Robert Stevenson

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

The Great Movie Re-Watch

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

Directors:

Robert Stevenson

Ward Kimball

Writers:

Ralph Wright

Ted Berman

Bill Walsh

Don DaGradi

Ken Anderson

Starring:

Angela Lansbury

David Tomlinson

Blurb:

An apprentice witch, three kids and a cynical magician conman search for the missing component to a magic spell to be used in the defense of Britain in World War II.

Thoughts:

I remember Bedknobs and Broomsticks fondly. It’s not a movie that I’ve seen often, but it made a big enough impact on me that I bought it when I saw it for sale. I’ve watched it once since then and still enjoyed it, but that’s been years and years ago (it’s a DVD to give you an idea). While talking with some friends, I discovered that they had the same experience. They’d seen it, liked it, but didn’t remember much if anything about it, just that they liked it.

It’s based on a book, of course. Disney purchased the rights when they had issues getting Mary Poppins and then Bedknobs was set aside when they finally did get Poppins. It seems like it did well at the time, though it was compared to Mary Poppins in reviews. I looked to see if there was a blu-ray available on Amazon and it appears to only be on streaming and DVD, so I guess it never made it to blu-ray. It’s not a movie that’s gotten a lot of love and I wonder if it’s because of the witch element.

After my re-watch, I still enjoy it, but since it’s on Disney+, I don’t feel the need to own it. There was a very long singing and dancing number that had some questionable representation. It also felt a bit like Mary Poppins, though, that could have been that one of the main actors was from that film. After reading the Wikipedia entry it sounds like at least one song originally written for Mary Poppins was included in Bedknobs and Broomsticks.

By far, the best scene in the movie was the battle at the end. It was so bonkers ridiculous, and amazing. That part alone made me almost keep the film. Still, as I said, it’s a DVD, and Disney+ has it available, and it doesn’t seem likely to be taken down.

I just want to add, Angela Lansbury is a treasure, and every time I see her, I think of Murder She Wrote and want to watch it. Plus, she was Mrs. Potts in Beauty and the Beast, the best Disney movie ever! (Maybe not ever, but definitely up there)

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.