BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS is such a timeless classic that it’ll outlive us all, and still be here when we are long gone. It truly was ahead of it’s time, much like Mary Poppins. This is what you raise your children too.
While often compared to Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks stands strong separately from the popular classic. The comparisons to Mary Poppins are fair, with many similarities in casting, stylistic choices in animation and direction and the Sherman Brothers providing the soundtrack. Even the storyline shares similarities; both films have young children being cared for by magical nannies who provide them with exciting adventures. That’s where the similarities end.
Set in World War II, three siblings are sent to live with Miss Price in the English countryside after being evacuated from the city. Miss Price is no ordinary caregiver, but rather an apprentice witch who is anything but enthusiastic when it comes to the prospect of caring for young children. Miss Price is a dutiful student, practicing her magic in the hope that she can help to bring the war to an end. The children watch her practicing her magic and attempting to fly her new broomstick, and beg her to show them more. Eventually she relents, enchanting a bedknob and entrusting it to one of the children, Paul.
Unfortunately for Miss Price, she is informed by letter that the College of Witchcraft is closing down so she does what any good prospective witch would do; she transports the children to London on her flying bed to visit her Headmaster to find out what it is that she needs to do to become a fully fledged witch. The group is charged with locating a missing spell, resulting in interesting adventures for all.
The film is well written and developed. The adventures and challenges faced by the characters throughout the film are cohesive and help the story to flow. Each adventure adds something to the story, whether it is character development, interesting backstory or the advancement of the plot. Not only do the group face the magical conundrums, but they also must face a Nazi raiding party, ultimately recruiting an army of misfits they’ve met and gathered throughout their adventures.
Ultimately, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a story of good triumphing over evil. Miss Price, the Headmaster and the children play an important role in the war effort, fighting against Nazi soldiers with only their minds and magic. Miss Price uses magic to reanimate the soldiers of a museum who quickly overwhelm and overpower the Nazi soldiers. Unfortunately for Miss Price, she is unable to defeat the Nazi soldiers without losing her beloved magic, but she ultimately decides that the loss was for a worthy cause. While Miss Price’s magic is no longer, Paul discovers that he still has the enchanted bedknob.
Based on two books by Mary Norton, Bedknobs and Broomsticks stays true to both the original story and spirit of Norton’s books. Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson bring Miss Eglantine Price and Mr Emelius Browne to live, doing true justice to their roles. Just like in Mary Poppins, the Sherman Brother’s music bring the story to life. The musical numbers are definitely high points throughout the film, with catchy songs that are unlikely to be forgotten anytime soon. The songs are a great addition to the magical story. The soundtrack is definitely worth paying attention to.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is no Mary Poppins, but it doesn’t need to be; it is another creature all together, with it’s own merits worthy of attention. The animation of the film is superb, as is the entire plot. While a lengthy film (more than two hours), it’s definitely worth watching for all ages.
This Disney classic has aged well over the years. Sure you won’t be getting any new age Pixar video quality, but any one who grew up with this flick either from VHS or DVD should be well satisfied. Some apparent film grain at times, but overall very vague. I thought their might have been some instances of saturation with the many different sets of this film, but as most Disney fans have come to expect and enjoy is that the brand rarely displeases. Case in point, It’s Disney.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks hits blu-ray with a DTS HD-Master Audio 5.1 track. With the many musical scores and numbers it really utilizes the rear channels which brings joy to my ears. The street scene of song and dance just pops while cranked up. Great symphonic and Jazz numbers really resonate well making you feel like you are on Portobello Road there with them. Nothing to complain about in this department except the bass could have packed a bit more punch.
Music & Magic: The Sherman Brothers: Behind-The-Scenes Featurette — The Sherman Brothers Songwriting Team, Angela Lansbury And Scott MacQueen Share Stories On The Making Of The Film
Five Enchanting Deleted/Extended Songs: Including the deleted song “A Step In The Right Direction”
8 Special Deleted/Extended Scenes.
Digital Copy & DVD
Let’s make this simple. Timeless Disney classic! Upgraded quality on blu-ray than previous versions. No-brainer must own if you already know this movie. If this is new to you, then just treat’yo self!