The Jungle Book and the Sherman Brothers: Part 3
Robbie Sherman's three-part blog series celebrating the 2016 reboot of The Jungle Book concludes with consideration of the Sherman Brothers' song "Trust in Me", sung in the new film by Scarlett Johansson.
"Trust In Me" - which has been covered successfully on a number of occasions by various cutting-edge artists over the past five decades and, most recently, by Scarlett Johansson for the score of the 2016 reboot of the movie - deals with nothing less than the dark art of mind control through hypnotic suggestion.
"Kaa", the snake, puts Mowgli under hypnosis with the intention of crushing the boy to death – again, please note that I've added no hyperbole. This would seem more the stuff of The Manchurian Candidate,than a gentle "G" rated Disney film. In any event, at least The Manchurian Candidate did not make a small boy the subject of his dastardly plot.
In the 1967 The Jungle Book motion picture, brilliant character actor Sterling Holloway (who also provided the iconic voice of Winnie the Pooh) plays the part of "Kaa" (the snake). With the simple, comical addition of a "th" sound when instead an "s" sound should be uttered, Holloway's affected lisp provides the song with just enough irony to make the moment comical and inoffensive.
I took the photo above of my father and uncle being interviewed at the Browns Hotel in Mayfair on 11 September 2007 during The Jungle Book 40th Anniversary DVD promotional tour. It was in this very suite that Rudyard Kipling completed writing The Jungle Bookin 1894.
After the interview, the Sherman Brothers discussed an unrelated song lyric and bounced ideas for that lyric back and forth. Several lines from that song were written that day, and in that room. I believe that that was the last time the two Sherman Brothers ever worked on a song together in the same room - the same room that Rudyard Kipling finished The Jungle Book. How's that for interesting symmetry?!
For my own sense of symmetry, I’m looking forward to seeing the new version of The Jungle Book. It looks like a major new interpretation.