Tag Archives: The Jungle Book

Disturbing Disney #14: The Salt Trap in The Jungle Book (1994)

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When Disney released a live-action adaptation of The Jungle Book last year, many seemed to have forgotten that this was the second live-action version of the story that Disney had ever made. The first was released in 1994 and stars Jason Scott Lee as Mowgli, Lena Headey (aka Cersei in Game of Thrones) as Katherine and Cary Elwes as Boone. I for one, can never wholly forget this film because it has a number of disturbing moments in the second half, one of the most disturbing coming in the Monkey City.

Unlike the animated film, where the Monkey City is just a pile of crumbling ruins, this version is not only loaded with treasure, but is also filled with booby traps of all kinds. Mowgli is forced by Boone and his compatriots to lead them to Monkey City so they can help themselves to the treasure (despite Mowgli’s warnings that the city is dangerous). By the time they get inside the city, most of Boone’s henchmen are dead, but a hunter named Buldeo (who incidentally left Mowgli’s father to die at the beginning of the film) is still alive and he is relentlessly pursuing Mowgli, intent on killing him. But this is complicated because Wilkins (another associate), accidentally shot him in the leg shortly before he was mauled to death by Shere Khan.

Limping all the way, Buldeo seemingly has Mowgli cornered in a sunken pavilion, when a stray shot unexpectedly causes a decoration to burst out of the wall, pouring salt out on the floor. This trips a chain reaction, where more and more decorations burst out, spilling more and more salt, and the reason why becomes clear; as the salt spills out, the roof of the pavilion is slowly lowering, meaning Mowgli and Buldeo are caught in a trap! Mowgli is able to leap out of the pit to safety, but Buldeo is hampered by his wounded leg and must hobble for the stairs, but he is caught in the growing streams of salt.

I’m convinced it is salt and not sand because the material causes Buldeo intense pain in his wounded leg (and salt is very bad for open wounds). Also, this was supposed to be a fantastically wealthy city, so it makes sense to me that the people who built these traps could afford the luxury of using salt as part of the mechanism. All this time the ceiling is slowly but surely descending, to Buldeo’s mounting panic as it becomes clear he will NOT be able to get out in time. By the end, he is futilely pressing against the ceiling in an attempt to stop the inevitable…with a final scream the ceiling clamps down on the floor, entombing Buldeo forever in that small pit, where he will quickly suffocate (unless that salt fills up the space first).

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This scene terrified me as a child, because I would have nightmares of being trapped in that kind of a situation. To this day I can’t believe this film is ONLY rated PG because, in no particular order, we have: a man drowning in quicksand; a man being mauled to death by a tiger, people being shot, falling to their deaths, etc. But of all the deaths, Buldeo being buried alive in the Salt Trap is by far the most disturbing of all. I’d actually nearly put this scene out of my mind but I’m glad I remembered it so I could share it with all of you.

What do you think of the Salt Trap in this film? Does it disturb you? Can you believe they put this in a movie for kids? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it.

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For more Disturbing Disney see also:

Disturbing Disney #1: The Coachman in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #2: The truth of Pleasure Island in Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #3: Escaping Monstro from Pinocchio (1940)

Disturbing Disney #4: Dumbo loses his mother (1941)

Disturbing Disney #5 The death of Bambi’s Mother

Disturbing Disney #6: Faline vs. the dogs (1942)

Disturbing Disney #7: Cruella wants to do WHAT??

Disturbing Disney #8: The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met (from Make Mine Music, 1946)

Disturbing Disney #9: Dr. Facilier’s Fate (The Princess and the Frog, 2009)

Disturbing Disney #10: The rat in Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Disturbing Disney #11: Clayton’s Death in Tarzan (1999)

Disturbing Disney #12: The Bear from The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #13: “Smoking them out” in The Fox and the Hound (1981)

Disturbing Disney #15: Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia (1940)

Disturbing Disney #16: King Triton destroys Ariel’s grotto

Disturbing Disney #17: Ratigan becomes a monster in The Great Mouse Detective

Disturbing Disney #18: The Queen’s assignment for her Huntsman

Disturbing Disney #19: Cinderella’s dress is destroyed (1950)

