Friday, July 18, 2014

Musical Movie Review: ****Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)

This is a classic Dick Van Dyke musical.   Van Dyke portrays Caractacus Potts, a down-on-his luck inventor; father of two children, Jermina and Jeremy (Heather Ripley and Adrian Hall)  who have their hearts set on an older motor car which is going to be sold from the junk yard, and Potts doesn't have money to purchase it.  He first tries to sell his tooting candy invention to Lord Scrumptious (James Robertson Justice), an old gentleman, but rather stodgy, and the father of Truly (Sally Ann Howes), a woman he offended the day before.  When this fails, Potts sings to his children:

"A gentle breeze from Hushabye Mountain
Softly blows o'er lullaby bay.
It fills the sails of boats that are waiting--
Waiting to sail your worries away.
It isn't far to Hushabye Mountain
And your boat waits down by the quay.
The winds of night so softly are sighing--
Soon they will fly your troubles to sea.
So close your eyes on Hushabye Mountain.
Wave good-bye to cares of the day.
And watch your boat from Hushabye Mountain
Sail far away from lullaby bay."
Potts then tries an automatic hair cutting machine at the carnival, but he destroys his customer's hair.  Fleeing his customer, he becomes part of a bamboo dance, "Me'ol Bamboo."  This is cool, the way they dance with the bamboo sticks.   The company gives him the most of the money that is tossed at them, as he brought them success; and there is enough for the old car.
He then goes into a work period where he restores the car, and adds a few extra gadgets and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is born.
Potts gets the car working, and the go to picnic with Truly Scrumptious.  "Truly Scrumptious" is another favorite song.  Then it's time for a story, and off to the land of Baron and Baroness Bomburst (Gert Frobe and Anna Quayle.)  They sing a clever duet, "Chu-chu Face."  In this story, the Baron and Baroness hate children, and have banished them to the sewers.  Only the efforts toy make (Benny Hill) and Truly and Potts dancing "Doll on a Music Box and Truly Scrumptious."  The children are rescued, and the end of the story sees the group flying away in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
This is a classic, with beautiful songs, great dancing and a plot that is a bit contrived, having to add this story and such things.  However, it works.

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