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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (2 Disc Special Edition) [1968] - 5.98

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang entranced and thrilled children and their parents when it puttered into the cinema in 1968. More than three decades later, and despite the eventual arrival of a stage version that throws the full weight of blockbuster effects at the story, the original remains the real thing for fans of all ages. The flying car is the star and it's impossible not to feel a surge of thrilling relief as the wings kick in when she plunges over the cliff and soars off on her great adventure. The songs might not be the greatest in musical history, but they are delivered with great charm by Dick Van Dyke as Caractacus Potts (a toned-down version of his infamous Bert in Mary Poppins), Sally Ann Howes (Truly Scrumptious) and the children.

And then there is Robert Helpmann's child catcher, a terrifyingly sinister figure who exudes a pungent whiff of undiluted evil unmatched by any character since Dorothy squared up to the witch in The Wizard of Oz. Cameos from British character actors abound: Benny Hill, Lionel Jeffries, Anna Quayle, James Robertson Justice and Max Wall all put in appearances that add some fibre to the overall sweetness of the story. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the ultimate nostalgic confection for family viewing.

On the DVD: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Special Edition comes to DVD in widescreen format with a Dolby soundtrack to recreate the authentic cinematic experience for everyone who remembers it from the first time round. The picture quality is robust, revealing some rather homespun aspects to the special effects. Extras are dominated by Dick Van Dyke remembering his time on the film, plus a short item on the origins of the car itself and various trailers. --Piers Ford

Customer reviews (av rating: 4.5):

Rating: 1:
Amazon sent me disc2 Bonuses and not the damn movie! : I have had to resort to writing a review because - I use the Rental system which I must say is very good - however my daughter wanted to watch 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' so I ordered it. Low and behold Amazon sent not Disc 1 (the movie) but only Disc 2(the bonuses)! If anyone has found a way of emailing Amazon or actually able to speak to anyone please let me know as YOU CANNOT CONTACT THEM, EVER! Amazon please, be more customer facing - have a phone number, have an email address - it's called CUSTOMER SERVICE oh and yes, please send me THE MOVIE, my daughter did not want to watch 10 variations of the TRAILOR! Yours, Frustrated from the Cotswolds!

Rating: 5:
Wacky, Crazy Vintage Musical! :
This must be the craziest, zaniest, and crankiest Musical ever to hit the Silver Screen! It's a Movie that 'flits' in and out of fantasy like drifting in and out of sleep! It's full of innocent charm - much which I suspect is lost on children of today - modern society and change having ruined so much...

Sally Ann Howes shows her marvellous talent, both as a Singer and also as an extremely talented actress (though we already knew it from when she was a child Star) when she plays her part as the mechanical figurine on a Music Box - no easy feat! Robert Helpmenn is simply magnificent as the 'Child Catcher' - what a performance!

One of the funniest scenes is when two big names in TV; Barbara Windsor and Arthur Mullard are at a Fairground, and Arthur's character steps into an automatic hair-cutting machine, only to come out of it again with a Mohican haircut! This results in his chasing Dick Van Dyke all around the fairground - seeming never to give up!

The only slight problem, was Dick Van Dykes difficulty in mastering the English accent - he had the same problem in 'Mary Poppins'. One ought to note though, that this is extremely difficult, and it is far easier for an English person to pick up an American accent, than it ever is the other way around... Very few Americans can master this, but those that do are particularly adept.

This is a fabulous Movie with all the charm and innocence that is ideal for the whole family!

Rating: 4:
Great for Children in the 1960s, Now Just Memory Lane : "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" has the unique position in my life as being the first movie I saw I the cinema. When I was 3 or 4 or whenever I saw it, I believed I loved it. My vague memories are wonderful. Now, watching again at age 40, in 2006, it does not carry over well.

Why?

It was probably no help to watch the much superior "Mary Poppins" just before. Dick Van Dyke is a great character actor, with a range of skills that make him the perfect clown actor. However, unlike in "Mary Poppins," he was not given the right materials.

