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HISTORY

On 6 Apr 1962, LAT announced that animation mogul Walt Disney had acquired rights to produce a cartoon adaptation of the “Mowgli” stories featured in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1894) and its follow-up, The Second Jungle Book (1895). According to a 12 Nov 1967 LAT article, Disney spent ten years locked in negotiations with the estate of late director Alexander Korda, who had made a live-action version of the tales in 1942, titled Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (see entry). Around this time, Walt Disney Productions was releasing a new cartoon picture every three to four years, and the animation team began development of The Jungle Book in 1963, as they neared completion on The Sword in the Stone (see entry).
       Despite his ambition to leave filmmaking to pursue a career writing children’s books, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961, see entry) and The Sword in the Stone writer Bill Peet agreed to stay on at Disney to develop the story. After several meetings, however, Disney declared that Peet’s ideas were “too serious,” including the disposition he assigned to the character of “Baloo,” the bear. While Peet felt the guardian to young Mowgli would adhere to “the law of the jungle,” Disney cast Phil Harris to provide the voice, conveying a bear with a more carefree philosophy of life. Peet left the project in early 1964, at which point Larry Clemmons took over as the team’s head writer. The sequence between Mogwli and “Kaa,” the snake, was reportedly one of the few scenes from Peet’s treatment that remained in the final ... More Less

On 6 Apr 1962, LAT announced that animation mogul Walt Disney had acquired rights to produce a cartoon adaptation of the “Mowgli” stories featured in Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book (1894) and its follow-up, The Second Jungle Book (1895). According to a 12 Nov 1967 LAT article, Disney spent ten years locked in negotiations with the estate of late director Alexander Korda, who had made a live-action version of the tales in 1942, titled Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book (see entry). Around this time, Walt Disney Productions was releasing a new cartoon picture every three to four years, and the animation team began development of The Jungle Book in 1963, as they neared completion on The Sword in the Stone (see entry).
       Despite his ambition to leave filmmaking to pursue a career writing children’s books, One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961, see entry) and The Sword in the Stone writer Bill Peet agreed to stay on at Disney to develop the story. After several meetings, however, Disney declared that Peet’s ideas were “too serious,” including the disposition he assigned to the character of “Baloo,” the bear. While Peet felt the guardian to young Mowgli would adhere to “the law of the jungle,” Disney cast Phil Harris to provide the voice, conveying a bear with a more carefree philosophy of life. Peet left the project in early 1964, at which point Larry Clemmons took over as the team’s head writer. The sequence between Mogwli and “Kaa,” the snake, was reportedly one of the few scenes from Peet’s treatment that remained in the final film.
       Although a storyline had not yet been solidified, the 9 Jun 1965 Var indicated that production was underway. A 7 Dec 1965 DV article estimated the budget at $4 million, with 160 crewmembers contributing to the animation. Several characters were reportedly removed or changed throughout the process, such as a rhinoceros and tickbird, voiced by Frank Fontaine and Jimmy Durante. The four vultures Mowgli encounters during the storm were originally designed to resemble members of The Beatles, but Disney felt the reference would date the film and hurt its playability in re-release. Additionally, Disney requested that Mowgli’s Indian features be “Americanized” to increase the character’s appeal in the U.S. market. While busy planning his second theme park in central Florida, Disney met with the writers to conceive the story’s ending shortly before his death in Dec 1966. A 15 Mar 1967 Var brief indicated that production was nearing completion, after roughly two and a half years.
       According to the 28 Jun 1967 Var, advanced screenings were held for exhibitors and their families on 28-29 Jun 1967 at the Disneyland park in Anaheim, CA. Due to its seventy-eight-minute running time, the 23 Aug 1967 Var stated that Disney would package the film with a companion short, as was customary for the company’s shorter releases. The Jungle Book played in theaters with Charlie, the Lonesome Cougar, a forty-seven minute live-action featurette.
       A 11 Sep 1967 LAT news item announced that the world premiere was set to take place at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on 18 Oct 1967, with proceeds benefitting the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association. The picture opened citywide on 20 Dec 1967, followed by a New York City debut two days later. The 17 Jan 1968 Var indicated that earnings were projected to surpass all first-run totals for any previous Disney animated feature, and by 5 Apr 1968, LAT reported domestic rentals of $10.5 million. The Jungle Book went on to become the second highest grossing picture of 1967.
       In his 23 Dec 1967 LAT review, Howard Thompson called the film “simple, uncluttered, straight-forward fun,” which many critics attributed to the unique characters and creative voice casting. The musical elements were also well loved, and a 3 Dec 1967 NYT item announced the release of two soundtrack LPs featuring songs and dialogue from the movie. Terry Gilkyson’s “The Bare Necessities” received an Academy Award nomination for Best Music (Song).
       In 1998, Walt Disney Pictures released the live-action, direct-to-video remake titled The Jungle Book: Mowgli’s Story. The Jungle Book 2 (see entry), an animated sequel to the 1967 picture, opened in theaters in 2003, but was not well received. In 2016, Disney “rebooted” the property with another live-action remake directed by Jon Favreau, which contained three songs from the original film. Warner Bros. Pictures began a concurrent adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s stories, but as of the writing of this Note, release has been pushed to 2018. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Daily Variety
18 May 1960
p. 1.
Daily Variety
7 Dec 1965
p. 4.
Los Angeles Times
6 Apr 1962
Section C, p. 9.
Los Angeles Times
11 Sep 1967
Section C, p. 20.
Los Angeles Times
18 Oct 1967
Section E, p. 1, 13.
Los Angeles Times
12 Nov 1967
Section M, p. 16, 20, 22-23.
Los Angeles Times
14 Dec 1967
Section D, p. 21.
Los Angeles Times
5 Apr 1968
Section E, p. 22.
New York Times
3 Dec 1967
p. 200.
New York Times
23 Dec 1967
p. 29.
Variety
9 Jun 1965
p. 15.
Variety
15 Mar 1967
p. 5.
Variety
28 Jun 1967
p. 18.
Variety
23 Aug 1967
p. 13.
Variety
17 Jan 1968
p. 5.
CAST
PRODUCTION CREDITS
NAME
PARENT COMPANY
PRODUCTION COMPANY
PRODUCTION TEXT
A Walt Disney Production
DISTRIBUTION COMPANY
NAME
CREDITED AS
CREDIT
DIRECTOR
PRODUCER
WRITERS
Story
Story
FILM EDITORS
Film ed
Film ed
MUSIC
SOUND
Music ed
PRODUCTION MISC
Prod mgr
ANIMATION
Dir, anim
Dir, anim
Dir, anim
Character anim
Character anim
Character anim
Character anim
Character anim
Character anim
Character anim
Effects anim
Layout
Layout
Layout
Layout
Background styling
Background
Background
Background
Background
Background
SOURCES
LITERARY
Inspired by the tales in the book The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (London, 1894) and his book The Second Jungle Book (London, 1895).
SONGS
"I Wanna Be Like You," "Kaa's Song," "My Own Home," "That's What Friends Are For" and "Colonel Hathi's March," words and music by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman
"The Bare Necessities," words and music by Terry Gilkyson.
DETAILS
Release Date:
20 October 1967
Premiere Information:
Los Angeles premiere: 18 October 1967
Los Angeles opening: 20 December 1967
New York opening: 22 December 1967
Production Date:
began June 1965
Copyright Claimant:
Walt Disney Productions
Copyright Date:
14 September 1967
Copyright Number:
LP34804
Physical Properties:
Sound
RCA
Color
Technicolor
Duration(in mins):
78
Country:
United States
Language:
English
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

