The Jungle Book

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Details At A Glance

Category Family Film Recommendations
Year Released 1966
Running Time 75:22 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (50:53)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Wolfgang Reithermann
Walt Disney Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring Phil Harris
Sebastian Cabot
J. Pat O'Malley 
Case Transparent Amaray
RPI $39.95 Music George Bruns

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Dutch (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Polish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Hebrew (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Hungarian (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Czech (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192 Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Original Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    And so finally we get the last of the first batch of seven animated classics from Disney on Region 4 DVD - and it is almost like saving the best for last, as The Jungle Book is my choice for the best of all the Disney animated features. All the usual ingredients are there: cute characters, decent story, great animation and great songs.

    Based upon the Rudyard Kipling stories of young Mowgli, Disney's nineteenth animated feature was the last made whilst Walt Disney was alive. In many ways, it shows Walt's influence, for the company made little of note after The Jungle Book until The Little Mermaid.

    Mowgli is an orphan man-cub who was raised by a wolf pack. The return of Shere Khan, the tiger, sees the wolf pack electing to have Mowgli returned to his own kind - which is first attempted by Bagheera the panther (Sebastian Cabot). Since Mowgli is determined to stay in the jungle, things go a little astray - especially when Baloo the bear (Phil Harris) gets involved. Along the way to the usual sugary Disney ending, we have the delights of Kaa, the outrageous King Louie, the pompous Colonel Hathi and a bunch of vultures who never cease to remind me of The Beatles.

    The Jungle Book has a nicely crafted story, less sugary than normal from this source in my view, brought to life under the guidance of Disney legend Wolfgang Reithermann. Demonstrating some of the best traditional animation to have come from the Disney studio up to that time, this still stands up well over thirty years later. Best known perhaps for some terrific music, this is as toe-tapping an exercise as has ever come from this source.

    The Jungle Book is an absolute classic in every sense of the word, which still delights many, many years after the first time I ever saw it. Now if only the rest of Disney animated legacy could be forthcoming on a somewhat more pacy schedule, it would surely be appreciated.

Transfer Quality


    A classic film demands a classic transfer, and in general Disney have done the job here.

    The transfer is presented in its original 1.33:1 Full Frame format, and it is of course not 16x9 enhanced.

    This is a wonderfully sharp and detailed transfer that shines in the digital age, despite its obvious limitations as a result of age and origin. Whilst it is showing its age a little with the odd lapse in clarity, there is little here to detract from the enjoyment of the show. Shadow detail is as good as could be expected for the source and the age. There did not seem to be any low level noise problems with the transfer.

    The colours here shine quite nicely indeed, and whilst not the most vibrant transfer to grace these animated releases, this is a nicely consistent and colourful presentation that looks as good as it can possibly look. Saturation is spot-on and there is no hint of oversaturation here. There are no colour bleed problems.

    There did not appear to be any significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. There did not appear to be any problems with film-to-video artefacts in the transfer. There did not seem to be any real problems with film artefacts.

    This is an RSDL formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 50:53. This is a very well-handled layer change, coming in a black scene change and therefore completely non-disruptive to the film. The use of the RSDL format DVD for such a short film is as good a reason for the very good transfer as any, as it permits a consistently high transfer bitrate (well into the 9Mb/s range).

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    There are eight audio tracks on the DVD, all being Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded soundtracks: English, French, Italian, Dutch, Polish, Hebrew, Hungarian and Czechoslovakian. I listened to the English soundtrack. Note that the packaging refers to the Hebrew as being Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, but this is not confirmed by PowerDVD.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.

    There did not appear to be any hint at all of audio sync problems with the transfer. Ha, ha! Of course, the film suffers from the usual animation sync problems, but who cares!

    The musical score comes from George Bruns, with the songs coming from the famed team of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman. Take the music and songs away from the film, and it would not be anywhere near as good. Wonderful stuff indeed.

    Obviously lacking the presence of a complete 5.1 remaster, this is actually a good decision by Buena Vista to stay with a 2.0 soundtrack. The result is a wonderful sounding effort that can be turned up to really enjoy the wonderful music. Surround presence is pretty much confined to the front channels but the result is an open-sounding effort that does not have any hint of distortion or congestion. Obviously, you can forget about the bass channel here.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    Sorry, but I really do not consider film recommendations to be extras, and a film of this stature really demands a far better effort than was not afforded here.


R4 vs R1

    Originally released in a Limited Issue version in Region 1, this was quickly supplanted by a more general release that is virtually identical in content to the Region 4 release. Region 4 is therefore the region of choice owing to PAL formatting. A direct comparison between the two versions shows the slightly higher resolution of the PAL format as the key difference.


    The Jungle Book is a tremendously enjoyable film that definitely has the status of a classic film. However, as technically good as the DVD is, and as good as the content is, I have serious qualms about the $39.95 price point for a 76 minute film on a DVD devoid of any substantive extras.

    A very good video transfer.

    A good audio transfer.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Ian Morris (have a laugh, check out the bio)
16th September 2000

Review Equipment
DVD Pioneer DV-515; S-video output
Display Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Built in
Amplification Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Speakers Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL