[WHY’D IT HAVE TO BE SNAKES WEEK] PRELUDE TO A HISS: THE SNAKE SONGS OF ‘THE JUNGLE BOOK’

 

 

Sadly, there isn’t a sizeable selection of singing cinematic serpents in circulation, so I singled out a sole splendid song to satisfy your ‘s’uriosity.

 

 

“Trust in Me (The Python’s Song)”
From THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney, 1967)
Music and Lyrics by Richard M. Sherman & Robert B. Sherman
Director: Wolfgang Reitherman
Performed by Sterling Holloway

“Trust in Me” began life as “The Land of Sand,” a song the Sherman Brothers wrote for an unused sequence involving a magical compass in MARY POPPINS. It fits so perfectly into THE JUNGLE BOOK that it surprised me to learn that it was a trunk song. The way the melody slithers up and down the scale is deliciously hypnotic and serpentine. Sterling Holloway voiced Kaa in Disney’s first film of THE JUNGLE BOOK, and while it’s become an iconic scene in the Disney canon, Holloway doesn’t sing it especially well. It’s a wonderful voice performance, but it took 49 years and Disney’s third version of Kipling’s story to hear the music given its due.

 

 

 

 

“Trust in Me (The Python’s Song)”

From THE JUNGLE BOOK (Disney, 2016)
Director: Jon Favreau
Performed by Scarlett Johansson

Scarlett Johansson does excellent work as Kaa in the 2016 JUNGLE BOOK. Kaa is less predatory here than in the original, more likely to lull you to sleep with Simba’s Mowgli’s backstory than with her hypnotic powers. Unfortunately, the backstory takes up so much screen time that we only get about eight bars of “Trust in Me” in the movie proper, with the complete song relegated to the closing credits. Johansson’s version is sublime, hitting every note both musically and dramatically. And the retro-60s arrangement is bitchin’.

 

 

 

For further viewing, check out Bob Fosse’s performance of “Snake in the Grass” from Stanley Donen’s THE LITTLE PRINCE, and THE APPLE‘s delirious title song of temptation.

John Reents

All-Singing! All-Dancing! All-Knowing! Contributor to Daily Grindhouse.

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