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Turner Classic Movies: Gunga Din and The Asphalt Jungle

Updated on March 25, 2013

I recently watched the 1939 film, Gunga Din, on Turner Movie Classics. The movie Gung Din is the standard format for buddy movies. The story takes place in India in the 1880’s. Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. are three sergeants in the British Army. Sam Jaffe plays Gunga Din, a water boy who saves the British Army in a battle against the Thuggees. The film ends with the final lines of Rudyard Kipling’s classic poem Gunga Din.

The movie Gunga Din is enjoyable because director George Stevens does a superb job framing the action.

Gunga Din was remade in 1962 as the film Sergeants Three, starring Frank Sinatra and the entire Rat Pack. Sergeants Three takes place in the 1870s American West. This film is a satire.

George Clooney made a movie Three Kings in 1999. The 1991 Gulf War in Iraq is the backdrop for the film. Clooney plays a major. Mark Wahlberg and Ice Cube are sergeants. The movie is also a satire. The film is not based on the Gunga Din story but is a very entertaining war buddy movie.

Hollywood remakes movies with variations. Frank Sinatra and the original Rat Pack made the 1960 film Ocean’s Eleven. George Clooney and his own group of stars successfully remade Ocean’s Eleven in 2001. The Sinatra version is a more subdued film then Clooney’s high tech crime flick. The first time I drove into Las Vegas in 1969, I made sure to visit all the hotels featured in 1960 movie. I was also in Vegas in 2001. Clooney’s Vegas was a totally different world then Sinatra’s Las Vegas of the 1960’s and 1970’s. The original 1960 Ocean’s Eleven can be seen on Turner Movie Classics.

Sam Jaffe, the star of Gunga Din was nominated for an Academy Award as best supporting actor in the 1950 crime classic film The Asphalt Jungle. Jaffe plays, Doc Riedenschneider, a criminal who masterminds a jewel robbery. Sterling Hayden steals the movie as Doc’s hooligan enforcer. There is also an appearance by a young, beautiful and extremely sexy Marilyn Monroe. The Asphalt Jungle directed by John Huston is an American classic crime drama and can be seen on Turner Movie Classics.

Th Asphalt Jungle

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