Tomorrow, 18th October, will be 48 years since The Jungle Book was first released! It was one of my dad’s favourite Disney films. And I have a feeling it will be one of Jacob’s favourites too. He likes films or cartoons with music, and The Jungle Book definitely has some classic songs that everyone likes to sing-along to.
Because The Sword in the Stone didn’t get a very good reception, Walt Disney was determined to come back with a universally well-regarded film. He told his animation crew to “throw away” Rudyard Kipling‘s book “The Jungle Book” because the original concept storyboards were too dark and dramatic. During pre-production, Disney assigned animator Larry Clemmons to head story development on the project. He gave Clemmons a copy of “The Jungle Book” and told him, “The first thing I want you to do is not read it.” This explains why the Disney version is very different to the book! Thank god Walt Disney was right to change it. (info from IMDB)
I dug out my Art of Animation book, and although there’s not a great deal about The Jungle Book, it did have a very good point about the voice talents of the film. You see before The Jungle Book, Disney didn’t really focus a lot on voice talent, so when you look back at films prior, anyone could have really played the voice of Pinocchio or Alice or Peter Pan. But can you think of anyone else better to play Baloo than Phil Harris? (altho John Goodman did his best in the sequal) And what about George Sanders as Shere Khan! He is playing a Tiger who is stalking an innocent boy – not the usual stuff of humour – but Sanders’ delivery, sinister and affected at the same time, had just the right edge to it. Shame he didn’t have more screen time. I think Jeremy Irons must have used George Sanders’ Shere Khan as inspiration for playing Scar, because the two are very similar characters. I mean Scar kills his brother and (thinks he’s killed) his nephew to take the throne (EVIL) but you like him as a villain because of the humour that’s delivered.
The Jungle Book is the first time the cast was cleverly chosen, and where the characters were created around the actors and their performances. This would later become the norm for Disney animated films. My previous blog post about Robin Williams – The Genie, is an example of a character who is created around such a performance by a talented actor.
Now getting back to the music, I absolutely love King Louie’s “I wanna be like you”! It’s jazzy, and makes you want to click your fingers, and then when the “obee-doo” kicks in, you are dancing! And a couple of years ago, Robbie Williams sang it with Olly Murs live and it was brilliant! Take a look….
It’s sad to think Walt Disney never saw the finished work. Disney’s 19th animated feature film would be one of my family’s favourites, and many, many other family’s favourite Disney films. He definately left his mark on the film, and, proved to be one of the world’s greatest story tellers. The Jungle Book is a fitting memorial to the man who had virtually invented the animated feature.
I’m sure Jacob is going to love the film, I mean he already loves playing with the toys!
While doing some research on the film, I came across a very interesting fact: When Gregory Peck was the President of the Academy of Motion Pictures and Science, he tried his hardest to get a full-length animated feature film (most notably the The Jungle Book) not only nominated for Best Picture Academy Award but actually win the award. He resigned as President in 1970 when other members didn’t agree with him about animated films being nominated for the award. It would be over twenty years later before the Academy would reconsider, allowing another Disney title, Beauty and the Beast to be nominated. (info from IMDB) Since learning this, I checked out who won the award for best picture in 1968, and it was In the Heat of the Night. Do you think Jungle Book would have beaten it? I’d like to think it would have. Definitely more light-hearted that’s for sure!
The future live-action version of the film is getting very exciting, and I really hope it doesn’t disappoint us all, especially those of us who love the original animated version so much!
To end today’s post, yesterday Disney celebrated 92 years of animation and posted a brilliant 92 second video to commemorate the occasion!
“Look for the bare necessities” – Baloo
Originally posted OCT 17TH 2015 on previous website