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I'm one of many thirty-somethings that grew up on this movie and later
suffered nightmares featuring the Child Catcher. To this day, I still feel
an uneasy chill when I hear the words "kiddie-winkies". Bit I still love
this film on several levels. I loved it as a child because it's great
for children. I love it as a film student because it's a well-crafted,
timeless fairytale. And I love it as an adult because it full of suggestive
double meanings, much like the Warner Bros cartoons of the 1940s - the type
of things that shoot straight over kids' heads and make adults snicker
knowingly. With a screenplay penned by Ian Fleming, this should come as no
Dick Van Dyke is Caractacus Potts, a wacky inventor who inexplicably lives in England with his two inexplicably English children. Caractacus Potts...wacky inventor,,,get it? Hoo hah! Potts and his two children (whose pictures may be seen in the dictionary next to the word "moppet") live with the senior Mr. Potts in a windmill/labratory. Caractacus rescues a junked motorcar from rusting in a field and restores it to new - meet Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, named for the sounds the car makes. Soon thereafter in one of those Pipi Longstocking-esque child-arranged dates, Potts and his two children go on a picnic with local richgirl Truly Scrumptious - possibly the best Bond Girl name since Pussy Galore. As the day winds down, Potts tells the children a story, in which the foursome embark on a great adventure in the resplendent Chitty Chitty Bang Bang which Potts as rigged to fly, float, drive itself, and perform other turn-of-the-century Batmobile-like functions.
Our heroes end up in a far away kingdom ruled over by the Baron and Baroness Bomburst (Gert Frobe and Anna Quayle), a terribly sad place where children have been outlawed, rounded up, and kept in a dungeon. The gang and Chitty invade the kingdom to rescue Potts' father, who has mistakenly been identified as the inventor of the flying car and kidnapped. There, they befriend a toymaker (played by Benny Hill in one of his stock characters from his TV show) who hides the children while they attempt to spring grandpa Potts. Enter the Child Catcher, who lures the children with free lollipops and takes them away to the dungeon. Potts and the toymaker (who now only makes toys for the child-like king) hatch a plan to infiltrate the castle, rescue the elder Potts and the twin moppets, and free all the other children as well.
I have two favorite scenes in this film. One is the musical number in the castle, where Truly and Potts are disguised as huge toys for the Baron's birthday. Truly is a wind-up doll on a music box, and Potts is a marionette who does a dance number that not only convinces you that he really is on strings, but that Dick Van Dyke is one of the most talented performers ever to be caught on film. My other favorite scene, I admit with guilt, is the one where the Baron and Baroness are readying themselves for bedtime, and prancing around the room in nightclothes calling each other by ultra-gooey-cute pet names. However, whenever the Baroness isn't looking, Baron Goldfinger takes a swing at her with an axe. It's the most entertainingly erotic scene in a kiddie flick since Natalie Wood was covered in cream pies while wearing only frilly turn-of-the-century underwear in "The Great Race".
This film is a rare treat. It's a film that appeals to kids and keeps adults interested at the same time. Let your kids watch it, watch it with them, or just watch it yourself when you're in the mood for some pure, escapist fun.
And try not to think about the Child Catcher when you go to bed afterward.
It surprises me that some people think this is a horrible film. I was 3 when this film was released and for as long as I can remember I've loved it! The songs are fun, especially Hushabye Mountian, Chu-chi Face and Me Ole Bamboo. This movie is both light, cheery as well as dark and creepy, the Child Catcher to this day is one of the scariest villians I know! And know it is a fabulous musical in London! Hopefully someday it will come to Broadway, I'd love to see it on stage!.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was one of those films from my childhood that I never outgrew. Every song, every outrageous comic moment tattooed itself on my memory and my heart. I love this film. It's funny, it's touching and it's beautifully made. True, it's not for the cynical or for those who want realism. For those, however, who seek adventure, comedy, great songs and most of all fun this classic 60's musical delivers it all in great style. A truly fun family film, although very small children may not be able to sit still through the entire movie (even with the Intermission). CCBB will always be at the top of my favourite movie list. Do yourself a favour if you like fun musical comedies and see Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes do some truly scrumptious work.
