Though I had seen this film several times as a child (it was originally released in 1968) I never realized that it was based on a novel by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame. Wonders never cease! It is amazing that one of the premiere spy novelists could also write this wacky kids' story.
The very eccentric English inventor Caractacus Potter (Dick Van Dyke – Mary Poppins, Night at the Museum) is barely making enough money to support his family, which includes his equally strange father (Lionel Jeffries – Camelot) and his two children, Jeremy (Adrian Hall) and Jemima (Heather Ripley). Despite their lack of money they are quite happy.
Jeremy and Jemima beg their father to buy their favourite thing to play with – a broken down jalopy of a car from the local junk yard. Wanting to make his children happy, Caractacus does what he can, including a scheme involving Truly Scrumptious (Sally Ann Howes – Anna Karenina – 1948, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby), the daughter of a wealthy candy manufacturer, to raise the money to buy it. He then uses his skills as an inventor to fix the car up and they name it Chitty Chitty Bang Bang due to its noisy engine. Once it is operational the entire family along with Truly head out to the beach for a picnic.
During the picnic, Caractacus tells them all the tale of an inventor, his girlfriend, his two children, and a magical flying car Chitty. This story takes place in the far off land of Vulgaria. The evil ruler there, Baron Bomhurst (Gert Frobe – Goldfinger, The Longest Day), wants to get his hands on the magical car. His wife Baroness Bomhurst's (Anna Quayle – A Hard Day's Night, Casino Royale – 1966) hatred of the two kids leads to him banning children in Vulgaria. The children who live there are rounded up and put in a dungeon. Caractacus and his magic car have to now go about trying to rescue the children of Vulgaria.
Great songs, great script, a scary villain, humour, great acting, and fun parts you can sing along to. One of the best scenes in the film is when Caractacus and Truly pretend to be toys for the Baron. Van Dyke is fantastic as a marionette. The imagination involved in this scene and throughout the film is incredible. The Child Catcher is quite scary and might prevent the youngest of watchers from having a full night sleep after seeing it.
A classic and timeless story that will never lose its touch with kids. Actually, good for any age as long as you can remember what it felt like to be a kid. No language or violence. And a great positive attitude to boot. It will enchant the kids and keep the attention of the adults. The type of film that they seem to have forgotten how to make.
-All-new "Toot Sweet Symphony" melody maker – the Toot Sweet Toots Musical Maestro
-All-new "Chitty Chitty's, Bang Bang, Driving Game"
-Remembering Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Dick Van Dyke
-"A Fantasmagorical Motorcar" featurette
-Sherman Brothers' Rare Demos of the film's most popular songs
-Vintage Featurettes including, "The Ditchling Tinkerer," "Dick Van Dyke Press Interview," and "The Potts Children's Featurette"
-Vintage Advertising Gallery including English and French versions of the theatrical trailer and several television spots
-Sing-a-long version of the film