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The Jungle Book – 1967 Reitherman
- This very loose adaptation of Kipling was the very first Disney animation project after the passing of Walt Disney in 1966
- The strength of the film is two fantastic songs and some of the vocal talent involved. The Bare Necessities (which really became the blueprint for Hakuna Matata- they even both find food under a rock)- was written by Terry Gilkyson and performed by Phil Harris. I Wanna Be Like You was by Richard and Robert Sherman (from Mary Poppins) back with Phil Harris performing again and this time a duo with Louis Prima. These two songs come within about 10 minutes of each other.
- Harris is just magnificent as Baloo the Bear. When he shows up the film just elevates a level or two. Disney would bring him back for the voice of Little John in 1973’s animated adaptation of Robin Hood. Someone may correct me but in 1967 using bigger named actors weren’t in vogue like they would be today (I believe 1994’s The Lion King probably sets this as the standard for this being the norm– though it had happened occasionally before). Anyways, George Sanders (here as Shere Khan) has a recognizable voice to just about everyone in 1967. Needless to say, he is perfect here.
- Nice a nice little Claude Rains and Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca-like walking off together ending with Baloo and Bagheera
- The film is a recommend- it doesn’t touch the top echelon of films in 1967