My two sons (now 4 and 2) have been obsessed with this movie for over a year now. They sing along to the songs and dance too - when old bamboo comes on, they pick up their sticks and hats and copy the routine. This is like an extended pantomime, with the scariest pantomime baddie in the history of movies. My brother couldn't sleep for a week after first seeing the childcatcher when he was 8. Anyway, this movie has everything - humour, pathos, great acting (and great casting), great songs and a great script (thank you Roald Dahl). I cannot fault this movie apart from the fact that it is a little long and the bit where they go off to vulgaria is a bit overextended. My family has now been to see the stage show twice too, and we are all firm "bang bang" nuts. If your kids have not seen this movie, then they haven't had a proper childhood!
Plain and simply, this is one of the best family films ever made. The fact that someone other than Disney made the film seems to have blinded some pundits (e.g., Disney scholar and film critic Leonard Maltin) to its many and varied charms. For "Chitty," in fact, originated in the book by James Bond creator Ian Fleming and, horror of horrors, was produced outside Hollywood by Albert Broccoli, the man behind the successful Bond film series. Yet, a closer look at the credits reveals the presence of the same musical composers, the much-heralded Sherman Brothers and Irwin Kostal, who could do no wrong when they wrote for Disney, but somehow left their talent behind when they signed on with Mr. Broccoli. (Note Maltin's comment in his 2007 film guide that the film's score is "forgettable.") The same apparently happened with the choreographers Dee Dee Wood and Marc Breaux, who are universally acclaimed for their work on "Mary Poppins," but ignored, at least by Maltin, for the snappy and often elaborate routines in "Chitty." In fact, the songs, background music and dances here are as good or better than anything in Disney and often actually advance the plot, rather than grinding it to a halt in the more customary way. A case in point is Caractacus' "Old Bamboo" song and dance routine, which provides not only an instantly memorable tune (and dance), but also the financial means to save Chitty from the scrap heap. The cast itself is nothing short of superb, with American comic actor Dick Van Dyke wisely eschewing any attempt at an English accent, something many of us wish he had done a few years earlier in "Poppins." (In a 1998 appearance on the Rosie O'Donnell show, the self-effacing Mr. Van Dyke acknowledged his limitation in the area of English accents.) The actors playing the children are a genuine delight, charming and sincere without being cloying, while the supporting cast is filled with more marvelous British character actors than one can count, not the least of them being Lionel Jeffries (actually six months younger than Van Dyke, whose father he was playing) and comedy legend Benny Hill in a rare straight role. And if that's not enough, there's always the scene in which Goldfinger himself (German actor Gert Frobe) sings and dances! Then there is the simply stunning cinematography by Christopher Challis, the marvelous costumes by Joan Bridge and Elizabeth Haffenden, and the fantastic production design by Oscar-winning designer Ken Adam, whose high ceilings and sloping walls are instantly identifiable from such classics as "Goldfinger" and "Dr. Strangelove." And unlike "Poppins," which is inexplicably praised for its obvious studio recreations of London streets, this film actually goes on location--and then some, showcasing truly magnificent settings in southern England, France and Germany (including the fabulous, fairy-tale Neuschwanstein Castle). Maltin and others have complained about the film's special effects, calling them "the shoddiest ever." What they are talking about is the blue screen traveling matte shots in which the magical car was optically placed in front of separately-shot film of a sky background. And I agree that several of these shots are "obvious" to film students who know how they are achieved. But, again, look at what is overlooked. The car itself, which undergoes several conversions for air and sea travel, is an amazing mechanical special effect designed and built by John Stears. Stears, of course, won an Oscar for the SFX on "Thunderball" and would go on to win another for a little film called "Star Wars." But never mind, what could he know about special effects? Oh, did I mention that the screenplay was co-written by Roal Dahl, someone who just might have known a thing or two about children's stories. But enough. This film is truly scrumptious from the first frame to the last, a timeless delight for anyone but Hollywood film critics.
After 36 years this movie is still loved by young children who see it.
My 8 and 3 year old girls just love this movie and it's songs. Dick Van
Dyke has done an absolute wonderful job putting out great quality
movies for Disney and others. Sally Ann Howe sounds great and
personally I prefer her over Julie Andrews anyway.
