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Jungle Book

USA 1942
produced by
Alexander Korda for Alexander Korda Productions/United Artists
directed by Zoltan Korda
starring Sabu, Joseph Calleia, John Qualen, Frank Puglia, Rosemary DeCamp, Patricia O'Rourke, Ralph Byrd, John Mather, Faith Brook, Noble Johnson
screenplay by Laurence Stallings, based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, music by Miklós Rózsa, special effects by Lawrence W.Butler

Jungle Book

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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When he was an infant, his father was killed by mighty tiger Shere Khan, and he wandered the jungle alone until he was picked up by wolves who raised them as one of their own. Now Mowgli (Sabu) is 12 years old and on the run because Shere Khan has come back to his part of the jungle, and Shere Khan likes to kill humans. Eventually, Mowgli stumbles upon a human village, and Messua (Rosemary DeCamp), his real-life mother vaguely recognizing him, takes him in to teach him how to be a human.

Mowgli soon becomes good friends with Mahala (Patricia O'Rourke), the daughter of shady hunter Buldeo (Joseph Calleia), much to the dismay of Buldeo himself, who thinks the boy of the jungle is a threat - until of course he learns that Mowgli knows the location of the vast jungle treasure of the lost city ...

Mowgli is only remotely interested in the treasure though and more in fighting Shere Khan, and he thinks he's got a chance too, since in the man-village he has bought a knife, which improves his chances of course. And when the two of them have their showdown, Mowgli lures the tiger into a nearby river, soemthing Shere Khan just can't stand, which gives the boy all the advantage he needs to kill the tiger.

Somehow, Buldeo tricks Mowgli into leading him and his two cronies (John Qualen, Frank Puglia) to the lost city and its treasure, but all the wealth they find doesn't make them happy, as they soon start to try to kill one another, nd in the end, only Buldeo survives, but he's hardly able to escape the treasure cave with his life, let alone any fortune.

Back in the village, Buldeo accuses Mowgli of witchery, and after Mowgli manages to make an escape, he has his mother tied up and made ready to be burned. But actually, Buldeo is so maddened he sets fire to the jungle itself, and when the wind turns, the resulting forest fire threatens the village, and everybody has to flee, everybody but mowgli's mother, who's left behind tied up. Fortunately, Mowgli's still around, and while most of the villagers have taken refuge at a spot that's sure to be destroyed by the fire before long, Mowgli, helped by his friends, the elephants, brings his mother, Mahala and a handful of other villagers to an island that will be safe from the forest fire. The villagers invite Mowgli to stay with them, but after all that has happened, Mowgli turns down their offer and prefers to live in the jungle like an animal - and can you blame him?

 


An impressive big-budget technicolor rendition of Kipling's Jungle Book that features sets - the jungle as well as the lost city (which is somewhat reminiscent of Angkor Vat) - that are nothing short of amazing even from today's point of view, with the forest fire destroying them in the finale looking especially good. This all however cannot hide the fact that the film is not too well-paced, the script lacks as much stringency as the characters lack depth. All that said, the film is still definitely worth a look for its looks alone, just don't expect the film perfect in every possible way.

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
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tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
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screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
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written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
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out now on DVD