Dick Van Dyke

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.

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.