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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)


A Truly Scrumptious Classic

Our family is on a retro trip, having bought this movie, as well as The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The King and I, Willy Wonka, and Pete's Dragon.

One of the reasons is that we want our 2 year old to experience the movies we grew up with, and the other is nostalgia.

Before watching this movie again recently, I could only remember that there was a flying car, a nice title song, and something about children being kidnapped. Watching it again for the first time, I discovered that I had forgotten most of the movie.


Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) is an inventor way ahead of his time, whose inventions don't always work the way they are intended. If you think his name is weird, the female lead is Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), the daughter of a rich sweet manufacturer. This unlikely pair, along with his two kids and the wonderful car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, are the star players in a story which starts out being about pirates, and ends up as a rescue mission. With comic support from Caractacus' father, and a toy maker (Benny Hill, in an uncharacteristic G rated performance), they defeat the schemes of spies (kind of like Laurel and Hardy combined with Boris and Natasha), an evil Baron and Baroness,and a wicked childcatcher, to bring the story within a story to a predictable but entertaining end.

The scenery is breathtaking, especially the Vulgarian castle and surroundings, and since this is a 1968 movie, we can forgive the lack of finesse in the special effects, where the characters stick out like sore thumbs from the backgrounds, and wires can be seen attached to Professor Potts during a dance sequence.

It's a little harder to swallow the concept of Truly Scrumptious running around on the beach dressed in tons of white cloth and coming up spotless, and her song about needing a lovely man is way too over the top and much too long. I will admit to skipping over that one.

The sing along feature is a nice touch, and catchy songs (other than the theme song) include "Me Old Bamboo", "Toot Sweet", my personal favorite "P O S H (Posh)", and the nearly too sugary "Truly Scrumptious".

Overall, this DVD is a refreshing family movie that you will watch over and over again. By Amanda Richards "Modest to the extreme"

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