Anyway, if you have not ever seen this film and even if you don't have kids, it's very entertaining! My favorite part is when Caracus Potts and Truly Scrumptious pretend to be toys for the Baron and do a nice song and dance. The tune is just great!
I remember as a kid the Child Catcher scared the crap out of me. Robert Helpmann played this part very well. Who needs Freddy Kruger and all that gore anyway!
Well it's been 2 years since I last posted a review for this
I have just purchased the "Special Edition" version mainly because at last
there is a wide-screen DVD version now available!
This was one movie that suffered very greatly from a standard T.V format
Now in wide-screen,it is possible to see the cinematography as it was
intended to be viewed from the original Super Panavision format,even though
there is still some "enhanced" format alteration to bring it into line with
16:9 ratio and luckily it was shot in Technicolor,which was easily the best
analogue colour system around.
Perspectives can now be seen as intended and the beautiful sets and the
dance routines look vastly better... you can actually see all the dancers
Take for instance one scene in Caractacus Potts windmill laboratory,where he
shows Truly Scrumptious one of his inventions with which he intends to
transmit "pictures and sound".....in the standard format half of the shot is
missing so the machine cannot be fully seen and it makes no sense.. however
in wide-screen you can see the "picture" and also the whole machine; so now
you can enjoy one of Emmet Rolands fantasy machine creations in
All through the movie the scenery and sets are set up framed with objects in
the foreground and back ground which lend to perspective and depth of the
The sound track seems also to have been worked on .. in previous releases
the children's voices seemed to "squeak" but now they sound much more
You can see how much we have been missing with previous releases and it is a
The Special Edition also has some featurettes on the making of the
and other related information plus a lovely booklet as
As to the movie itself .... it has never lost it's magic for me. I see reviews which pan the musical numbers or say it's too long or that
after seeing it as an adult they were disappointed from what they remember as a child ... but is that not the point ? It is a movie for children and/or those adults who can still view it remembering the child in themselves. It has no coarse language , no mindless violence (except the pantomime variety).. no cynicism ...just fun. In short it is a type of movie that Hollywood can no longer make because they no longer know how ... so it should be treasured more for it. People criticize Dick Van Dykes "American" accent but I find it not intrusive at all ... in fact he would probably have been better off using his normal voice in "Mary Poppins" than attempting the cockney accent which he obviously had some difficulty with.
Kids love this movie .. let them be the judges.
Thank-you Cubby Broccoli ..we miss you. Thank-you Ian Fleming / Roald Dahl / Richard Maibaum and Ken Hughes. Thank-you Ken Adam ... a genius in design for Chitty.
I had mostly forgotten this movie after 30+ years, but my 2 year old received it as a gift, and is obsessed with it. It's fantastic, really. The locations are stunning, the musical numbers are (mostly) so lively, the physical humor is great! There is such a range of stuff in it, unlike current movies. I even like it for its flaws. It's really beautifully made. The thing I didn't remember, and that disappointed me at first, was that the whole story is a fantasy, a story within the story. I even like that the kids don't sing so well. They seem more real, less like little prodigies.
This movie is one that has sadly fallen through the cracks of the
"classic family musical" floor. My parents were on the ball and raised
me on "mary Poppins," "sound of music," and of course, "Chitty Chitty
Bang Bang," and I have not yet been weaned off them. (Incidently, all
three of these movies share a choreographer) The sheer imagination of
this film is akin to that of Peter Pan. It is a tremendous celebration
of childhood and fantasy. Sadly, this movie is often overlooked. As a
college student, few of my friends know about this film. The few that
do know of it treasure it. Every child should be so lucky as to be
raised with Chitty. The dancing, the songs, the genius and humor
showcase the best of musicals and childhood alike. Enjoy and share this
unsung classic. We can hope that the new live musical in London will
rekindle the public's appreciation for movies like this
P.S the "Old Bamboo" dance looks very much like the "Step in time," from Mary Poppins.
This exciting children musical displays derring-do adventure, romance ,
thrills and spectacular frames with phenomenal production design .
