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The jungle book

Mowgli - The Jungle Book
Mowgli
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Walt Disney Pictures
Original title: The Jungle Book
Characters:
Mowgli, Baloo, Bagheera, King Louis, Shere Khan, Kaa, Hathi
Author: Rudyard Kipling
Production: Walt Disney Productions
Regia: Wolfgang Reitherman
Country: USA
Year: 1967
Gender: Adventure / Musical animated film
Episodes: 1
duration: 78 minutes
Recommended age: Children from 6 to 12 years old

"The Jungle Book", Disney's animated film was released in 1967 and was the last feature film that Walt Disney personally followed, although unfortunately he died a few months before it was shown in theaters.
The direction was entrusted to Wolfgang Reitherman and the narrated story is inspired by the famous novel by the British writer Rudyard Kipling, published in 1894, although there are several differences compared to the book.

History

In the Indian jungle, the panther Bagheera hears strange moans and, intrigued, goes in search of the source of those sounds. At the bottom of a broken boat he finds a basket in which there is a crying baby. Bagheera understands that the human cub is hungry and decides to take him to a pair of wolves of his friends who have recently had a litter: so the little one can be nursed by Mamma Lupa. The panther deposits the basket in front of the cave where the little family lives and hides to see the welcome that will be given to the baby, fears that the male may be aggressive with the newborn, but Rama instead is immediately softened and so Mowgli, the cub d man, is adopted by wolves.
Mowgli and the wolves
Mowgli and the wolf

Ten years pass. Mowgli is now grown up, but still lives with his brothers, Mamma Lupa and Rama and often spends his days with Bagheera, who has become a kind of uncle-friend and advisor who accompanies him on long walks in the jungle.
But there is a danger looming: the terrible tiger Shere Khan is back and Akela, the leader of the wolves, summons the whole pack to decide what to do. All fears are for Mowgli, the wolves know that the tiger will seek the human cub to kill him and they will not be able to defend him, for this reason they decide that the time has come to remove him.
Bagheera proposes himself as a companion of the child, he will take him to a village not too far away: there Mowgli will be protected and will be able to grow up with men.
Thus begins the journey.

Mowgli and Baghera
Mowgli and Baghera

The child gets on the back of the agile panther, but does not yet know that he is about to leave the jungle forever, only when evening approaches and asks Bagheera to return home he discovers that they are headed for the village. Mowgli does not want to abandon his friends and "his family" and cannot understand how dangerous Shere Khan can be, but the panther does not accept arguments and orders him to climb a tree to spend the night.
Mowgli trudges along the log until Bagheera steps in to help him. Once settled on a large branch, the panther falls asleep, while the child remains mulling over what will become of him.

Suddenly two eyes appear between the thick branches, followed by a long sinuous body: it is Kaa, the python. After having exchanged a couple of jokes with the baby man, the snake, with its magnetic eyes enchants Mowgli who remains completely still while he wraps him with its coils. He is ready to swallow it with his huge mouth when Bagheera wakes up with a start and with a well-aimed blow pushes him away. But a glance is enough for Kaa to be able to hypnotize even the feline, but he does not notice that Mowgli is tinkering with the rest of his long body which he finally manages to throw down from the tree. The weight also drags the python's head down and it moves away a bit bruised.
The panther tries to make the child understand that Kaa's aggression means that he cannot manage the jungle alone, but Mowgli is of a different opinion. After a new discussion between the two, sleep prevails and they both fall asleep.

Mowgli and the elephant
Mowgli and the elephant

The next morning they are awakened by strange vibrations caused by a long line of elephants who, under the command of Colonel Hathi, are marching through the jungle. The cheerful and orderly queue attracts Mowgli who joins the small pachyderm that closes it. When the colonel orders the alt and begins to browse his troop he discovers the presence of the man cub and things are going to turn badly for Mowgli, but fortunately rushes Bagheera who ensures that the little one is about to leave the jungle to move to the village.
The elephants resume their march in a not entirely orderly way and also for the panther and the child it is time to get back on the road, but Mowgli stubbornly refuses to continue and, after a further whim, Bagheera really exhausted, goes away deciding to leave him to his fate.

Mowgli and Baloo
Mowgli and Baloo

The child wanders around angry without having a precise idea what to do, then suddenly he hears humming and is faced with the giant Baloo bear. The plantigrade tries to make friends, but the baby punches him and the imperturbable bear decides to teach him a lesson in fighting. He then invites him to roar to scare his opponents and emits one of his terrible cries whose sound can be heard from miles away. And in fact Bagheera hears him who, frightened, goes back to help Mowgli, but sees that he is only that irresponsible Baloo and the fighting lesson continues under the amused gaze of the panther. An immediate sympathy arises between the boy and the bear, and so when Baloo discovers that Mowgli is on his way to the village, he offers to keep him with him as his cub. Mowgli finds the bear irresistible and decides to stay with him, while Bagheera walks away.

