Channel the entity "Jeff Parker" from beyond the Ether

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

No Crackitus Potts, I Expect You to DIE! 

Continuing that Gert Frobe musing from a few days ago... as a kid I loved Chitty Chitty Bang Bang above most movies. It must have surprised Bond fans that Ian Fleming wrote a children's movie, and even better they actually cast Q and Goldfinger in it. Desmond Llewelyn played a character called Coggins, and Gert Frobe did a nice comic turn as Baron Bomburst. Flemings forcefully winking character names work fine here, but I think calling the leading lady "Truly Scrumptious" was probably a little too Bond. It wasn't slipped in subtly either, they devote a whole musical number to the name.

CCBB, as the hip kids call it, had high production values and good songs-- I liked "Hushabye Mountain" and "The Old Bamboo" in particular. There's a good bit after Dick Van Dyke sings Hushabye Mountain to the homeless kids in the cave. Right after the soothing moment is done, someone reminds Van Dyke that his little song doesn't change the fact that they're all still living in that cave.

What I didn't remember from childhood was that the whole story was all BS that inventor Potts was telling his kids to amuse them on a picnic. This became clear when I bought the DVD. The movie is pretty long, so I'm thinking maybe CBS edited out those framing sequences. Or maybe I just tuned them out. The important thing to retain from all this is that Benny Hill was in the movie as the Toymaker. And Roald Dahl worked on the screenplay.


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