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Bedknobs and Broomsticks

Bedknobs and Broomsticks – 1971
You’ll beWITCHED! You’ll beDAZZLED! You’ll be swept into a world of enchantment BEYOND ANYTHING BEFORE!

Robert Stevenson

Mary Norton
Ralph Wright
Ted Berman
Bill Walsh
Don DaGradi

Bill Walsh producer

Angela Lansbury – Eglantine Price
David Tomlinson – Mr. Emelius Browne
Roddy McDowall – Mr. Jelk
Sam Jaffe – Bookman
John Ericson – Colonel Heller
Bruce Forsyth – Swinburne
Cindy O’Callaghan – Carrie Rawlins
Roy Snart – Paul Rawlins
Ian Weighill – Charlie Rawlins
Tessie O’Shea – Mrs. Hobday
Arthur Gould-Porter – Captain Ainsley Greer (as Arthur E. Gould-Porter)
Ben Wrigley – Portobello Road Workman
Reginald Owen – General Sir Brian Teagler
Cyril Delevanti – Elderly Farmer
Rick Traeger – German Sergeant
Manfred Lating – German Sergeant
John Orchard – Vendor

Review by Theo Robertson

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

I had very good memories of this seventies Disney classic ( The early 70s being when the rot really set in for the studio ) and sat down to happily watch it again this afternoon . I did find a serious problem with the first half and that was the yawn inducing character introduction and a plot that goes more or less nowhere . Things did pick up slightly with a song and dance number featuring Sihks , Jocks and a Jamaican steel band but the movie felt like an inferior remake of MARY POPPINS , something that wasn`t helped by the casting of David Tomlinson and everyone trying to emulate a Dick Van Dyke inspired cockney accent . At this point I seriously began to question if I`d got BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS mixed up with another movie.

Then about two thirds of the way through the movie takes off in a spectacular manner where the characters finally make a trip to ” The bottom of the beautiful briney sea ” where they meet animated characters and take part in a football match . They then go back to Britain in 1940 and use magic to hold back a dastardly German invasion . The final third of the movie is superb entertainment and this bitter cynical critic was totally enthralled by this part and knew right away why I enjoyed this movie as a child.

But I have to repeat that it`s the much latter part of this seventies film that makes BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS so memorable and unfortunately tricks people into thinking that it`s a better film than it actually is since the first hour or so is very disappointing and slow . It`s not so much the memory that`s cheated – It`s the film itself that`s cheated the memory.

Having said that even the sub standard parts are far better than anything JK Rowling could be capable of writing

Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971)
Review by Wayne Malin

Kids might like it,
This place in England during 1940. Three orphans (Carrie, Charles and Paul) are sent to live with Miss Price (Angela Lansbury). She doesn’t want them but reluctantly takes them in. It seems she is studying to be a witch through a correspondence course with the College of Witchcraft. (OK–I realize this is a family film but–College of Witchcraft??? Come ON!!) Before she can finish the course though the college is closed because of the war (???) and she seeks down the head Professor Browne (David Tomlinson). And her and the kids travel around on a bed with the help of a magical bed knob.

I first saw this when I was 9 and vaguely remember loving it. It sure doesn’t hold up as an adult! The story is silly (even for a fantasy), the kids are terrible actors and one of them (Charles) is incredibly obnoxious. Also Roddy McDowall is third billed and only appears in two short scenes! There’s also a trip to the Isle of Naboombu which is run by animated animals. I thought that might be fun but the animation is poor (for Disney) and it has a very violent and far too long soccer game between the animals. There are a few saving graces here: Lansbury and Tomlinson are just great; the songs (while forgettable) are pleasant; the long dance sequence on Portobello Road is very colourful and full of energy and the Oscar-winning special effects are still pretty impressive at the end. But the weak story line, poor animation and un-likable kids really pull this one down. I heard the extended version is even worse! I can only give this a 7.

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