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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

By Patrick Samuel • December 6th, 2012
Static Mass Rating: 3/5
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG (MOVIE)
United Artists

Original release: December 16th, 1968
Running time: 144 minutes

Director: Ken Hughes
Writers: Roald Dahl, Ken Hughes, Ian Fleming, Richard Maibaum

Cast: Dick van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Lionel Jeffries, Gert Frobe, Anna Quayle, Robert Helpmann, Benny Hill, Barbara Windsor

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Back when I was at school, towards the end of term, if you brought in $1 and a slip signed by your parents, you got to watch a movie with your classmates while munching on popcorn made by the teacher. Afterwards – and this is where the $1 came in – there’d be a magic show which involved a poor hapless rabbit being pulled out of a top hat. It was always the same magician…probably the same rabbit too, more or less. On one such occasion we got to see Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the 1968 film based on the novel by Ian Fleming – the very same Ian Fleming that created James Bond. I never got to see the magic show at the end of this one because I cried so much and had to be taken home!

It’s a bizarre fantasy tale which sees eccentric inventor and widower Caractacus Potts (Dick Van Dyke) buying an old and rundown racing car which his two children, Jeremy (Adrian Hall) and Jemima (Heather Ripley), have taken a liking to. After fixing it up, they give it the name Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and set off for an adventure with their friend Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes).

This is where things get scary. They arrive in the kingdom of Vulgaria ruled by the wicked Baron Bomburst (Gert Frobe). The baron and his wife, Baroness Bomburst (Anna Quayle), both hate children, so they’ve employed the evil Child Catcher (Robert Helpmann) to snatch them all off the streets of Vulgaria. The baron wants Chitty and the creepy and grotesque Child Catcher goes after Jeremy and Jemima with his net. With the children imprisoned, Truly and Caractacus are befriended and aided by a toymaker (Benny Hill). With his help, they sneak into the Baron’s court where they try to free not only Jeremy and Jemima, but all of the town’s children before returning home with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

This was my first time watching it all the way through and although I didn’t run home to my mommy like before, I still found it…creepy. The feeling was the same with the Bird Woman in Mary Poppins (1964) and the Oompa Loompas in Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971) and I’ve never actually finished watching those movies either! Odd really because I never had a problem with Poltergeist (1982) or Jaws (1975), both which I saw when I was around five and enjoyed immensely though they were clearly not meant for children.

Apart from its unsettling child-snatching character, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang always seemed too outlandish; set in a place my imagination just never found interesting along with its candy coated protagonists. A big part of it has to do with it taking an incredibly long time to get to the adventure, at least an hour. In that time we wade through much of Caractacus’ eccentric qualities and learn all about Truly’s adorable nature, and even as a child I felt Jeremy and Jemima were just too annoying to be anything enjoyable.

Still, it’s hard not to see its appeal for many others. There are some memorable songs and genuinely comical moments and these help to make Chitty Chitty Bang Bang one of those films that families love watching all together.

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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