Jungle Book (1942)

Jungle Book (1942)

“What is the book of life itself but man’s law with nature?”

A boy (Sabu) raised by wolves in the Indian jungle returns to live with his birth-mother (Rosemary DeCamp) while nurturing an obsession to kill his mortal enemy, a tiger named Shere Khan. Meanwhile, the greedy father (Joseph Calleia) of his sweet girlfriend (Patricia O’Rourke) bullies Mowgli (Sabu) into revealing the location of a lost city of hidden treasure, and joins two partners (John Qualen and Frank Puglia) in seeking it out.

Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:

  • Hidden Treasure
  • John Qualen Films
  • Jungles
  • Sabu Films
  • Zoltan Korda Films

Response to Peary’s Review:
In his review of this “popular fantasy-adventure”, directed by Zoltan Korda and based on stories by Rudyard Kipling, Peary writes that he wishes “a little more emphasis were placed on the boy’s trying to reconcile his wild nature with his desire for human companionship, but not even the early Tarzan movies dealt with such themes”. He points out the “excellent use of [live] animals”, and notes that the movie is “excellent family fare, but there are death scenes that may be too strong for some youngsters”. Unfortunately, the storyline itself isn’t particularly compelling; the film’s primary selling point is its visual appeal. Peary points out that it “has some of the finest color you’ll ever see”, and Stuart Galbraith, Jr. notes in his review for DVD Talk that the effect of using “every filmmaking tool available then” — including “glass shots and optical matte paintings, large-scale miniatures, [and] full-size jungle sets” — is “splendid and unique”. (The entire film was shot in Hollywood.) Fans of the 1967 Disney cartoon will likely be curious to check this one out, but otherwise it’s only must-see viewing for fans of the iconic Indian actor Sabu.

Note: This movie is available for free viewing as a public domain title here.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Stunning Technicolor cinematography and sets

Must See?
No; this one is only must-see for Sabu fans.


One thought on “Jungle Book (1942)

  1. First viewing. A once-must (esp. for younger ffs) for its place in cinema history.

    To be honest, I wasn’t looking all that forward to watching this – it’s not all that much to my personal taste. So I was surprised to see that it was better than I anticipated. I actually did find the story compelling, though I kind of wish all the animals could have talked – I mean, if the snake and cobra could, well….. But that’s kind of a small point. The use of the animals, overall, is well-handled anyway.

    Sabu is, of course, Sabu – but he’s a bit more dynamic here. And Calleia makes for a very sharp nemesis. It’s still not a personal recommendation, but it seems worthy-enough to take in once.

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