An eccentric professor invents wacky machinery but can't seem to make ends meet. When he invents a revolutionary car, a foreign government becomes interested in it and resorts to skulduggery to get their hands on it.Written by
Murray Chapman <email@example.com>
Dick Van Dyke, who was smoking up to 40 cigarettes a day, found the dance numbers very demanding. See more »
When Mr. Potts pushes Chitty Chitty Bang Bang out of his workshop, the tires become coated with sand and dirt from the dirt driveway. In the next shot, the car is in the same place, and the tires are clean. See more »
"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is a 70mm film; a modern audience can't see it on TV today and truly understand why it was a hit in 1968, and remembered so fondly by us 40-50ish adults. If you saw it on a wide screen in 1968, like I did as an 11-year-old at the Astro Theatre in Omaha, it was delightful and overpowering. The dark theatre, the glow of the screen, the wonderful scenes of the English countryside during the day and as the sun set, the magnificence of the newly-refurbished old car as it is wheeled out of the dark garage accompanied by a swell of the evocative theme music, and the panoramic view of Neuschwanstein Castle, left an impression on me that lingers today. This is a film that cries out for wide screen theatre re-release, and if it were we'd have a whole generation of children who would fall in love with it again. Tiny, box-like megaplexes have stolen a lot of the grandeur from the film-going experience, which is a terrible loss to us, the film-going public.
While I usually agree with most of his reviews, I'm going to take violent exception to Leonard Maltin's review of this film (as I do with his inexplicably bad review of the fantastic 1980 film "Popeye"). This film has an outstanding score that I've remembered for 32 years, and excellent special effects that fit very much within the timeframe of the film, which is why they are done the way they are done. The score is by Richard and Robert Sherman, who create songs just as memorable as they did 4 years earlier in "Mary Poppins." The title song and main theme have stayed with me all these years, and I sometimes find myself singing it for no apparent reason. "Posh" is a comic masterpiece and Lionel Jeffries was a perfect choice to sing it. "Hushabye Mountain" is a lovely lullaby, and "Chu-chi Face" is hilarious. "Me Ol' Bamboo" is an wonderful, energetic production number akin to the Chimney Sweep song in Mary Poppins, and "The Roses of Success" has long been a favorite of mine. And the duet between Van Dyke and Howe when they posed as a marionette and music box dancer, respectively, is just about my favorite part of the film.
Dick Van Dyke is perfect as the inventor; Sally Anne Howe is a lovely singer and a competent actress, but doesn't have the screen presence Julie Andrews does. That's the only detriment to the major casting of the film. Gert Frobe and Anna Quayle are delightful standouts as the evil and spoiled King and Queen Bomburst; their time on screen is far too short. My only quibble is that the film is a trifle too long, and one of the earlier musical numbers could have been cut. Other than that it's perfect.
This is a great film that deserves to be seen by everyone in the way it was intended - on a wide, wide screen in glowing 70mm with stereo sound. If you've never seen it in that fashion, you're missing an essential movie experience.
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