Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

"Good"

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Review


I'm old enough to have seen Chitty Chitty Bang Bang during its original theatrical run, and I've just about recovered. Like The Wizard of Oz, this movie has the power both to delight and to traumatize children. I'm not sure my parents quite knew what they were putting me through.

Based on a story by Ian Fleming (of James Bond fame), produced by Cubby Broccoli (of James Bond fame), and written by Roald Dahl (who knew a thing or two about scaring children), this gadgety fantasy finds unsuccessful inventor Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) working on a supercar that can both fly and float while also taking care of his dotty father (Lionel Jeffries) and his two children Jeremy and Jemimah (Adrian Hall and Heather Ripley). Also on hand, a potential love interest for Potts named Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes), heiress to the Toot Sweet candy fortune.

When word of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (so named for the weird sound it makes) reaches Baron Bomburst (Gert Fröbe... of James Bond fame), the repellent leader of the small middle European nation of Vulgaria, he decides to kidnap the car and its inventor, but he swipes Grandpa by mistake, and the rest of the clan races off to the kingdom to get him back. What they don't realize is that the Baron and his wife (Anna Quayle) have outlawed children, and no sooner do Potts' kids hit the ground then they are swept up and dragged away by the hideous child catcher, a guy so scary that pants must have been wetted all across America when he first appeared on screen. Potts and Truly will have to infiltrate the castle (the glorious Bavarian "Cinderella" castle called Neuschwanstein) in disguise (with the help of toymaker Benny Hill) to save his kids and all the other imprisoned children of Vulgaria.

It's quite an adventure, and it's interspersed with plenty of tunes, some, most notably the title track ("our fine four-fendered friend") quite catchy, others somewhat lugubrious. It's too long and drags during some of the romantic bits. After all, the question of whether a fine young lady like Truly could ever go for a crackpot like Potts will not interest the younger crowd.

What's interesting to note from today's vantage point is how Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is very much of its time, 1968 that is. This is one trippy flick, psychedelic and groovy and like a real freakout, dude. Come to think of it, it's like The Wizard of Oz in that sense, as well, but it lacks a compelling Dorothy character to root for. So stick this one in the DVD for the kids, and leave them alone with it. Just make sure you're around when they come running to you in a panic. The child catcher is after them!

What a Chitty wagon.



Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Facts and Figures

Run time: 144 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 18th December 1968

Budget: $10M

Distributed by: United Artists

Production compaines: Dramatic Features, Warfield

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 65%
Fresh: 17 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.9 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: Albert R. Broccoli

Starring: as Caractacus Potts, Sally Ann Howes as Truly Scrumptious, Lionel Jeffries as Grandpa Potts, Gert Fröbe as Baron Bomburst, Anna Quayle as Baroness Bomburst, as Toymaker, as Child Catcher, Heather Ripley as Jemima Potts, Adrian Hall as Jeremy Potts, as George Coggins, as Lord Scrumptious, as la blonde, Davy Kaye as l'Amiral, Alexander Doré as le premier espion, Bernard Spear as le second espion, Stanley Unwin as le Chancellier, as le Capitaine de la Garde, Victor Maddern as un drogué, Arthur Mullard as Cyril, l'homme gros, Ross Parker as Chef, Gerald Campion as un prêtre, Felix Felton as un prêtre, Monti DeLyle as un prêtre, Totti Truman Taylor as la Duchesse, Larry Taylor as un Lieutenant, Max Bacon as le chef d'orchestre, as les inventeurs, John Heawood as les inventeurs, Michael Darbyshire as les inventeurs, Kenneth Waller as les inventeurs, Gerald Taylor as les inventeurs, Eddie Davis as les inventeurs

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Wind River Movie Review

Wind River Movie Review

After writing the superb Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan moves back into...

The Vault Movie Review

The Vault Movie Review

Filmmakers Dan Bush and Conal Byrne attempt a mash-up of a frantic heist movie with...

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

Goon: Last of the Enforcers Movie Review

The 2012 Canadian comedy Goon was one of those surprising little films that snuck up...

Detroit Movie Review

Detroit Movie Review

After The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal reteam to...

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Logan Lucky Movie Review

Good news: Steven Soderbergh's well-publicised retirement from directing only lasted about four years. He's back...

American Made Movie Review

American Made Movie Review

An enjoyably freewheeling tone and Tom Cruise's star wattage combine to make this an entertaining...

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power Movie Review

It's been a decade since Al Gore's wake-up-call documentary won the Oscar. And here he...

Advertisement
The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

The Hitman's Bodyguard Movie Review

It really doesn't matter that this movie is utterly ridiculous, because the central pairing of...

Final Portrait Movie Review

Final Portrait Movie Review

A relaxed, amusing true story about noted Swiss painter and sculptor Alberto Giacometti, this sharply...

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Tom of Finland Movie Review

Finnish artist Tuoko Laaksonen used the name "Tom of Finland" as he drew explicit illustrations...

A Ghost Story Movie Review

A Ghost Story Movie Review

Filmmaker David Lowery reunites the stars from his offbeat Western Ain't Them Bodies Saints for...

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

Atomic Blonde Movie Review

From the co-director of John Wick, this similarly styled action romp puts Charlize Theron front...

Girls Trip Movie Review

Girls Trip Movie Review

This movie's premise basically sounds like The Hangover with added black girl power. But it's...

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie Movie Review

There's so much manic energy in this animated action comedy that it can't help but...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.