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CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG

Director: KEN HUGHES

U.K. • 1968 • COLOUR • ANAMORPHIC • 145 MIN


ONE OF THE BIG FAMILY MUSICALS OF THE 1960S, CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG IS RE-RELEASED IN A NEW PRINT AS PART OF A TRIBUTE TO WRITER ROALD DAHL.
The film is based on a children’s book by Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, and the producers of the Bond films came up with a massive budget to create something to rival Mary Poppins. Fleming’s story is sweet and tame, but Dahl’s screenplay throws out most of the original, keeping only character names and the concept of an eccentric inventor who comes up with a miraculous car that both floats and flies. He adds some mischief and dark humour to the narrative, throws in a sappy romantic plot for the parents, and invents a number of juicy supporting comic characters. Fresh from Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke plays crackpot professor Potts, who is transported with his children and girlfriend to Vulgaria, where children are rounded up by the vicious Child Catcher (a truly scary turn by dancer Robert Helpmann). It all ends happily, of course, but this children’s film has more than enough to keep the adults entertained. Apart from Dahl’s satirical jabs, there’s some stunning production design by the great Ken Adam and peppy tunes from the Sherman brothers.

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