Their life together does not last more than a few minutes because while Baloo is sleeping the baby is kidnapped by the monkeys and, the bear with its size that makes it clumsy compared to the extreme agility of the primates, is unable to resist. The baby is carried away and the bear screams just enough to be heard by Bagheera who is still nearby.
Mowgli is led to the ruins of the temple where King Louis awaits him, an orangutan who is the wacky ruler of the monkeys and who reassures the boy by singing to jazz. He promises that he will keep him in the jungle if he teaches him to behave exactly like a man, in particular he wants to know the secret that allows to produce fire. Too bad the child, who grew up among wolves, doesn't know him.
Bagheera and Baloo have meanwhile arrived on the spot and, while the panther is thinking about how to free the boy, the bear dragged by the rhythm of the songs of the monkeys cannot resist and sneaks among them disguised as a singing gorilla and dancer. His disguise is discovered and a bitter fight against the monkeys begins which eventually sees the collapse of the temple as the three hurry away.

Mowgli and King Luigi
Mowgli and King Luigi

Now safe, Mowgli falls asleep as Bagheera tries to convince Baloo that he cannot keep the boy with him, he must be taken to the men's village. The bear cannot understand why he has to leave the jungle, but when he learns that Shere Khan will sooner or later find him and kill him too, Baloo agrees that Mowgli absolutely must leave. He will have to be the one to convince the boy, despite having promised him that he would keep him with him.

With death in his heart the big bear tells Mowgli that he will lead him to the village and he, after accusing him of being like Bagheera, runs off.
The bear and the panther set out to find him, separating to find him as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, Shere Khan has truly returned and is preparing to attack a gazelle when the tremendous roar caused by the march of the patrolling elephants causes his prey to flee.

Bagheera too has heard from Colonel Hathi and his troops and asks them to help him find Mowgli who is lost in the jungle, the old pachyderm refuses, but the intervention of his wife Guendalina makes him change his mind. Shere Khan witnessed the discussion, unseen, and it does not seem true to him to hear that there is a defenseless man's cub that can hunt and kill.
The colonel gives orders to his troop to find the boy, while the tiger, who has heard their plan, heads in the direction that will lead her to meet Mowgli.

Mowgli and the Kaa snake
Mowgli is hypnotized by the snake Kaa

Meanwhile, the human cub is wandering among the vegetation when he meets Kaa, the python again. This time he is determined not to be hypnotized and, although the snake assures him that it will keep him forever in the jungle, Mowgli does not trust him. But when the python begins to sing a lullaby it is impossible to resist it and so it falls prey again to its coils.
At that moment Shere Khan arrives who does not know that Kaa is hiding the child in a tree and wants news from him about the human cub, but the liar python does not let him understand that he is her prisoner. Meanwhile, Mowgli manages to get rid of the snake again and goes away angry to discover that he has been betrayed once again.

The boy arrives in a wasteland where four bored vultures see him. They are struck by his sadness and, as animals that everyone shuns because of their anything but fascinating appearance, invite him to stay with them singing a beautiful chorus. Mowgli lets himself be convinced by those nice birds, too bad that the song is ended by the baritone voice of Shere Khan.

Mowgli and the tiger Shere Khan
Mowgli and Shere Khan

The swift vultures fly up a tree warning the child to escape, but he does not understand why, he is not afraid of the tiger and confronts her with a stick, but providentially Baloo arrives and grabs her by the tail. The vultures also come to Mowgli's rescue and when lightning sets a tree on fire they hurry to tell the child that only fire can stop the tiger. Mowgli quickly ties a fiery branch to the cat's tail and Shere Khan walks away in terror.
In the fight, however, Baloo got the worst of it and lies motionless on the ground, everyone believes he is dead, so much so that Bagheera, who in the meantime has arrived, pays him a eulogy. Fortunately, however, the big bear was only passed out and recovered immediately.

The journey to the village begins again and discussions with Mowgli again who still refuses to leave the jungle, but the sight of a strange character interrupts them:
a little girl is going to the nearby waterway with an amphora.
Mowgli is amazed and fascinated, he has never seen another being of his kind and then the little girl seems so attractive to him. He follows her into the village carrying the amphora himself while his friends watch from afar, satisfied that they have succeeded in fulfilling their mission.

Characters

MowgliThe undisputed protagonist is the stubborn one Mowgli, the child raised in the jungle and friend of animals. He stubbornly refuses to be uprooted from his affections and from a place he knows very well and does not accept being forced to go and live in a village he knows nothing about. He prefers to face the dangers of the jungle that he often underestimates with the typical childish naivety.
He shows an uncommon courage, but sometimes courage is not enough and luckily in those cases Bagheera and Baloo are there to watch over him and to help him when things go wrong.

