*/**** Image B- Sound C Extras A
starring Cary Grant, Victor McLaglen, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Joan Fontaine
screenplay by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, based on the poem by Rudyard Kipling
directed by George Stevens
by Walter Chaw To say that George Stevens's Gunga Din hasn't aged well overlooks the cold reality that the best one could ever say for it is that its hinges were once merely creaky instead of frozen. (It also presupposes that being a decent, moral person meant something different in 1939 than it does in 2005.) The picture is almost impossible to watch for a modern audience: the characterizations are broad and insulting; the dialogue strongly suggests that Rudyard Kipling's poems should be left untransmogrified (even by William Faulkner--deep in the sauce when it came his turn) into filmic narrative; and the attitude towards empiricism and oppressed native populations on display was always condescending and appalling for anyone not currently being shot at.