Movie Review – “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”

MGM tried a live action family film in 1968, that
prevented Dick van Dyke from working for Disney for
some time.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Dick Van Dyke as Caractacus Potts

Sally Ann Howes as Truly Scrumptious

Lionel Jeffries as Grandpa Potts

Gert Frobe as Baron Bomburst

Anna Quayle as Baroness Bomburst

Benny Hill as Toymaker

Heather Ripley as Jemima

Adrian Hall as Jeremy

Screenplay written by Roald Dahl and Ken Hughes, based
on an Ian
Fleming novel.

Directed by Ken Hughes.

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

The first half is about an inventor who wants to raise
the money to
buy an old wreck of a car his children like to play
in. The second
half, they sit in the car and make stuff up.

High Point

The automatic hair cut machine. Predictable, yes, but
still somewhat
amusing.

Low Point

They had a decent story that they dove into quickly,
and then spent
over an hour telling. So far, so good. Then, it’s as
if they didn’t
know what to do next, so they concocted a completely
different movie
for the second half and just stuck them together. (I
haven’t read the
novel, but based on Amazon.com comments, it tells a
different story,
that brings the fantastical elements into the “real
life” part of the
tale.)

The Scores

This is a somewhat original story. The look
and feel were
the standard of 1960s musicals, but this one feels a
little more
natural. There are songs sung by an eccentric family,
and only two
big group dance numbers, one of which involves a dance
troup, so it
doesn’t seem so out of place. I give it 4 out of 6.

The effects had a lot of significant colour
bleeding between
foreground and background, but otherwise worked fairly
well. (Back in
1968, you pretty much had to build what you were
trying to shoot.) I
give it 4 out of 6.

The story has two well written but completely
disjoint
components. This disconnection is the biggest issue
with the film.
I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is 1960s movie musical acting.
Extreme emotions,
lots of smiling faces, and so forth. I give it 4 out
of 6.

The emotional response is weak for me. I
remember enjoying
pieces of the movie as a child, but never sitting
through the entire
thing. (That was odd for me even then; I saw my first
movie at age 13
months, and I’m told I didn’t take my eyes off the
screen at any
time.) Seeing it again now, I understand why. There
are a number of
very slow parts, and children’s entertainment is now
done at a much
faster pace. Don’t be surprised if this is less
popular with children
today than it was in 1968. Watching it now, the
awkwardness of the
two stories is quite clear. I give it 3 out of 6.

The production was very well done, with great
period
production design and some difficult helicopter shots.
I give it 5
out of 6.

Overall, it’s a couple of good but distinct
movies glued
together. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang receives 27
out of 42.

7 replies on “Movie Review – “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang””

  1. TechnoGirl says:


    Not a single review of the new season of 4400 but a review of a 3 decades old children’s flick?

    On a scifi news and reviews site ?

    OK, so what am I missing here

    {/grouse mode]

    • pdavis says:

      Re: …

      OK, so what am I missing here

      Well, I for one haven’t been able to sit through an entire episode of 4400. It seems too soapy for my taste.

      • TechnoGirl says:

        Re: …

        Well, I for one haven’t been able to sit through an entire episode of 4400. It seems too soapy for my taste.

        Well each to their own :)
        I like what you call the “soapiness” aspect to the series in the same way that I enjoyed the character and plotline development of B5.

        Hey – Technogorl is available for 4400 series reviews on B42…that is er..umm…if anyone’s interested… ;)

      • Espy says:

        Re: …

        OK, so what am I missing here

        Well, I for one haven’t been able to sit through an entire episode of 4400. It seems too soapy for my taste.

        I found the teen angst parts of the first season to be annoying, although they were important to the story. The level of teen angst is dramatically reduced in season 2.

        SP

    • J_W_W says:

      Re: …

      Not a single review of the new season of 4400 but a review of a 3 decades old children’s flick?

      On a scifi news and reviews site ?

      OK, so what am I missing here

      {/grouse mode]

      I have to agree, the last episode of the 4400 was great. In keeping with the B5 references it really had the same feel of the “They killed Kosh” episode.

  2. Boglin says:

    Ian Flemming?
    It makes you wonder if this wasn’t originally supposed to be a Bond story. It does have all the ingredients:

    • Bond girl – Truly Scrumptious
    • Q’s gadgets – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
    • Bond Villain – Baron Bombast
    • Main Henchman – Child Catcher
    • Red-Shirt Henchmen – First & Second Spy
    • Bond Dialogue – Pott:You’ll find a slight squeeze on the hooter an excellent safety precaution, Miss Scrumptious.(Actual Movie Quote)
    • Jethro says:

      Re: Ian Flemming?
      could be a lot more simplistic than that – Ian Fleming wanted to write a children’s story, and this is just how he writes (:

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