Bagheera

Bagheera the panther personifies the role of the wise.
He takes care of the boy from the first moment and follows his growth until Mowgli goes to the village of men. Gruff just enough, sometimes he just can't stand up to him and decides to leave the boy to his fate, but he always thinks about it because he doesn't tolerate any harm being done to him.

Baloo

Baloo he is a playful and inconclusive bear and therefore he immediately manages to win the sympathies of Mowgli. He is a perfect playmate, but also very affectionate and decides to adopt the human cub to make him a perfect bear. However, he knows how to recognize that the boy is running too great dangers in the jungle and works to ensure that he can arrive safely in the village. He is the nicest character in the film, he is a generous braggart who does not hesitate to risk his life to save his little Mowgli and his good humor is so contagious that in the end even the serious panther Bagheera will find himself singing a song with him.

Other characters

Kaa, the python with the hissing "S" and the hypnotic gaze, is a liar and flatterer, but he fails to win with Mowgli and Bagheera and from that encounter he emerges with a knot in his tail that will hinder him on his way. His ability to lie is such that he deceives even the shrewd Shere Khan, but Mowgli always finds a way to free himself from his coils.

Colonel Hathi, at the head of the elephant platoon, represents the classic arrogant soldier who nevertheless finds himself under his wife. His Guendalina is a wise elephantess who manages to groom him properly when the time comes and to make him feel important he listens (but with a lot of sufficiency) to the stories of his exploits. How other members of the pack manage to bear him and obey him is a mystery, they probably go along with him simply because he is in command.

King Louis he is the lazy orangutan king of the apes. He spends his days sprawled on his stone throne eating bananas and has a fixation: to become equal to men and be accepted by them. It does not seem true to him that he learns that there is a child wandering in the jungle, he can provide him with all the information necessary to finally be like men and for this reason he orders his monkeys to kidnap Mowgli.
Among his passions, music is jazz and dance.

The four vultures they are the most bored beings you can meet and it seems that Disney with their creation wanted to create a caricature of the Beatles, even if to tell the truth one of the birds is bald and another is platinum blonde, figures absent in the Liverpool quartet. What is certain is that instead they certainly represent a parody of one of the many "hairy" bands that in 1967 began to dominate the world music scene. Friendly with Mowgli and willing to welcome him among them, at first they appear cowards in front of Shere Khan, but then they manage to redeem themselves and help the child in his unequal fight against the feline.

Shere Khan, the fearsome tiger who has returned to the jungle after so many years, is Mowgli's number one enemy. Agile, smart and cruel, she is not afraid of anyone and is convinced that the child must be eliminated simply for the fact of belonging to the human race.
But even the most fearsome have a weakness and the tiger will be forced to retreat.

The soundtrack

As in any Disney animated film, the soundtrack takes on an important part with several songs sung by the protagonists. To tell the truth, in the American version the actors themselves give the characters the voice, while in the Italian dubbing the actors are limited to the only parts played leaving the songs to the voice of some singers.
The elephants during the march in the jungle intone an air typical of military platoons following the commands of Colonel Hathi, but the most famous piece of the whole film is "The Bare Essential" which is performed by the Baloo bear while illustrating his lifestyle. Written by Terry Gilkyson, it received an Oscar nomination in 1968 and proves irresistible in highlighting the funny scenes where the bear and the child improvise a ballet. The song is then repeated at the end of the film sung by Baloo and Bagheera who leave the village happy to be able to fulfill their mission.
In pure jazz style, on the other hand, the musical accompaniment of the sequences concerning the monkeys and King Louis is enthralling to the point that even the prisoner Mowgli cannot resist and begins to dance with his tormentors.

If the chant that Kaa sings to the cub of man is truly soporific both for the victim and for the audience, the same cannot be said of the song that the vultures sing, an a cappella choir with some vocal virtuosities and when the background is also added music you hear a sound that reminded many of the Beatles.
The last piece of the soundtrack is the song performed by the village girl at the water source. The music is sweet and the voice, very similar to that of Biancenve and other Disney heroines, is too melodious for the period in which the film was produced, almost an anachronism in a film that always manages to be funny and modern in full 60's style

Italian dubbing of The Jungle Book
MowgliLoris Loddi
BagheraCorrado Gaipa
BalooPino Locchi
Shere KhanCarlo D'Angelo
KaaSergio Tedesco
Colonel HathiLuigi Pavese
King LouisLorenzo Spadoni

The Jungle Book © Walt Disney Productions, and are used here for cognitive and informative purposes.

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