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Still the best version of the Kipling tales
on 3 June 2011
Set in India, a small child wanders from the village and gets lost. But he is adopted by a wolf family and raised as their own. When he grows up to be a youth (Sabu), he accidentally stumbles onto the village of his birth where his birth mother (Rosemary De Camp) takes him in and teaches him the way of man but his heart is still with the jungle. This handsome, Technicolor adventure based on Rudyard Kipling's short stories is still the best of all the film versions. A family affair: directed by Zoltan Korda and produced by Alexander Korda with art direction by Vincent Korda, it's an enjoyable adventure yarn that should please both young and old. Vincent Korda's art direction is superb. Though filmed on a studio sound stage, his lush overgrown jungle somehow feels authentic unlike other jungle movies filmed on Hollywood sound stages. Sabu is perfectly cast (along with BLACK NARCISSUS, it's his best film work) with a sweetness and charm that doesn't show up much in all those Maria Montez films he did at Universal. The gorgeous score by Miklos Rozsa is a classic on its own. With Joseph Calleia (who bookends the film as the narrator) as the duplicitous Buldeo, John Qualen, Frank Puglia and Faith Brook.
The Network DVD via Great Britain, though soft in places, is a colorful and faithful transfer. Not that it couldn't use more restoration work but its miles ahead of the countless public domain copies here in the States.