A to Z of Films Meme (J)

Back to this meme after an invigorating weekend!


The Jungle BookJungleBook

Walt Disney died during the production of The Jungle Book. If this movie had not done well at the box office, the Disney animation studio would likely have been closed down, and we would have seen fewer animation films in our lifetime if that had happened.

The Jungle Book was not revolutionary in any way. Neither was it a landmark of any kind. Yet, it is one of Disney’s most memorable films. Universally accessible to people of all ages and geographies. Wonderful music, great story-telling. Disney also showed that animation films with a story based in a jungle of India can also be successful at the American box-office.

The narration and dialogue is intelligent. There are three villains – the king of the monkeys who wants to be like Mowgli, the tiger who wants to kill him, and the snake who wants to eat him. The film has a large cast and none of the animals are characterized in a superficial or monochromatic way. The characterization has depth and has shades of gray that endears them.

What makes this film special is that if any kid grows up without knowing about Mowgli and his friends, we’ll feel he’s lost a part of childhood that should never be lost.

Runner Up

JudgmentAtNurembergJudgment at Nuremberg

Judgment at Nuremberg is an adaptation of a true story about the post-war trial of those who served as judges during the Nazi regime. This serious courtroom drama tackles important philosophical questions of blame and responsibility regarding Nazi crimes. Were these judges just doing their jobs in the socio-political climate of their time? If they were guilty of crimes against humanity, what about ordinary German citizens?

The various details of the day-to-day life of the judges during the Nazi regime reveal how Germany, a civilized country, lost its soul to Adolf Hitler.

Judgment at Nuremberg is most memorable for the stunning performances of Schell as the defense counsel and Spencer Tracy as the honorable, intelligent, warm and objective judge. Tracy’s 11-minute speech at the end is said to have been done in a single take!

Noteworthy Mentions

Jaws, the thriller that launched the career of Steven Spielberg, one of the most important film-makers of our times. Jaws also showed that characterization, dialogue, and suspense make a better thriller than special effects alone.

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro (Just Let It Go, Friends) an Indian cult comedy, always enjoyable in repeat viewings. The climax, in which the movie plot becomes entwined with a stage production of The Mahabharata, is unforgettable.


14 thoughts on “A to Z of Films Meme (J)

  1. i love jungle book too. except that it wasn’t a lion trying to kill him, it was a tiger – sher khan. George Sanders does such a great job with voicing him. the suave menace comes through so well.

    bhageera and bhaalu – what characters – the last bit where bhaalu plays possum is possibly one of my favourite scenes in films. And, of course, the bare necessities of life.

    Ray’s Jalsagar is also a great film !

    i am so glad not to see Jab love huva or Jurassic Park on this list 🙂

  2. Ah…thanks! Yes, Sanders is exceptional. Bhaalu has become a great character by himself in the cartoon world…

    Jalsaaghar was too slow for me. I saw it as one of the many in a Ray festival, and wasn’t able to appreciate it when I saw it alongside Apu Trilogy and Charulata. I think I need to see it again.

    There’s a jab at Jurassic Park in the post if you notice! 🙂 And I’ve never heard of Jab love hua – or is that a generic name for mindless Bollywood fare?

  3. I simply couldn’t think of anything to comment on your (I) post and then I read about Jungle Book and it reminded me of ‘Ice Age’ 🙂

    So many people have so many memories linked to a simple story called Jungle Book. The movie is amazing of course. I remember when we were kids, a soft drink called Gold Spot had jungle book characters in the bottle caps. The adapted TV show in India had a nice opening song ‘chaddi pehenke phool khila hai…’

    Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro is an absolute cult classic. I knew you would list it here.

    I also liked Jewel Thief. The plot is well developed. ‘Raat Akeli Hai…’ filmed on Tanuja and sung of course by Asha, to me is one of the sexiest bollywood songs.

    I have seen lot of history channel documentaries on Judgment at Nuremberg, but haven’t seen the movie itself. Have to see it now. Reading about this movie also reminded me of JFK and Kevin Costner’s appeal towards the end of the movie.

  4. other than judgement saw all the others and loved them
    all cult classics … wonderful pics

    Infact i was barely a teen when i saw jaws and it did have a profound impact on my dreams … nightmares

  5. Ice Age – yes, wonderful entertainment!

    I remembered the Gold Spot caps while writing the post! We used to go nuts trying to collect them. I think it was the first Hollywood film to have popular ‘memorabilia’ in India. I didn’t see the TV show.

    Jewel Thief – standard fare me thinks. Yes, wonderful music of course! I have yet to see JFK and it is on my list! 🙂

  6. Judgment at Nu… is one of my most favorite films too..Spencer Tracy was really really so good in it. The film might not look that great to some people of this generation, but if you watch it in the context of when it was made and all, you cannot help but be bowled over by it..
    Jaws had a simple storyline, but done so well by Spielberg..
    Jaane bhi do yaaron was the best dark comedy of Indian Cinema..

  7. I think because of channels like Turner Classics, it has become easier for even our generation to appreciate older Hollywood films. The other Spencer Tracy courtroom drama of course is the one with ‘W’, so I won’t mention it here. 🙂

  8. JB, all-time favorite. I had seen Judgment at Nuremberg long ago – both orig. & English, but it didn’t stick with me all that much.

    Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro, I saw it very late – and by then it was so hyped, it lost its charm 😦

    As Harini said, Jalasagar – that one really touched my heart.

    Also Jana Aranya – which brings me to our conversation a few post ago (12 Angry Men) about the camera technique transcending to the narration as an allegory?

    So if I remember right, Somnath has to cross a certain (railway?) crossing with the usual drainpipes/muck regularly to get to a certain place. And everytime he does it, we see his back, and it’s a long/distant shot. But there’s a point in the movie where he finally has to compromise his principles – and that’s the one time he’s shown jumping over the same muck/drain pipe, but it’s a close-up shot, and he faces us. I had seen it a few years ago; I probably need to see it again for an accurate description.

    Damn, long comment again.

  9. As I said, I need to see Jalsaghar again!

    Alas, I have not seen Jana Aranya! I tried Googling unsuccessfully for the camera technique thingy. Couldn’t find anything. But knowing Ray, I think you are bang on target. Now that you describe it, it brings a certain déjà vu. I think such a technique works when several repeat shots are done in the same way, followed by a significant variation that strikes us as ‘different’. I think I’ve seen such a technique used in some other films, can’t remember any specifics though.

  10. what about Jait Re Jait ?

    sorry im keeping u busy with so many comments
    but to me u are a film geek so i really cant help it.

  11. I haven’t seen it, and don’t know if its a good film. What it is famous for is the songs, which are household songs in each Marathi household! I haven’t met anyone who has actually recommended the film. Would like more feedback from any of the other readers!

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