While roaming about the jungle, the panther Bagheera finds Mowgli, an abandoned Indian boy baby, in a wrecked canoe and takes him to a wolf family to be reared as a cub. Ten years later, when it is learned that the ferocious tiger Shere Khan is returning to his hunting ground, the wolves fear for Mowgli's life and decide that for safety's sake he must return to the world of men. Bagheera agrees to escort the protesting boy through the jungle, where the two encounter many dangers. After successfully avoiding the hypnotic designs of the snake Kaa, the travelers meet Colonel Hathi's elephant herd. Exasperated by Mowgli's continual disobedience, Bagheera deserts the boy, who is then befriended by the bear Baloo, a singing, dancing jungle bum. When Mowgli is kidnaped by monkeys, Baloo persuades Bagheera to help, and the three escape just as the ape King Louie's temple crumbles. Determined to remain in the jungle, Mowgli runs away and wanders into a vultures' hangout. The birds at first tease him but later befriend the lonely boy. When Shere Khan appears, the vultures take to the trees; and Mowgli must face the tiger alone. To his surprise, he is helped by his jungle friends, and, tying a burning branch to Shere Khan's tail, Mowgli frightens the tiger away. Now nothing stands in the way of Mowgli's remaining in the jungle. A chance meeting with a young Indian girl offers a stronger attraction, however, and Bagheera and Baloo depart knowing that Mowgli will be happier with his own kind. (The voices heard in the songs are those of Louis Prima, singing "I Wanna Be Like You"; Sterling Holloway, singing "Kaa's Song"; ... +


While roaming about the jungle, the panther Bagheera finds Mowgli, an abandoned Indian boy baby, in a wrecked canoe and takes him to a wolf family to be reared as a cub. Ten years later, when it is learned that the ferocious tiger Shere Khan is returning to his hunting ground, the wolves fear for Mowgli's life and decide that for safety's sake he must return to the world of men. Bagheera agrees to escort the protesting boy through the jungle, where the two encounter many dangers. After successfully avoiding the hypnotic designs of the snake Kaa, the travelers meet Colonel Hathi's elephant herd. Exasperated by Mowgli's continual disobedience, Bagheera deserts the boy, who is then befriended by the bear Baloo, a singing, dancing jungle bum. When Mowgli is kidnaped by monkeys, Baloo persuades Bagheera to help, and the three escape just as the ape King Louie's temple crumbles. Determined to remain in the jungle, Mowgli runs away and wanders into a vultures' hangout. The birds at first tease him but later befriend the lonely boy. When Shere Khan appears, the vultures take to the trees; and Mowgli must face the tiger alone. To his surprise, he is helped by his jungle friends, and, tying a burning branch to Shere Khan's tail, Mowgli frightens the tiger away. Now nothing stands in the way of Mowgli's remaining in the jungle. A chance meeting with a young Indian girl offers a stronger attraction, however, and Bagheera and Baloo depart knowing that Mowgli will be happier with his own kind. (The voices heard in the songs are those of Louis Prima, singing "I Wanna Be Like You"; Sterling Holloway, singing "Kaa's Song"; Darleen Carr, singing "My Own Home"; Chad Stuart and Lord Tim Hudson, singing "That's What Friends Are For"; Verna Felton and Clint Howard, singing "Colonel Hathi's March"; and Phil Harris, singing "The Bare Necessities".) +

GENRE
Sub-genre:
Jungle


Subject

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.