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Sabu! [Criterion Collection] [3 Discs] [DVD]

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Overview

Synopsis

The Drum
The Drum is an opulent Technicolor "British India" epic, based on a story by A.E.W. Mason (of Four Feathers fame). Teenaged actor Sabu stars as a young East Indian prince educated in England. By rights, his loyalties should lie with his countrymen, but in typical "Sun Never Sets" fashion most of the other Indian characters are as evil and untrustworthy as Prince Guhl (Raymond Massey). Guhl plans a revolt against the British, intending to wipe out the Royal troops as the English officers enjoy the hospitality of Guhl's spacious palace. It's up to Sabu to warn the troops of Guhl's treachery by means of tapping out a message on the drum of the title. In the US, The Drum was released as Drums, on the theory (according to film historian Alan Barbour) that Americans must have more of everything. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Elephant Boy
The unusual amalgam of documentary maven Robert Flaherty and pure-entertainment producer Zoltan Korda resulted in the 1937 money-spinner Elephant Boy. In his screen debut, eleven-year-old Indian-born Sabu plays the title character, a mahout named Toomai. When his father is killed by a tiger, Toomal is left alone and unprotected and not long afterward loses his beloved elephant to a sadistic "driver." Stealing back the pachyderm and heading into the wilderness, Toomal stumbles across a herd of wild elephants, which the British government has long been seeking. With visions of a huge reward in his head, Toomal offers to lead the authorities to the elusive herd -- whereupon the "dramatic" portion of the story gracefully gives way to the "documentary" portion. More intriguing than entertaining, Elephant Boy was nonetheless one of the most successful films of its kind. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book isn't always faithful to the Rudyard Kipling original (in fact, it seldom is), but 1942 audiences swept up in the grandeur of the production values and the lush Technicolor photography didn't mind at all. Indian juvenile-star Sabu plays Mowgli, who having been lost in the jungle as an infant has been raised by wolves. While he has no trouble conversing with his animal neighbors (whose voices aren't as ludicrous as you might think, though we never imagined that a snake could sound like Lionel Barrymore), Mowgli yearns to touch base with his human roots; thus, he returns to the native village whence he came. With the help of his jungle companions, Mowgli rescues his adoptive family, his natural mother (Rosemary DeCamp) and the rest of the humans from the greedy machinations of villains Joseph Calleia, John Qualen and Frank Puglia. Adapted for the screen by Lawrence Stallings and co-directed by Zoltan Korda and Andre De Toth, The Jungle Book scored a significant hit for its distributor United Artists, who really needed a smash at this point in time. The film would be remade (so to speak) as a Disney animated feature in 1967, and again as a live-actioner (with "politically correct" British villains) in 1994. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

Cast & Crew

  • Raymond Massey
    Raymond Massey - Prince Ghul
  • Roger Livesey
    Roger Livesey - Tony Carruthers
  • Valerie Hobson
    Valerie Hobson - Mrs. Carruthers
  • Image coming soon
    David Tree - Lieutenent Escott
  • Image coming soon
    Desmond Tester - Bill Holder
Product images, including color, may differ from actual product appearance.