The last of the classic Disney animated features to be personally produced by Walt, this film is ample proof that sometimes the best things in life are re-releases.
Abandoned at birth in the jungles of India, a young boy named Mowgli is raised by a not-so-vicious pack of wolves. When a tiger begins to stalk Mowgli, a concerned panther intervenes and befriends the ten-year-old. Wanting to return him to civilization, he takes the unenthusiastic Mowgli along for a while until realizing that the wolf-boy doesn’t want to leave the jungle.
Mowgli’s happy-go-lucky trail leads to: a meeting with a lazy bear, Baloo, who sings “The Bare Necessities” (nominated, incidentally, for Best Song Oscar); kidnapping by monkeys and their leader, King Louie, the swinging ape; Kaa the Snake; and, an encounter with a fire-fearing tiger. During his travels he makes friends with many other animals, including Col. Hathi the Elephant. In the process, Mowgli learns about life, integrity and friendship.
Near the edge of the forest, however, Mowgli notices a beautiful young girl. They fall in love, and he forsakes his animal ways to be with her.
The last animated film to be directly overseen by Walt Disney himself, THE JUNGLE BOOK contains some of the studio’s most vividly cinematic animation techniques up to that time. It also, for the first time, employed the voices of well-known personalities: Harris, Cabot, Prima, Sanders — a notion which disturbed some adults for they were afraid that the reputations of the stars would be imputed to the characters. They needn’t have been concerned, for today many of these stars are forgotten while the wonderful characters of THE JUNGLE BOOK live on in glorious, joyful animation for all ages.
THE JUNGLE BOOK is not only very entertaining, but it is also a lesson in morality which will benefit children of all ages. Richard Schickel from LIFE magazine called it “the best thing of its kind since DUMBO. TIME magazine said it was “the happiest possible way to remember Walt Disney.” MOVIEGUIDE recommends that you see it on the big screen to appreciate the grandeur of the animation. Your children will love THE JUNGLE BOOK.