Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda

Elephant Boy

Elephant Boy

Robert Flaherty and Zoltán Korda shared best director honors at the Venice Film Festival for this charming translation of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book story “Toomai of the Elephants.” A harmonious mix of its two filmmakers’ styles—Flaherty’s adeptness at ethnographic documentary meeting Korda’s taste for grand adventure—Elephant Boy also served as the breakthrough showcase for the thirteen-year-old Sabu, whose beaming performance as a young mahout leading the British on an expedition made him a major international star.

Film Info

  • United Kingdom
  • 1937
  • 82 minutes
  • Black & White
  • 1.33:1
  • English

Available In

Collector's Set

Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!

Eclipse 30: Sabu!

DVD Box Set

3 Discs


Elephant Boy
W. E. Holloway
Walter Hudd
Allan Jeayes
Machua Appa
Bruce Gordon
Rham Lahl
D. J. Williams
Hyde White
Robert Flaherty
Zoltán Korda
Alexander Korda
Based on “Toomai of the Elephants” by
Rudyard Kipling
John Collier
Screenplay collaboration
Akos Tolnay
Screenplay collaboration
Marcia De Silva
Osmond Borradaile
Charles Crichton
Original music by
John Greenwood
Musical director
Muir Matheson


Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!
Eclipse Series 30: Sabu!
Elephant Boy: Child’s Play It’s hard to imagine a movie role more perfectly suited to the actor playing it than Toomai in Elephant Boy (1937), the part that made Selar Shaik—known as Sabu—one of the least likely superstars in Western cinema h…

By Michael Koresky


The Kordas

Director, Producer

The Kordas
The Kordas

During sound cinema’s first full decade, the Hungarian-born Korda brothers—Alexander, Zoltán, and Vincent—built a British empire. The mastermind behind their legendary company, London Films Productions, was producer, director, writer, and eventual mega-mogul Alex; born Sándor Kellner, he became interested in the art of silent cinema as a teenager in his home country, writing criticism and even founding a movie magazine before finding success making his own films all over Europe. In the late twenties, following a short stint in Hollywood, Alex was sent to England to head up Paramount’s British Production Unit; in 1932, he established London Films and brought aboard his younger siblings, Zoltán as a writer/director and Vincent as a production designer. Their first big hit was The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933), which earned Charles Laughton an Oscar and the Kordas international attention. The rest of the thirties held highs (The Rise of Catherine the Great, Elephant Boy) and lows (The Private Life of Don Juan) for the company. But its films—often about historical personalities (Rembrandt) or the exploits of the British Empire abroad (Sanders of the River, The Four Feathers)—remain exemplars of a grand period of British cinema. In the forties, the Kordas only grew in stature—due not only to such immensely popular titles as The Thief of Bagdad and That Hamilton Woman but also to the selection of Alexander, the first film director to be so honored, for knighthood.