Great Movie Re-Watch

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

Director:

Ken Hughes

Writers:

Roald Dahl

Ken Hughes

Richard Maibaum

Starring:

Dick Van Dyke

Sally Ann Howes

Lionel Jeffries

Gert Fröbe

Anna Quayle

Blurb:

A down-on-his-luck inventor turns a broken-down Grand Prix car into a fancy vehicle for his children, and then they go off on a magical fantasy adventure to save their grandfather in a far-off land.

Thoughts:

After my re-watch of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, I believe it’s not a movie I need to own. I enjoy it, but there’s nothing extraordinary about it. What makes me keep it is the heaps of nostalgia I have attached to it. It was one of maybe fifteen movies that I owned growing up, and I watched it so many times that it will forever be embedded in my mind. I could sing all of the songs even though I can’t remember the last time I watched it.

One of my favorite parts is the machine that cooks breakfast. It always fascinated me, and I’d always try and figure out how it worked. It was still fun to watch, even though now I’m about 99% sure it couldn’t work. There’s still that part of me that wants it to.

The songs are excellent and fun to sing. Dick Van Dyke was a pleasure to watch and, thankfully, didn’t try to do a British accent.

This was a book adaption and did not follow the book very closely. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was written by Ian Fleming, the author of the James Bond books. It was apparently a story that he told to his children. Reading Wikipedia, it looks like Roald Dahl worked on the movie script, which was something I didn’t know. I’m not sure how much of his version was kept since the director said he had to rewrite it. Still, it’s kind of cool that Dahl, a famous children’s story author, worked on this script.

Reviews on release were positive, but it sounds like 1968 was a dark year for movies. I haven’t checked to see what was released, but it was mentioned a couple of times. Later reviews were also positive, but it’s somehow got a 67% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, another sign that sites algorithms are garbage.

It didn’t make money on the initial release, but it seems like no movies did back then. Whether that was manipulative accounting practices or it was an actual loss, it doesn’t sound like it was considered a flop at the time.

I didn’t try watching this with my children, though, I did have it on in the background. The beginning held their focus, but it was too long for them. It was too long for me and could have easily had a couple of scenes cut entirely.

Anyway, I’ll be keeping Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, though I won’t be watching it again anytime soon.

The Sound of Music (1965)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

The Sound of Music (1965)

Director:

Robert Wise

Writers:

George Hurdalek

Howard Lindsay

Russel Crouse

Ernest Lehman

Maria von Trapp

Starring:

Julie Andrews

Christopher Plummer

Eleanor Parker

Richard Haydn

Peggy Wood

Charmain Carr

Blurb:

A woman leaves an Austrian convent to become a governess to the children of a Naval officer widower.

Thoughts:

I watched The Sound of Music with my kids because it’s a movie I watched a lot as a child. My children were not as entertained as I was when I was their age. It took us four days to make our way through this film and on the last day I watched the ending alone. It is a longggg movie.

Once again, the music is amazing, there isn’t much dancing, but the puppet show and the little skits the kids do are charming. It’s a lovely movie, definitely a classic, but not one I need to watch often. It’s not one I could watch often with how long it is.

Recently, a book about the Von Trapp family’s lives was on sale, and I bought it. I’m interested to see what was changed for the movie. One of my favorite parts is the love story. I’m curious to see if that was entirely made up. Reading everyone’s Wikipedia entries is pretty interesting.

I’ve only got one more movie in the 60s, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Another kids movie that my kids will probably not like :rollingeyes:

Cat Ballou (1965)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Cat Ballou (1965)

Director:

Elliot Silverstein

Writers:

Walter Newman

Frank Pierson

Starring:

Jane Fonda

Lee Marvin

Michael Callan

Dwayne Hickman

Nat ‘King’ Cole

Stubby Kaye

Blurb:

A young schoolteacher turns into an outlaw to avenge her murdered father.

Thoughts:

Cat Ballou is another one of my video rental finds. I’d never seen a western led by a woman, and I immediately loved it. Jane Fonda is gorgeous, and I loved how stubborn she was. She knew what she wanted, and when she decided how to do it, she was all in. She was the boss of the crew, and it was great.

While looking up this movie, I was surprised to find it had won an Oscar. Lee Marvin won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Eli ‘Kid’ Shelleen and Tim Strawn. It won a few other awards and was generally well-received by critics at the time. It was also one of the top-grossing movies of the year. Yet, we never got another female-led western like this one. How disappointing.

