Bedknobs and Broomsticks

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Overview

Bedknobs and Broomsticks was produced several years after Walt Disney's death and released in the fall of 1971. As it turned out, Bedknobs was frequently compared to Mary Poppins -- probably thanks to several striking similarities between the two productions, notably the presence in the cast of David Tomlinson, the use of Cockney children as central characters, and the inclusion of sequences that combine animation and live-action. Set in wartime England, Bedknobs stars Angela Lansbury as Eglantine Price, a ...
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Overview

Bedknobs and Broomsticks was produced several years after Walt Disney's death and released in the fall of 1971. As it turned out, Bedknobs was frequently compared to Mary Poppins -- probably thanks to several striking similarities between the two productions, notably the presence in the cast of David Tomlinson, the use of Cockney children as central characters, and the inclusion of sequences that combine animation and live-action. Set in wartime England, Bedknobs stars Angela Lansbury as Eglantine Price, a would-be witch who hopes to use her newly acquired conjuring powers to forestall a Nazi invasion. Saddled with three surly kids who've been evacuated from London, Lansbury wins over her charges by performing various and sundry feats of magic. And, yes, she manages to foil a few Germans along the way. The film's most famous episode is an elaborate undersea fantasy, which combines animation with live-action on a gargantuan scale, dwarfing all previous Disney sequences along these lines.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Craig Butler
Rightfully criticized as being unsuccessful in its attempts to emulate Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks nevertheless is a quite likeable and rather appealing musical for children. More heavily plotted than Poppins -- perhaps a bit too much so -- Bedknobs also has a bit more meat on its bones -- again, perhaps a bit too much so. Both of these factors tend to make Bedknobs a little heavy-going at times. While the special effects themselves soar and glide, the film itself is not able to float along as effortlessly as it needs to. Part of the problem of the original was sheer length; at 141 minutes it was too long. (Conversely, the 117-minute edited version is too choppy.) The film is also not helped by the uninspired Sherman Brothers score, which revisits too many of their better-realized Poppins songs. The moody "Portobello Road" is a major exception, although it goes on too long, and "Substitutiary Locomotion" is enjoyable, despite its derivativeness. Fortunately, Bedknobs has tremendous assets in its cast, design, and special effects, which combine to make up for the shortcomings in script and song. The visual effects are exceptional, and the costumes and overall production design are quite magical. Angela Lansbury gives a magnetic performance, galvanizing the material and bringing the film to life as easily as she does inanimate objects. David Tomlinson is surprisingly well matched with her, and the children are fine. While it's a shame that Bedknobs is not the classic it could have been, there are more than enough assets to make it worth watching.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/25/1998
  • UPC: 012257016031
  • Original Release: 1971
  • Rating:

  • Source: Walt Disney Video
  • Format: VHS

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Angela Lansbury Eglantine Price
David Tomlinson Emelius Browne
Roddy McDowall Mr. Jelk
Sam Jaffe Bookman
John Ericson Col. Heller
Ian Weighall Charlie
Bruce Forsyth Swinburne
Cindy O'Callaghan Carrie
Reginald Owen Gen. Teagler
Cyril Delevanti German Sergeant
Hank Worden Militiaman
Roy Smart Paul
Tessie O'Shea Mrs. Hobday
Arthur E. Gould-Porter Capt. Greer
Ben Wrigley Street Sweeper
Rick Traeger German Sergeant
Manfred Lating German Sergeant
John Orchard Vendor
Robert Holt Voice Only
Lenny Weinrib Voice Only
Richard Peel Vendor (uncredited)
Irwin Kostal Conductor
Technical Credits
Robert Stevenson Director
Robert O. Cook Sound/Sound Designer
Don DaGradi Screenwriter
Peter Ellenshaw Art Director
Chris Hibler Asst. Director
Ward Kimball Animator
Irwin Kostal Musical Direction/Supervision
Danny Lee Special Effects
Eustace Lycett Special Effects
Alan Maley Special Effects
John Mansbridge Art Director
Donald McKayle Choreography
Frank Phillips Cinematographer
Robert J. Schiffer Makeup
Richard M. Sherman Score Composer, Songwriter
Robert B. Sherman Score Composer, Songwriter
Art Stevens Animator
Bill Thomas Costumes/Costume Designer
Bill Walsh Producer, Screenwriter
Cotton Warburton Editor
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 21 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(5)

3 Star

(4)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(1)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 21 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    MAGICAL!

    My family LOVES 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' My sister had a bed with brass knobs that turned and we would pretend to be the three kids in the movie. This was the first video I ever bought for my son who loved the soccer game and the 'Portobello Road' scene. I am now ordering the DVD for my grandaughter so we will have a third generation who feels that this is our all time favorite Disney live action/animation film!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    Classic childhood favorite

    This is a great movie and one of my favorites from childhood. A good gift for today's kids-- something different, but still fresh and enjoyable! Great characters and storyline keep kids interested-- good old magical fun for all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    CLASSIC

    One of the great Disney Classics. Every child should watch it at least once :o) Great fun for the whole family!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Not so bad

    I actually don't think this is so bad...While a lot of the negative points brought up in other reviews are true...the songs are indeed forgettable, and the story never really takes off...there is much to be enjoyed. Angela's take on her character is that she is a woman who does not want or particularly like children, and in that she succeeds. No, it isn't a full course meal, but it is a nice snack. The new dvd restoration puts back half an hour of song, dance and scenes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    not typical frou frou kids tale

    I saw this movie for the first time when I was a child. I loved the supernatural side to it and my favorite part was the idea of a magical bed that could ake you wherever you wanted. So many childrens movies today are either very fluffy or too jargonly-supernatural. This movie is just right...still appropriate for children, but enough imagination and beliefs outside the norm to to peak a child's interest. Great rainy afternoon treat--even for adults!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Wretched 'Creativity'

    I was a child when this film came out, and thought it just ok. About 20 years later, not remembering much about the film, I read Mary Norton's book; it was terrific writing, excellent storytelling, and had a wonderfully bittersweet ending. I then saw this film again just a few months ago -- oy, it's just awful. All of the really creative parts of Norton's book were tossed out in favor of new plot twists. This film seems a dismal attempt to copy 'Mary Poppins' -- really now, if Disney wanted to copy from themselves, one would think they'd at least do so with some panache. The undersea and island sequences, combining animation with live action, are horribly mediocre rip-offs of the similar sections of 'Mary Poppins'. Angela Lansbury, talented though she is, seems not to really know what the tone of the film is [the director must not have been very communicative]. And even though the songs are some of the worst things the Sherman brothers ever wrote, it doesn't help that Disney skimped on the budget -- the 'Portobello Road' production number, obviously trying desperately to be like 'Who Will Buy' in 'Oliver', looks like a sorely underfunded dinner theatre production [and this writer has done plenty of wretched dinner theatre productions]. Avoid this film; read the Mary Norton book instead [really touching ending].

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    Posted December 27, 2008

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