into at the end of the first film, to see his animal friends, unaware of the danger he's facing with the not-yet-dead Shere Khan who is more determined to kill him than ever, due to embarrassing him earlier. This film earned $47,901,582 at the box office. At Rotten Tomatoes, the film currently has a 4.4/10 rating and a 18% "Rotten" rating with 86 reviews, stating "This inferior rehash of The Jungle Book should have gone straight to video."
|The Jungle Book|
Characters: Mowgli | Bagheera | Baloo | Colonel Hathi | King Louie | Kaa | Shere Khan | Raksha | Rama | Wolf cubs | Akela | Wolf Council | Winifred | Hathi, Jr. | Jungle Patrol | Bandar-log | Flunkey | The Vultures | Shanti | Shanti's mother | Ranjan | Ranjan's father | Messua | Lucky | Arthur and Cecil | The Croc
See also: TaleSpin
|Previous Animated Feature:||Next Animated Feature:|
|The Sword in the Stone||The Aristocats|