Imagination and fantasy with primitive but effective special effects
galore including a mesmerizing photography with wonderful , marvelous
landscapes . The flick gets lots of bombastic effects including flying
machines , globes , romantic castles and numerous images have you on
the edge of your seat . This is the most Fantasmagorical musical
entertainment in the history of everything . In the early 20th century
England, a weird inventor named Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke who
steals the show as likable dancer and splendid player) works in his
rare artifacts , he lives along with his equally rare father (Lionel
Jeffries) , and his two little boys named Jeremy (Adrian) and Jemima
(Heather). When the kiddies beg their daddy to buy for them thhe wished
plaything , a broken car sitting at a local junkyard , a garage whose
owner is George Coggings (Desmond Llewelyn) . Then eccentric Caractacus
does whatever he can to make some money to buy it. One plan to raise
money involves the unexpected help of a beautiful girl they have just
met named Truly Scrumptious (a pretty young woman well performed by
Sally Anne Howes), the daughter of a candy factory wealthy owner (James
Robertson Justice) . Using his magic skills, inventive Caractacus turns
the piece of junk into a marvelous working machine , an amazing flying
car that also navigates which they name Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because
of the noise the engine sounds . At a seaside picnic with his children
and Truly , Caractacus and Co. spins a fanciful tale of an eccentric
inventor, his gorgeous new friend , his two children, and his favorite
car named Chitty all in the faraway country of Vulgaria. The nasty
Baron Bomburst, the king of Vulgaria, will do whatever he can to get
his hands on the magical car. Then the villain Baron Bomburst (Gert
Frobe) married to Baroness Bomburst (Anna Quayle) robs the car of ours
friends . The baron has made kiddies illegal, being pursued by the
sinister child catcher (Robert Helpmann) including the unsuspecting
children of a stranger inventor of a fabulous car . Later on
,Caractacus helped by a toymaker (Benny Hill) have to attempt and save
the kiddies of Vulgaria.
This children motion picture mingles musical numbers , flat jokes , noisy action , flying car pursuits , humor with tongue-in-cheek, rip roaring and lots of amusement . This is an entertaining film loosely based on book by Ian Fleming and well adapted by Roal Dahl , it packs fantasy , musical numbers which both pastiche and subvert adventure and speculative fiction of the period ¨Belle Epoque . The picture incorporates contemporary action film as well as much use of adventure to portray its fanciful elements , furthermore visual effects within the form of the older-style films they have largely superseded . Riveting for its casting , but overall , roller-coaster spectacle . Most of the charm and wit remains from original story in this particular version . It results to be an amusing of somewhat aloof , storytelling of children classic with a magnificent star cast at its best . Stimulating adventures of ours protagonists are complemented by a breathtaking final attraction in the castle scenes . The film is a Dick Van Dyke recital , he sings , dances, stooges, makes acrobatics, tongue twister and pulls faces and grimaces . It's a farce with the master comic pretty amusing and with several choreography and musical numbers . Ideal main cast is completed by phenomenal secondary actors as Lionel Jeffries , James Robertson Justice , Benny Hill and Desmond Llewelin , among others. Atmospheric , lively score by Irwin Kostal , fitting splendidly to adventure and musical numbers , including the classic leitmotif . Colorful and glamorous cinematography by Christopher Challis in Super Panavision 7o with the fantastic château scenes filmed in Neuschwanstein Castle, Hohenschwangau, Schwangau, Bavaria, Germany . The picture is lavishly produced by Albert R Broccoli ,James Bond's producer, and brilliantly directed by Ken Hughes . He's a good writer, producer and director, who achieved big time when made ¨Cromwell¨, ¨Trials of Oscar Wilde¨ , ¨Casino Royale¨ and of course with ¨Chitty , Chitty Bang Bang¨.
This is a highly amusing and frequently funny action-adventure romp with a witty script specifically aimed at a kiddies' audience , though excessive songs leave adult spectators a bit seasick . Picture is a vehicle Van Dyke , he's an authentic comic and real Farceur. If you like Dyke's crazy interpretation , you will most definitely enjoy this one . Well worth watching for passable special effects and an enjoyable performances from main cast as the children will like it.
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