0135: Gunga Din (1939)

Gunga Din

Rating: 5.5/10

If you’re familiar with any of the original Star Wars or Indiana Jones movies you’ll immediately recognize a certain style that’s apparent in those films and elsewhere. It’s an adventure story of people traveling through an exotic land from a long, long time ago (1800s) in a place far, far away (India). Much like Indiana Jones, it combines action with comedy to produce amazing results.

Something many viewers might find distracting in this movie is the music. The original score, though done well at points, mostly it simply doesn’t fit the film. It can make certain parts meant for action feel more like something out of Looney Tunes. It’s too bad John Williams can’t go back in time and redo the music as this doesn’t quite cut it for this type of film.

Also, the title character Gunga Din, an Indian person, is played by a white guy. They just put a bunch of makeup all over him since he’s mostly naked save some cloths around his waist. After seeing Birth of a Nation, I don’t think racism like this should be forgiven from any time period. Another thing, much like Black Narcissus, why are these title characters, supposed to be racially diverse, but they’re put in as minor characters with little to do with the actual story and they both seem even more racist in hindsight. Why? Just why?

Though this is a fine adventure movie, it’s not anything that stands out among all the adventure movies that have ever come out. Though it obviously inspired George Lucas when he made Indiana Jones and perhaps Star Wars as well, this isn’t nearly as good as those two properties and falls to the wayside by comparison.

Why you should watch it before you die: Because you like adventure movies or Cary Grant movies, it’s not bad on either count, just there are better things out there.

SCORING:
+6: Totally adequate adventure movie

-1: Hollywood whitewashing

-.5: Strange musical choices

+1: comedy is good throughout

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