Disturbing Disney #20: Quasimodo is crowned ‘King of Fools’ (1996)

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John Debney talks The Jungle Book (2016)

John Debney talks The Jungle Book (2016)

It’s no secret that I have mixed feelings about the live-action Disney remakes. It just so happens that The Jungle Book (2016) is one I dislike, only because I have very strong feelings for the animated original. My own feelings for the work aside, I have heard that the score was well done, not surprising since it was composed by John Debney (his musical magnum opus remains the score for The Passion of the Christ (2004)).

In this short interview, Debney talks about how he came to work on the score for the film, what kind of vision the director had and how Mowgli needed a theme of his own. But that’s not all I discovered. I also found a B-roll of footage from the scoring sessions, and I’m pleased to share it with you here. Please note around 1:58-2:00 the giant score that the composer is flipping through. You can also see a beat counter next to his head at the beginning of the video.

The Jungle Book scoring session B-Roll (2016)

I love watching scoring sessions, it’s something I really hope to witness firsthand someday in the future. I hope you enjoy this interview and the footage from the soundstage. I have a lot more interviews queued up and I can’t wait to finally get them published!

See also:

Film Composer Interviews A-H

Film Composer Interviews K-Z

John Debney (and Tom Morello) talk Iron Man 2 (2010)

John Debney talks The Scorpion King (2002)

John Debney scoring Predators (2010)

John Debney talks The Passion of the Christ (2004)

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Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

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The Jungle Book “Trust in Me” (1967)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Wow, there certainly are a LOT of songs in this film, but we’ve come at last to the final one, Kaa’s immortal song “Trust in Me.”

Mowgli is feeling pretty down at this point in the story. He’s just run away from Baloo after finding out his “papa bear” wants to take him to the Man-Village as well (never mind that it’s for his own safety). He runs off and ends up straight in the coils of Kaa, the incredibly long python with bad sinuses (and brought to life by Sterling Holloway, aka Winnie the Pooh).

This isn’t the first time Mowgli and Kaa have met. Their first encounter comes just after Bagheera announces that he’s taking the man-cub away.

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As you can see in the picture, it almost doesn’t end well for Mowgli then and there, but thankfully Bagheera stepped in. Now though, it’s just Kaa and Mowgli. The latter rightfully doesn’t trust Kaa, which seemingly hurts the snake’s feelings. He says that if Mowgli would only trust him, then he could stay in the jungle forever. Of course it’s all a trick to get Mowgli hypnotized so he can be Kaa’s afternoon snack.

Trust in me
Just in me
Shut your eyes
and trust in me

You can sleep
Safe and sound
Knowing I
Am around

Slip into silent slumber
Sail on a silver mist
Slowly and surely your senses
Will cease to resist

Trust in me
And just in me
Shut your eyes
And trust in me…

The entire song is full of double meanings. While on the surface it sounds like a friend reassuring another friend of his trustworthiness, it also has a deeper meaning of “all this will be true because I’ll have eaten you.”

For example “You can sleep, safe and sound, knowing I am around.” Yeah, Mowgli will sleep alright, he’ll sleep eternally. Mowgli is oblivious to this for pretty much the entire song and is blissfully sleepwalking in and around Kaa’s neverending coils.

The Jungle Book “Trust in Me”

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Kaa assumes a wide variety of shapes throughout the song

Once again though, Kaa is foiled. Just as he has Mowgli right where he wants him, who should come by but Shere Khan!! I absolutely love how the tiger pulls on Kaa’s tail like it’s a doorbell (brilliant!) If Kaa hadn’t wasted all that time playing with his “food” he might have gotten away with it.

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I had to share this last picture by the way, those claws and the look on Kaa’s face!!

