In the early 20th century England, eccentric Caractacus Potts works as an inventor, a job which barely supports himself, his equally eccentric father, and his two adolescent children, Jeremy and Jemima. But they’re all happy. When the children beg their father to buy for them their favorite plaything – a broken down jalopy of a car sitting at a local junk yard – Caractacus does whatever he can to make some money to buy it. One scheme to raise money involves the unexpected assistance of a pretty and wealthy young woman they have just met named Truly Scrumptious, the daughter of a candy factory owner. But Caractacus eventually comes into another one time only windfall of money, enough to buy the car. Using his inventing skills, Caractacus transforms the piece of junk into a beautiful working machine, which they name Chitty Chitty Bang Bang because of the noise the engine makes. At a seaside picnic with his children and Truly, Caractacus spins a fanciful tale of an eccentric inventor, his pretty girlfriend (who is the daughter of a candy factory owner), his two children, and a magical car named Chitty all in the faraway land of Vulgaria. The ruthless Baron Bomburst, the ruler of Vulgaria, will do whatever he can to get his hands on the magical car. But because of Baroness Bomburst’s disdain for them, what are outlawed in Vulgaria are children, including the unsuspecting children of a foreign inventor of a magical car. —IMDb
Ken Hughes (1922-2001) b. Liverpool, England. Associated with the film industry for over fifty years, Hughes was a television playwright and novelist. Most of his films were crime thrillers, including a bizarre version of Macbeth transposed to American gangland, Joe Macbeth (1955). The success of The Trials of Oscar Wilde (1960) with Peter Finch led to bigger-budget projects. His most ambitious work was Cromwell (1970), in which the dictator of the Commonwealth was seen as a seventeenth-century Castro, leading his freedom fighters. Hughes did score back-to-back successes with the bond spoof Casino Royale (1967) and Disney’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). Later he directed Alfie Darling (1975), a 70s sex-comedy follow-up to the Oscar-nominated Alfie (1966). —britmovie.co.uk
Elephantine, but a wonderfully scored and jolly adventure peppered with bright and sunny sequences. The quirky casting helps, notably Helpmann, source of many a childhood scare and Anna Quayle as a oddly eroticised Baroness. 1960s road show musicals are such an underrated sub-genre – too straightforward, intent on pleasure and damned as filmed theatre no doubt – but this remains a handsome and rollicking example.
So many great elements and memories. Somehow I sat through this entire thing multiple times as a child. Childcatcher = stuff of nightmares