Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"

MGM is releasing 1968's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" today for the first time on Blu-ray, and I don't know whether to rush out to get the thing, or hide under the bed.

It's being billed as a "heart-warming family classic." Hmmm. Is it really? Sure, it starts out all lollipops and gumdrops, but then it takes a sharp turn into balls-to-the-wall horror.

The basic plot sounds harmless: Eccentric inventor Dick Van Dyke fixes up an old jalopy, which turns out to be a magic flying car. What fun! Then the Child Catcher (yes, that’s his name) arrives, with his greasy, stringy hair; huge nose; Wicked-Witch-of-the-West voice and horrific singular focus (“There are children here somewhere; I can smell them.”). Why hello, thirty years of therapy. If you've seen the movie, you know exactly what I'm talking about. He easily ranks right up near the top of my list of the scariest villains ever put on film.

Whaddya think -- benign family fare or the stuff of nightmares?


Nilliem said...

I still love it...creepy stuff and all!

Anonymous said...

It's a total allegory for World War 2, only with candy and a music box dancer. I loved it when I was a kid, because as scary as the child finder was, you knew Dick van Dyke was going to find a way to dance them out of danger.

Laurie said...

I LOVED this movie as a kid. Drove my family crazy playing the soundtrack for what seemed like a year straight. When I finally watched it again a few years ago with my own kids I found it unbearably unwatchable - though I still have a soft spot in my heart for Dick Van Dyke. I definitely ended up liking the music better than the movie!

Anonymous said...

I agree- I think that child-catcher was/is the scariest movie villain EVER!! I still get chills when I think about him. And try to imitate him. I heard some grown he-man movie star say the same thing on a late-night talk show recently!

Richard said...

I watch it as adult, and I feel cheated that what, 75%, of the action, never actually takes place, but is just the story being told during the picnic.
(Unless I'm completely not understandng the movie...)