Now I haven’t seen the new version of this film yet, and I’m sure Scarlett Johansson did a great job, but for me, Kaa will always be Sterling Holloway. And that’s The Jungle Book! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For earlier entries in The Jungle Book, see:

The Jungle Book “Colonel Hathi’s March”

The Jungle Book “The Bear Necessities”

The Jungle Book “I Wanna Be Like You”

The Jungle Book “My Own Home”

The Jungle Book “That’s What Friends Are For/The Vulture Song”

For more great Disney songs, check out the main page here: Disney A-Z

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The Jungle Book “Colonel Hathi’s March” (1967)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

In The Jungle Book, “Colonel” Hathi is one of those characters you can’t help but love because they’re so funny! For this version of the story, Hathi the elephant is transformed into an ex-military soldier obsessed with leading his brigade of elephants around the jungle in perfect formation. And as they march along, they sing a song, the “Colonel Hathi March.”

Of course the underlying joke here is that Colonel Hathi shouldn’t be leading at all, elephants are by nature a matriarchal society (the gag comes to a head when Winifred threatens to take over command and Hathi exclaims “WHAT! A female leading my herd???”)

Hup two three four
Keep it up, two three four
Hup two three four
Keep it up, two three four
Company, sound off!

Oh, the aim of our patrol
Is a question rather droll
For to march and drill
Over field and hill [all trumpet]
Is a military goal
Is a military goal

Hup two three four
Dress it up, two three four

By the ranks or single file
Over ev’ry jungle mile
Oh, we stamp and crush
Through the underbrush
In a military style
In a military style

As a by-the-by, the little elephant is voiced by a rather young Clint Howard (the brother to Ron Howard, the famous movie director).

This one is rather short, but then again there’s not a lot to say about this particular song. Tomorrow, the series concludes with “Trust in Me” and there will be a lot to say then.

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For more great Disney songs, check out the main page here: Disney A-Z

For more of The Jungle Book, see also:

The Jungle Book “The Bear Necessities”

The Jungle Book “I Wanna Be Like You” (1967)

The Jungle Book “Trust in Me” (1967)

The Jungle Book “That’s What Friends Are For/The Vulture Song”

The Jungle Book “My Own Home”

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

The Jungle Book “My Own Home” (1967)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

Continuing the look through the songs of The Jungle Book, “My Own Home” comes at the very end of the film. All is well, Shere Khan has been chased away, never to return (I refuse to count The Jungle Book 2 as canon), Baloo is (thankfully) alive and well, and there seems to be no reason why Mowgli can’t live with his friends in the jungle forever. But then…Mowgli hears singing….and it’s a girl!

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The ending of the film employs one of the oldest tropes known to storytelling: boy meets girl, boy falls head over heels in love with girl, and the girl feels likewise. In this case, Mowgli has overheard a young girl singing as she goes out to fill her water jug. The song is simple, but very beautiful (I confess, when I was young I tried to sing along, pretending I was carrying a jug on my head too).

My own home,
My own home,
My own home,
My own home

Father’s hunting in the forest,
Mother’s cooking in the home,
I must go to fetch the water,
Till the day that I am grown.

Till I’m grown,
Till I’m grown.
I must go to fetch the water,
Till the day that I am grown.

The song tells of how she goes every day to fetch water while her father is out hunting and her mother is cooking, and she’ll do this until she is grown. Entranced by this “creature” that he has never seen before, Mowgli creeps closer and closer (to Baloo’s despair and Bagheera’s delight) until he’s perched right above where the girl is kneeling. Of course she sees him, just in time to also witness Mowgli tumble unceremoniously into the water.

With the water jug full, the girl makes ready to return home, and the song has noticeably changed. Now she sings about how (when she’s grown) she’ll have a handsome husband, and she’ll send her own daughter to fetch water, and just as this verse ends, she “accidentally” drops the jug and the water spills everywhere.

Mowgli obligingly picks the jug up and fills it for her, but the girl only smiles and starts walking back home singing a new verse about how she’ll have a handsome husband someday. It’s clear what she’s trying to do, but the only thing that bothers me is that Mowgli is supposed to be about 10 years old, and presumably the girl is not much older than that. Aren’t they a little young to be engaging in playing hard-to-get?