His female co-lead is weak - Sally Ann Howes is no Julie Andrews. The children actors could not have been more bland. The plot was hard to follow, even as an adult.

There is one catchy song played too often, based on the onomonopoeticism of the sound the car made while rumbling down the road. Had there been more up tempo songs, or wittier lyrics, I think the movie would have twice the staying power. The other songs sound too close to lullabies.

So why it is so popular, and why do I still give it four stars? I'm sentimental perhaps, Dick Van Dyke is so good at doing that Dick Van Dyke thing, or I still find the idea of a car that can fly, float, and look retro-cool fascinating. James Bond would have loved the car, and, why not? Ian Fleming, Bond's creator, wrote the book upon which the movie is based.

The premise is that a well-meaning, hardworking inventor played by Van Dyke, single parents two pretty good kids who help push him forward in life. The kids, by force of accident, introduce him to candy heiress Truly Scrumptious. Although they start off awkwardly, the two quickly treat the children to a fantasy of a kingdom without children, flying buildings, international espionage, and romance.

For me, the difficulty was that the plot flowed in and out of fantasy. Knowing which was which was hard, and when the ending finally comes around, it seemed as if the worlds became one. I felt confused.

Did I like the movie? Yes. If I were shopping for a sweet children's movie, and I wanted something with more classic values, I would consider "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang." It would not be the first DVD I picked up, but it would be a far better choice than the latest toy-based Saturday morning cartoon series.

Anthony Trendl
editor, HungarianBookstore.com

Rating: 5:
A classic! : I loved it as a kid, I love it as an adult... I just love it!

As a kid, me and my sister wore it out on VHS, and if thats possible with DVD well I am sure I will be buying it again in the future.

The songs are great to sing along with, the campness of the film, the effects achieved for the age of the film... its all great fun!

You must get this!

Rating: 5:
fantasmogorically brilliant! : What can I say- I just love this film. I had it on video and almost wore away the tape from repeated watchings! I bought the Collectors Edition DVD set complete with Chitty car and double dvd discs. This is a fantastic journey through an adventure. Crisp picture quality and sound allowed me to see the film through new eyes. The songs are fantastic; my favourite being Doll On A Music Box as its my favourite scene in the whole film because of the sheer brilliance of Dick Van Dyke and Sally Ann Howes' convincing portrayal of toys. The childcatcher still scares me everytime he says Come and Get Your Lollipops. I tried to explain this to my class, who have never seen the film. They're in for a treat at the end of term when I put it onto the interactive whiteboard with surround sound. Despite the 1968 style special effects, which were fantastic by those standards, you get sucked into the world of Chitty. I always wanted to be Truly Scrumptious when I was little. Seeing this again has reminded me of fond childhood memories. I've watched it over four times in one week because I've noticed things in the widescreen version that I didn't have on VHS- such as Sally Ann Howes smacking Dick Van DYke into the mirror during the music box scene. I also find the two spies much funnier now. Gert Frobe as Baron Bombhurst adds hilarity and I remember Anna Quayle more for her part as Mrs Monroe in Grange Hill rather than the Baroness in Chitty. Their scene for Chu-chi Face is quite sado-masochistic as an adult watcher of the film. Children would not get the undertones of the darkness of their relationship! All in all, I would have loved to have seen the wedding between Truly and Caractacus but as the film is long enough, the immortal lines "Well Mr Potts, now we'll have to get married!" will have to do and leave the rest to imagination. Just one gripe- Sally Ann Howes should have been given much more to do- her voice is a stunner. Much as many people have claimed that there wasn't much chemistry between her and Van Dyke- I beg to differ. On widescreen you notice that there is a smouldering chemistry by small facial expressions. The kids were great too! Oh, and I didn't realise that beach was in St Tropez. Better get travelling to see it and run through the surf there as they did in the film!

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