- Year created: 1894
- Disney premier: 1967
- Main personality issue: Raised by bloodthirsty wild animals
- Similar to: Peter Pan
The Mowgli cartoon is a character from the 1967 American animated film The Jungle Book, produced by Walt Disney Productions and was released on October 18, 1967. It is the 19th animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series. It was inspired by the stories about the feral child Mowgli cartoon from the book of the same name by Rudyard Kipling. The early versions of both the screenplay and the soundtrack followed Kipling’s work more closely, with a dramatic, dark, and sinister tone which Disney did not want in his family film, leading to writer Bill Peet and composer Terry Gilkyson being replaced. The Jungle Book was released to positive reception. The film grossed over $73 million in the United States in its first release, and as much again from two re-releases.
After The Sword in the Stone was released, storyman Bill Peet claimed to Walt Disney that “we [The animation departement] can do more interesting animal characters” and suggested that Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book could be used for the studio’s next film. Disney agreed and Peet created an original treatment, with little supervision, as he had done with One Hundred and One Dalmatians and The Sword in the Stone. However, after the disappointing reaction to The Sword in the Stone, Walt Disney decided to become more involved in the story than he had been with the past two films, with his nephew Roy E. Disney saying that “[he] certainly influenced everything about it. (…) With Jungle Book, he obviously got hooked on the jungle and the characters that lived there.”
Walt Disney and the Mowgli Cartoon
While many of the later Disney feature films had animators being responsible for single characters, in The Jungle Book the animators were in charge of whole sequences, since many have characters interacting with one another. The Jungle Book also marks the last animated film from the company to have Disney’s personal touches, before his death on December 15, 1966.
Elements of The Jungle Book were recycled in the later Disney feature film Robin Hood due to that film’s limited budget, such as Baloo being inspiration for Little John (who not only was a bear, but also voiced by Phil Harris). In particular, the dance sequence between Baloo and King Louie was simply rotoscoped for Little John and Lady Cluck’s dance. It has been widely acclaimed by animators, with Eric Goldberg declaring The Jungle Book “boasts possibly the best character animation a studio has ever done”. The animators of Aladdin, The Lion King and Lilo & Stitch claimed to have taken some inspiration from the design and animation of the film, and four people involved with Disney’s animations, director Brad Bird and animators Andreas Deja, Glen Keane and Sergio Pablos, have declared the film to be their inspiration for entering the business.
Some of this article uses modified material from the Wikipedia Mowgli cartoon article on The Mowgli Cartoon “The_Jungle_Book_(1967_film)“, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.