Then I will have a handsome husband,
And a daughter of my own.
Then I’ll send her to fetch the water,
I’ll be cooking in the home.

Hmmm…
Ooooh…
Then I’ll send her to fetch the water,
I’ll be cooking in my home.

Regardless, Mowgli, in Baloo’s words, is “hooked” and the Man-Village is his home now, which is probably for the best.

It was actually a complete accident that Darleen Carr was chosen to sing the song at all. The story goes that someone from the studio overheard her singing to herself, loved the sound, brought in her in, had her sing “My Own Home” in the studio, and that was that. Talk about a whirlwind experience!

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For earlier entries in The Jungle Book, see:

The Jungle Book “Colonel Hathi’s March”

The Jungle Book “The Bear Necessities”

The Jungle Book “I Wanna Be Like You”

The Jungle Book “Trust in Me”

The Jungle Book “That’s What Friends Are For/The Vulture Song”

For more great Disney songs, check out the main page here: Disney A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

The Jungle Book “That’s What Friends Are For/The Vulture Song” (1967)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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“That’s What Friends are For”, also known as “The Vulture Song” is another funny Disney song, and a great addition to The Jungle Book film, not just because of the music, but also because of the story behind what ALMOST happened with it. Allow me to explain. As you hear the song in the film, it is presented in the style of a barbershop quartet (four-part harmony, traditionally performed with male voices). But it wasn’t always going to be that way. The original plan was for the song to be a rock ‘n roll style featuring…*drumroll please*…..the BEATLES!!

Yes, THOSE Beatles: Paul, John, Ringo and George, aka one of the most popular bands to ever exist. The plan was for each vulture to be modeled after a member of the band, and they would perform this rock number for Mowgli. How cool would that have been? Unfortunately for all of us, negotiations between Disney and the band ultimately fell through. When told the band couldn’t do it, the writers changed the song from a rock piece to a simple song in four-part harmony, resulting in the song we hear today. But according to a story I heard in the “Making Of” featurette on my DVD copy of the film, one or two of the vultures are still modeled after the Beatles.

“The Vulture Song” is really the last major song of the film (there is “My Own Home” still to come but that’s much simpler than this). By this point, Mowgli feels abandoned by everyone he’s ever cared about (Baloo let it slip that he wants Mowgli to go to the Man Village too) and has run away to a desolate area that’s apparently outside the jungle altogether. Here, a depressed Mowgli comes to the attention of four bored-out-of-their-minds vultures, who continually ask each other “So what we gonna do?” Since most people/things that come their way are um…well, dead, they’re surprised to see someone still alive so they go over to talk. Poor Mowgli doesn’t want to talk though, and the vultures see he needs cheering up, so the vultures decide to be his new friends.

We’re your friends
We’re your friends
We’re your friends to the bitter end (the bitter end)

When you’re alone (when you’re alone)
Who comes around (who comes around)
To pluck you up (To pluck you up)
When you are down (When you are down)

And when you’re outside, looking in
Who’s there to open the door

That’s what friends are for

As they sing and dance with Mowgli however…Shere Khan comes waltzing into the picture. No one sees the tiger, but he certainly sees THEM. Shere Khan’s addition to the song is one of my favorites ever.

Who’s always eager to extend
A friendly claw
That’s what friends are for
And when you’re lost in dire need

Who’s at your side at lightning speed
We’re friends of every creature
Comin’ down the pike
In fact we never met an animal we didn’t like

So you can see
We’re friends in need
And friends in need
Are friends indeed
We’ll keep you safe
In the jungle forevermore

(Shere Khan) That’s what friends are for!

This is the one moment of the film where George Sanders (voicing Shere Khan) doesn’t perform the voice. Instead, this one moment is done by legendary voice actor Thurl Ravenscroft (the voice behind “You’re a Mean one, Mr. Grinch”). The moment at the end where his voice drops incredibly low always fascinated me as a kid, and laugh if you like, but I used to try and follow along, even though I knew my voice couldn’t go anywhere near that low.

