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Elephant Boy

(1937 b 82')

En: 5 Ed: 6

Adapted from Rudyard Kipling's "Toomai of the Elephants," an Indian boy leads a British hunter to a herd of elephants.

Toomai (Sabu) explains the noble profession of handling elephants he inherited. The Mysore government is recruiting elephants, and Toomai takes his elephant to bathe in the river. Petersen (Walter Hudd) tells the Commissioner (Wilfrid Hyde-White) he needs forty elephants. Stories say the elephants have gone north. Petersen signs up elephants but rejects a dangerous one. Toomai tells Petersen that he learns from his elephant, and Petersen lets him come with his father on the hunt. Toomai prays.

In the jungle Toomai climbs a tree to catch an animal and tells Petersen that water is nearby. The elephants move heavy logs, and a stockade is built. After six weeks Petersen says no elephant has been found. Toomai says he can find them; but the Indians say he must see them dance and laugh. Petersen is told of a tiger by Toomai's father (W. E. Holloway), who is killed by the tiger before Petersen shoots it. Toomai faints but bravely lights the funeral pyre. Kala Nag cries, and Petersen gives him to Rham Lahi (Bruce Gordon), who whips him. Kala Nag knocks down Rham Lahi and goes on a rampage. Toomai stops Petersen from shooting and talks to Kala Nag, calming him down. Toomai offers Kala Nag to the injured Rham Lahi, who says he must be shot. Petersen offers Rham Lahi 100 rupees; but Rham Lahi insists until Petersen says he will throw him out of the camp.

To keep him from being shot, Toomai flees with Kala Nag. Machua Appa (Allan Jeayes) tells Petersen that Toomai and Kala Nag are gone. Petersen goes after them. Toomai sleeps, and Kala Nag goes toward other elephants. Toomai wakes and calls before he sees a small herd. He climbs on Kala Nag and follows them to a large gathering. Toomai is found by Petersen and his men. Toomai asks Petersen not to shoot Kala Nag and tells him of hundreds of elephants. Petersen, Machua Appa, and others with torches herd them to the river and into the stockade as Toomai rides Kala Nag. Petersen gives Toomai to Machua Appa to be a hunter. Machua Appa says that Toomai has seen the elephants dance. The Indians bow and cheer Toomai of the elephants, and Toomai weeps.

A gentle boy tames not only a large elephant but human conflicts as well in this adventure story with much elephant footage.

Copyright © 2000 by Sanderson Beck

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