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Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!

 

Elephant Boy (1937)


The Drum (1938)


Jungle Book (1942)

 

In the thirties and forties, the young Indian actor known as Sabu (born Selar Shaik) captured the hearts of moviegoers in Britain and the United States as a completely new kind of big-screen icon. Sabu was a maharaja’s elephant driver when he was cast in Elephant Boy, a Rudyard Kipling adaptation directed by documentary trailblazer Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda that would prove to be enormously popular. Sabu went on to headline a series of fantasies and adventures for the British film titans the Korda brothers, transcending the exoticism projected onto him by commanding the screen with effortless grace and humor. This series collects three of those lavish productions (which also included the classic The Thief of Bagdad): Elephant Boy, the colonialist adventure The Drum, and the timeless Jungle Book.

Titles


Elephant Boy
Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda 1937

Elephant Boy served as the breakthrough showcase for the thirteen-year-old Sabu, whose beaming performance as a young mahout leading the British on an expedition made him a major international star.

The Drum
Zoltán Korda 1938

Zoltán Korda’s charged adaptation of a novel by The Four Feathers author A. E. W. Mason features Sabu in his second film role, as the teenage Prince Azim, forced into hiding when his father, the ruler of a peaceful kingdom in northwest India, is assassinated by his own ruthless brother.

Jungle Book
Zoltán Korda 1942

This Korda brothers film is the definitive version of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of fables, starring Sabu as Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves, who can communicate with all the beasts of the jungle.


Posters

Theatrical Releases: 1937 - 1942

  DVD Reviews

DVD Review: Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! (3-disc) - Region 1 - NTSC

 

DVD Box Cover

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Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC
Bitrates: Respective bitrates - 7.8, 5.81, 5.34 mb/s
Time: Respectively - 1:22:06, 1:37:09, and 1:45:44
Bitrate:

Elephant Boy

Bitrate:

The Drum

Bitrate:

Jungle Book

Audio 2.0 channel Dolby
Subtitles English, None
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Eclipse / Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
All Original Aspect Ratios - 1.33:1 

Edition Details:

  •  one page (for each film) of liner notes in the transparent case


DVD Release Date: November 29th, 2011

3 Slim Transparent Keep Cases inside a Slipcase cardboard box
Chapters: 13, 17, 16

 

 

Comments:

The 3 features of this boxset are housed in individual slim transparent keep cases and they are not sold separately by Criterion or on NTSC DVD at this time (to my knowledge).

All three DVDs are single-layered, progressive in, and around, the 1.33:1 aspect ratio and are coded for Region 1 in the NTSC standard. The audio is flat but acceptable and there are optional English subtitles (samples below). The Eclipse, then Janus, logos precede each film.

Elephant Boy has some vertical scratches in the beginning but cleans up quite well as the film runs along with only some minor speckles to contend with. The Drum is closer to 1.30:1 with a shade off the sides of the frame - the colors look reasonably vibrant but have a tendency to run - and the image remains softish which may be more a factor of the original 1938 production. Visually it is consistent and gives a decent, if not stellar, presentation. Jungle Book is the star of the set - a very good film - with an impressive transfer. The image is brighter, colors show some intensity and detail is solid with excellent contrast.    

 

There are no extras aside from one page liner notes for each film (visible on the inner case sleeve through the transparent case cover.) 

There is a lot of interest in this set. Sabu's uniqueness as a star adds a kitschy and nostalgic appeal to the Eclipse package. These Korda sub-continent adventures are wonderful. Using the Kipling-esque style - the films have carved out their own niche using exotic locales and intriguingly different cultures marking them as educational, humorous and exciting. This is certainly recommended - I only wish there were more films to indulge in!

Gary W. Tooze


DVD Menus


 


 

 Case Cover

 

 

 

Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda shared best director honors at the Venice Film Festival for this charming translation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book story “Toomai of the Elephants.” A harmonious mix of its two filmmakers’ styles—Flaherty’s adeptness at ethnographic documentary meeting Korda’s taste for grand adventure—Elephant Boy also served as the breakthrough showcase for the thirteen-year-old Sabu, whose beaming performance as a young mahout leading the British on an expedition made him a major international star.

 

Screen Captures

 


 





 

Slim Transparent Keep Case Cover

 

 

Zoltán Korda’s charged adaptation of a novel by The Four Feathers author A. E. W. Mason features Sabu in his second film role, as the teenage Prince Azim, forced into hiding when his father, the ruler of a peaceful kingdom in northwest India, is assassinated by his own ruthless brother. Protected by a friendly British officer (Roger Livesey) and his wife (Valerie Hobson), and befriended by the regiment’s drummer boy, Prince Azim ends up fighting with the colonialists against his dastardly uncle. This rousing adventure includes an exuberant performance by Sabu and spectacular Technicolor cinematography by Georges Périnal and Osmond Borradaile.

 

 

Screen Captures

 


 




 


 

 Case Cover

 

 

 

This Korda brothers film is the definitive version of Rudyard Kipling’s classic collection of fables. Sabu stars as Mowgli, a boy raised by wolves, who can communicate with all the beasts of the jungle, friend or foe, and who gradually reacclimates to civilization with the help of his long lost mother and a beautiful village girl. Deftly integrating real animals into its fanciful narrative, Jungle Book is a shimmering Technicolor feast, and was nominated for four Oscars, including best cinematography, art direction, special effects, and music.

Screen Captures

 


 







 

DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

 

 

 

Distribution Eclipse / Criterion Collection - Region 1 - NTSC




 

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Gary Tooze

 

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