At any rate, please enjoy listening to “The Vulture Song” and stay tuned for more Jungle Book songs to come!

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For earlier entries in The Jungle Book, see:

The Jungle Book “Colonel Hathi’s March”

The Jungle Book “The Bear Necessities”

The Jungle Book “I Wanna Be Like You”

The Jungle Book “Trust in Me”

The Jungle Book “My Own Home”

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂

The Jungle Book “The Bear Necessities” (1967)

*the links in this post contain affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.

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“The Bear Necessities” is quite likely the most recognizable song from this film, and certainly one of the most famous Disney songs of all time. We’ve actually gone backwards in the story, as this song precedes “I Wanna be like You.”

Mowgli, determined to NOT go to the “Man village” has run off from Bagheera the panther, and while sulking in the jungle, hears a strange creature approaching….only instead of the dangerous tiger Shere Khan, it turns out to be only Baloo the bear, brought to life by the one and only Phil Harris (working most of his career in radio, this was his first turn at voice acting, he would also be Thomas O’Malley in The Aristocats (1970), Little John in Robin Hood (1973) and finally Patou the dog in Rock-a-Doodle (1991, his final role).

After teasing Mowgli for a while (even engaging in a mock sparring fight), Baloo decides that he really likes Mowgli (or “l’il britches”, as he calls him), and decides that he’ll raise him as a bear in the jungle (ignoring/dismissing Bagheera’s objections to this turn of events). To that end, “The Bear Necessities” consists of Baloo teaching Mowgli how bears, like himself, live in the jungle, which is to say, they don’t really work, they just eat whatever is around them, because the jungle provides food EVERYWHERE! If you understand this, then you get “the bear necessities of life.”

The Jungle Book “The Bear Necessities”

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature’s recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life

Wherever I wander, wherever I roam
I couldn’t be fonder of my big home
The bees are buzzin’ in the tree
To make some honey just for me
When you look under the rocks and plants
And take a glance at the fancy ants
Then maybe try a few
The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!

A running gag throughout the first part of the song involves Mowgli attempting to emulate Baloo in gathering food, but failing miserably every time (can’t break a coconut with his head, sticks his finger on a prickly pear, almost gets crushed by a rock AND gets buried in an avalanche of bananas).

Look for the bare necessities
The simple bare necessities
Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
That’s why a bear can rest at ease
With just the bare necessities of life

Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
Have I given you a clue?

The bare necessities of life will come to you
They’ll come to you!

The Sherman brothers (who wrote all the songs in this film, amongst many other Disney films) wanted the music of The Jungle Book to have a “big band era” feel to it, so the music is full of swinging trumpets, saxophones and other jazzy instruments. This song in particular, always makes me want to get up and dance, no matter how tired I feel, and that’s a good type of song.

So just try and relax, yeah cool it
Fall apart in my backyard
‘Cause let me tell you something little britches
If you act like that bee acts, uh uh
You’re working too hard

And don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true
The bare necessities of life will come to you

I hope you enjoyed this look at “The Bear Necessities.”  Tomorrow will see a look at another classic song, “That’s What Friends Are For” aka “The Vulture Song” (I LOVE those vultures!!)

P.S. If you’re interested, I found a neat clip of Phil Harris on The Ed Sullivan Show singing a three song medley (sadly “The Bear Necessities” was not one of them), but it gives you a look at him singing in person. Enjoy!

Phil Harris on The Ed Sullivan Show

*all images are the property of Walt Disney Studios

Become a Patron of the blog at patreon.com/musicgamer460

Check out the YouTube channel (and consider hitting the subscribe button)

For earlier entries of The Jungle Book, see:

The Jungle Book “Trust in Me” (1967)

The Jungle Book “My Own Home”

The Jungle Book “I Wanna Be Like You” (1967)

The Jungle Book “That’s What Friends Are For/The Vulture Song”

The Jungle Book “Colonel Hathi’s March”

For more great Disney songs and films, check out the main page here: Disney Films & Soundtracks A-Z

Don’t forget to like Film Music Central on Facebook 🙂