Because of the older men in my life, I’ve seen a fair few westerns, and it’s a genre of movies and books that I have enjoyed watching and reading. My problem with it and why I don’t enjoy more of it, is its depiction of women. Most of the time, they’re an afterthought, and other times they’re used as a tragedy to push the hero on to greatness. This isn’t a problem only westerns suffer from. It’s just harder to find female-led stories in the genre. Cat Ballou is one of just a handful of western movies led by women. Wyoming by Zane Grey and Ride the River by Louis L’Amour are my favorite western books. It’s been a while, but I used to re-read them frequently.

The Godless miniseries on Netflix is the last female-led western that I remember happening. Even that, though, had a man come in and save an entire town of women. I was so infuriated by that series, mainly because the trailer sold me something that wasn’t what I got.

I’ll stop before this gets any longer or angrier. Pretty sure more of these rants are to come, though.

Nat ‘King’ Cole and Stubby Kaye sing the narration in this movie, and I will end up having it stuck in my head for days.

There is a comedic element to the film, but it’s more of an undertone than flat out Blazing Saddles.

There are so many things to enjoy about this movie, and I’m happy that it’s one I own.

Mary Poppins (1964)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Mary Poppins (1964)

Director:

Robert Stevenson

Writers:

Bill Walsh

Don DaGradi

Starring:

Julie Andrews

Dick Van Dyke

David Tomlinson

Glynis Johns

Hermione Baddeley

Reta Shaw

Karen Dotrice

Matthew Garber

Blurb:

In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father.

Thoughts:

Mary Poppins was one of just a handful of VHS tapes that I had growing up. I watched it many, many, many times. Upon recent viewing, I discovered I’ve watched it so many times I could fall asleep during it. My children were less inclined and quickly got bored; if their past obsession with Blippi is any indication they have no taste.

I love the songs in Mary Poppins. I enjoy them more than any other older Disney movie except maybe The Little Mermaid. I was never a huge fan of the animation in Poppins, I thought it was odd, but unlike P.L. Travers, I don’t hate it with the passion of a thousand suns.

I read at least the first two Marry Poppins books when I was a child and didn’t enjoy them as much as the movie. Mary Poppins wasn’t very friendly, and since my first experience with the character was the film and Julie Andrews, I wasn’t impressed. I like my Mary with a spoonful of sugar.

P.L. Travers sounds like an interesting person, despite her opinions of the movie. She was a Shakespearian actor, wrote poetry, traveled a lot, and met some fascinating people. She also seemed a bit controlling, not just of her written works. Reading her Wikipedia entry, I learned that she adopted a son but never told him he had siblings, including a twin brother. He didn’t find out about his twin until they showed up on his doorstep, demanding to see him. Travers sent the twin away, argued with her son, and he stormed out and searched out his twin. Family drama is entertaining when it’s happening to another family.

I watched Mary Poppins Returns at some point during my review hiatus. Since I barely remember it, I don’t think I was impressed. I am a fan of the actors, though, so that’s disappointing. I have yet to watch Saving Mr. Banks. I plan to one day and just haven’t gotten around to it.

All in all, another great movie that I’m happy to own. It survived the great Disney purge of 2020 in my house. So that’s saying a lot.

Bells are Ringing (1960)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bells are Ringing (1960)

Director:

Vincente Minnelli

Writers:

Betty Comden

Adolph Green

Starring:

Judy Holliday

Dean Martin

Fred Clark

Eddie Foy Jr.

Jean Stapleton

Blurb:

A Brooklyn answering service operator becomes involved in the lives of her clients, including a struggling playwright with whom she begins to fall in love.

Thoughts:

This is the first movie on my list that is a comfort watch. Bells are Ringing isn’t as good as any of my previous films. Most people probably haven’t heard of it, and I completely understand if people don’t like it. The songs are good, with Dean Martin singing most songs would sound good. There’s nothing remarkable about the dancing. Judy Holliday is pretty funny. The story is dated but entertaining as long as you turn your brain off.

It’s a nostalgia watch for me. I used to rent a VHS copy of Bells are Ringing from my local video store. They had some random musicals, and this happened to be one of them. I was surprised when it was released on DVD and downright shocked to see that it’s on Blu-ray.

It was nominated for a couple of awards. It won one. It did not come even close to making back its money and took a pretty significant loss. It was a movie adaption of a stage production. Really, the biggest thing of note that I’m aware of is that it was Judy Holliday’s final film before she died of breast cancer a few years later.

I like Bells are Ringing and if you’re looking for a musical recommendation and trust my judgment, by all means, try it out. It’s available to rent on Amazon Prime, or if you feel like paying $2 more, you could even own it.