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Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book

Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book(1942)


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Although most sources refer to the film as Jungle Book or The Jungle Book, the title appears onscreen as Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book. According to a 1938 Hollywood Reporter news item, producer Alexander Korda bought the rights to Kipling's book and planned to shoot the film in 1939. In November 1941, PM's Weekly reported that Korda had been shooting the film for over a year and that director Zoltan Korda had hired four lead animal trainers and one assistant director devoted entirely to overseeing the animals' behavior. A February 1942 Look article describes how the film was shot in forty acres of man-made jungle, using tame animals in close-ups and wild animals in long takes. All of chimpanzees except the lead, Jiggs, were imported from the jungles of India for the production. According to a March 1942 New York Times piece, Korda built his "jungle" from scratch, importing vines, bamboo, elephant grass, taro plants and more and collecting over 300 animals from local zoos and farms. The article also reports that, despite the 150 animal handlers hired, the shots of the panthers were limited to thirty seconds each to avoid danger. In April 1942, after the production wrapped, music director Miklos Rozsa recounted in a Film Music Notes article that he had studied Indian music in order to provide each human and animal character with his own musical theme. Modern sources state that Jungle Book was shot at Lake Sherwood, CA.
       Jungle Book received Academy Award nominations in the following categories: Art Direction (Color) for Vincent Korda, Art direction (Interior Decoration) for Julia Heron; Cinematography (Color) for W. Howard Greene; Music (Dramatic or comedy picture) for Miklos Rozsa; Music (Song) for Terry Gilkyson ("The Bare Necessities") and Special effects for Lawrence Butler, photographic effects, and William H. Wilmarth, Sound effects. The picture marked the final collaboration of British brothers Zoltan, Vincent and Alexander Korda. According to a September 1967 Film Daily news item, Comet Films Distributors re-released the film that year. For more information about the Indian star Sabu, who plays "Mowgli," please consult the record for the 1937 Zoltan Korda film Elephant Boy. Many film and television versions of Rudyard Kipling's book have been produced, including a 1967 Disney animated picture titled The Jungle Book, and a 1994 live-action film called The Jungle Book, directed by Stephen Sommers and starring Jason Scott Lee.