Genre Guesstimation – Gunga Din (1939)

The idea behind this feature (Genre Guesstimation) is for me to watch a bunch of new movies (or ones that I haven’t seen many times) from the chosen monthly GG genre in order to expand my knowledge of movies within that particular genre.

This month’s Genre has been chosen by Damien of Riley Central we will be reviewing our favorite Adventure Movies.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of May by sending them to

Try to think out of the box!

Great choice Damien!

Let’s see if I felt that this movie would be worthy of being in the company of my others favorite movies in the genre of Adventure Films…

gunga din“Mad? Mad. Hannibal was mad, Caesar was mad, and Napoleon surely was the maddest of the lot. Ever since time began, they’ve called mad all the great soldiers in this world. Mad? We shall see what wisdom lies within my madness. For this is but the spring that precedes the flood. From here we roll on. From village to town. From town to mighty city. Ever mounting, ever widening, until at last my wave engulfs all India! ” – Guru

Number of Times Seen – 1 (9 May 2016)

Brief Synopsis – In British ruled India in the late 19th century, 3 British soldiers and their water bearer Gunga Din set out for fortune and glory at a hidden temple and come across an ancient cult that has been revitalized.

My Take on it – This is a movie that I’ve been interested in seeing for years and just never got around to seeing it.

Thankfully, this month’s genre gave me the opportunity to finally tackle this challenge.

First of all, I knew very little about the premise before seeing it and when I heard that the cult was the Thuggee Cult which thanks to another Adventure film, I was already quite familiar with on a cinematic level.

This added much more meaning to me as to what the characters were up against.

The cast was great with Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Sam Jaffee and Joan Fontaine all doing wonderful jobs. Jaffee is the obvious standout as the title character who does a great job playing a native Indian despite himself being a Russian-Jewish American (see Trivia below).

The story works well, but I was expecting it to be slightly better than it was.

Bottom Line – Loved how I was already familiar (cinematically) with the Thuggee Cult which added more to the meaning of it all.  Great cast with a pretty good adventure script for its time.  Really loved the fact that the title character was played by someone so far from the race of the actual character. Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Sabu was first choice to play Gunga Din; when it became clear he was unavailable, Sam Jaffe was hired in his place. In an interview years later, Jaffe (a Jewish Russian-American) was asked how he so convincingly played an Indian Muslim. Jaffe replied he kept telling himself to “Think Sabu.” (From IMDB)

Genre Grandeur Worthy? – Close, but just doesn’t work as well as I would have hoped.

Rating – Globe Worthy


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Here is a link to my movie index A-Z

6 thoughts on “Genre Guesstimation – Gunga Din (1939)

  1. Pingback: Movies Reviewed Index A-Z |

  2. This is a movie I’ve been meaning to see because according to Michael at Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom is not only a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark but also serves as a sequel to Gunga Din. So I need to see this movie to better appreciate Temple of Doom.


  3. Pingback: Genre Grandeur May Finale – Castaway – Riley on Film |

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