28

SUNDAY

Imagine a time when Hollywood made movies based on poems. It really happened, kids, a long time ago—1939, in fact, when Rudyard Kipling’s “Gunga Din” was transformed into an RKO actioner by the same name. But the Tinseltown wizards shouldn’t be credited with too much literary high-mindedness, for the title role went not to an actual native of the Indian subcontinent but instead to New Yorker Sam Jaffe. Hey—Jew, Indian, close enough, right? It’s not as if Kipling’s text is all that sensitive, either: “You limpin’ lump o’ brick-dust”? The story of a lowly waterboy who saves the hides of three of the Queen’s Own is pure imperialist hokum. But still, the movie works, thanks largely to the considerable onscreen talents and charms of Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Victor McLaglen, aided by a script by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur. See Gunga Din with someone better than yourself at 1 p.m. (see Showtimes for other dates) at the American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. $8.50. (301) 495-6700. (Dave Nuttycombe)