New Release: Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! DVD

Release Date: Nov. 29, 2011
Price: DVD $44.95
Studio: Criterion

Sabu movie scene

The young Indian actor Sabu is featured in Criterion's latest Eclipse Series installment.

Eclipse Series 30: Sabu! focuses on the films of the the Indian actor known as Sabu (born Selar Shaik), who, in the 1930s and 1940s, 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 discovered by documentary trailblazer Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North). Flaherty cast Sabu as the lead in Elephant Boy, a Rudyard Kipling movie adaptation Flaherty directed with Zoltán Korda (The Four Feathers) that would prove to be enormously popular.

Sabu went on to headline a series of classic fantasie films and adventures, transcending the exoticism projected onto him by commanding the screen with effortless grace and humor.

The Eclipse DVD collects three of the lavish movies that Sabu starred in for the British film titans the Korda brothers:

Elephant Boy (1937)
Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda shared best director honors at the Venice Film Festival for collaborating on this charming translation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book story “Toomai of the Elephants.” This film served as the breakthrough showcase for 13-year-old Sabu, whose performance as a young mahout leading the British on an expedition made him an international star.

The Drum (1938)
Zoltán Korda’s Technicolor adaptation of a novel by A. E. W. Mason (The Four Feathers) features Sabu in his second movie role as the teenage Prince Azim, who’s forced into hiding when his father, the ruler of a peaceful kingdom in northwest India, is assassinated by his ruthless brother.

Jungle Book (1942)
This Korda brothers shimmering Technicolor film is the quintessential 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 re-acclimates to civilization with the help of his long lost mother and a beautiful village girl.

There are no bonus features in the Sabu! DVD collection, as is generally the case with titles in Criterion’s Eclipse series.


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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.