Directed by Wolfgang Reitherman (USA, 1967, 78 min.).

The last film produced by Walt Disney before his death in late 1966, The Jungle Book is considered by many to be the pinnacle of Disney’s animation legacy. After taking a more passive role in the studio’s previous film, The Sword in the Stone, Disney was deeply invested in every detail of this project, insisting that the story be told with warmth and lightness, and without the more sinister tone of Kipling’s book. This was achieved with a rollicking soundtrack, one of Disney’s best, including the upbeat number “The Bare Necessities,” which was nominated for an Academy Award.

More than ever before, the animators took inspiration from the personalities of the stellar voice cast and infused these into the characters’ movements and appearance. The actors were also encouraged to improvise their lines—especially Phil Harris, whose memorable voice made Baloo a beloved character. These lively touches, plus hand-painted backgrounds resembling 1960s textiles and a quartet of vultures who look and sound a lot like The Beatles, make The Jungle Book a rousing family film that captures the essence of its time.

Also screening on August 26.
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