Another childhood favorite, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is as fascinating now as what it was when I was growing up as a child. By chance I looked on Amazon to see how expensive it was, and was amazed to see it so cheap (in comparison to other Disney classics). So as ever, it was in the basket!
Because of the sheer diversity in the plot and length of the film, I would imagine those that haven't seen this film to be deeply confused by all the talk of Witchcraft and so forth, so I'll try my best to consolidate the main themes...
It's 1940 and three young children have been evacuated to Scotland in search of a home. Grudgingly for a dashing Angela Landsbury, the kids are handed over to her, and so they must put up with the different way of life. Though they soon find out that the strange antics of this woman are because she is training to be a witch! And has been ever since signing up to a mailing list for spells and tricks. However, she fails to receive her last newsletter, and so must find the man who is head of this 'organization'. Let it be known however that this is merely the beginning...
One of the obvious talking points we always talk about with this film are the splendid animation scenes, shot quite flawlessly. In a day and age of tiresome computer graphics, it's fascinating to watch our live characters swim through a whole sea of painted drawings, and trek in a island that seems it could gape forever (thanks to the size of the massive stages used). Theirs also "that" scene were a whole army of ancient battle-dresses get up and fight the Germans... But without people inside them! As a kid, I was laughably scared of this scene because it's so darn real - even once you know how they did it, you can't fault the production and editing.
An interesting apsect of Disney films around this era is the hybrid between 70's culture and the intended WW2 theme. The haircuts of characters typically out-grown for the time.. The wierd and wacky nature of the Hastings/Medevil title sequence.. The charisma of the animals on the island, very similar to the latter Robin Hood (as is the animation). This is certainly a film you can sit down and really analyze - their are more themes going on than you actually think.
Sadly however, the 'product' in question isn't as perfect as the film. 2hrs 15mins later, I witnessed a re-edited, ADR'd (After-dubbed-recording) and poorly mastered film that most likely proves why it's so cheap in comparison to other Disney classics. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for film studio's wanting to revitalise old cans of film and presenting them, but it should be an option. The final product, in my own opinion, is too drawn out in sections where there were no need to tamper scenes. Most poorly of all, there were scenes where the voices had been over-dubbed! And on many occasions, out of sync with the lips. This is not a DVD problem - scan Google and you'll find that many, many people are voicing the same problems as myself.
Even when it was originally released, Disney shortened the film to that of it's premiere showing to make it more suitable for cinemas. I fear in these times that many kids may not have the patience to sit through such a film, which would be sad but it's a genuine reality that (dare I say it...) 'brats' enjoy - Joke-a-minute CGI movies with little human interaction.
But let it be known, the frames have all been squared off nicely which is a joy to see on a large TV, and the general cleaning up is great. I believe their was only one scene that needed computer-colorization, and that was a part of the Portobello Road dance/song sequence (which again, didn't need editing).
You're probably thinking "This is all nice, but is he being too critical?". If you've never watched this film, then do get it - No-one can deny it's a wondrous film. I just can't help but raise the issues above as someone who's watched this film hundreds of times since I was younger, so all I can suggest is if you're a "true" Disney enthusiast, consider one of their more sought after special editions. If you're not a deep analyst like moi, then consider buying this while it's cheap!
on 28 February 2016
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS [1971 / 2015] [Exclusive Limited Edition SteelBook] [Blu-ray] You’ll beWITCHED . . . You’ll beDAZZLED! A Most Musical Adventure . . . BEYOND ANYTHING BEFORE! A Triumphant Blend of Live Action and Disney Animation!
UK Exclusive Steelbook – Experience the extraordinary animation, enchanting music and Academy Awards® winning special effects in 1971 for Best Visual Effects of Walt Disney's beloved classic ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ and fully restored and remastered with dazzling bonus features in this Special Edition!
Hold on tight for a magical, musical, fun-filled journey! When young Charlie, Carrie and Paul move to a small village during World War II, they discover their host, Miss Eglantine Price [Dame Angela Lansbury], is an apprentice witch! Although her early attempts at magic create hilarious results, Miss Eglantine Price successfully casts a travelling spell on an ordinary bed knob, and they fly to the fantastic, animated Isle of Naboombu to find a powerful spell that will save England!
Also starring David Tomlinson [‘Mary Poppins’] and Roddy McDowall. ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ is a heart-warming adventure your family will love sharing again and again!
FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1971 29th Golden Globe® Awards: Nominated: Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy for Dame Angela Brigid Lansbury. 1971 44th Academy Awards®: Win: Best Visual Effects for Alan Maley, Eustace Lycett and Danny Lee. Nominated: Best Costume Design for Bill Thomas. Nominated: Best Art Direction for John B. Mansbridge, Peter Ellenshaw, Emile Kuri, Hal Gausman. Nominated: Best Original Song for Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Nominated: Best Original Song Score for Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman and Irwin Kostal. Leslie Caron, Lynn Redgrave, Judy Carne, and Dame Julie Andrews were all considered for the role of Eglantine Price before the Walt Disney studio decided on Dame Angela Lansbury. David Tomlinson replaced Ron Moody as Emelius Brown due to Ron Moody's busy schedule.
Cast: Dame Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson, Ian Weighill, Cindy O'Callaghan, Roy Snart, Ian Weighill, Roddy McDowall, Sam Jaffe, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Tessie O'Shea, John Ericson, Reginald Owen, Arthur Gould-Porter, Ben Wrigley, Cyril Delevanti, Rick Traeger, Manfred Lating, John Orchard, Leon Alton (uncredited), Conrad Bachmann (uncredited), James Brugman (uncredited), Patrick Dennis-Leigh (uncredited), Morgan Farley (uncredited), Arthur Malet (uncredited), Jack Raine (uncredited), Maxine Semon (uncredited), Arthur Space (uncredited) and Hank Worden (uncredited)
Voice Cast: Bob Holt, Lennie Weinrib and Dal McKennon
Director: Robert Stevenson
Producer: Bill Walsh
Screenplay: Bill Walsh (screenplay), Don DaGradi (screenplay), Ralph Wright (animation story), Ted Berman (animation story) and Mary Norton (book)
Composers: Richard M. Sherman (songs), Robert B. Sherman (songs) and Irwin Kostal (score) (uncredited)
Cinematography: Frank Phillips
Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo, French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish. Plus: Sing Along With The Movie Subtitles.
Running Time: 117 minutes
Region: All Regions
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Buena Vista Pictures / Walt Disney Studios
Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: Director Robert Stevenson’s ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ marked quite an advance in quality and entertainment value on the earlier two Walt Disney musicals produced in the wake of the fabulous success of ‘Mary Poppins;’ ‘The Happiest Millionaire’ and ‘The One and Only,’ which were genuine, original family entertainment. Its score is more memorable, its stars are quite at home with singing and dancing, and the magic in its make-up, while not quite matching ‘Mary Poppins’ in thrills and originality certainly holds the attention and offer lots of giggles and glee.
Based on two novels by Mary Norton, “The Magic Bed-Knob”  and ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ , is about the adventures of an apprentice witch and the three children she looks after during World War II. ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’  was a project first envisioned by Walt Disney when he first purchased the rights to “The Magic Bed-Knob” the year it was published. It would not become a film until five years after Disney's death.
Dame Angela Lansbury plays Miss Eglantine Price, a witch apprentice during World War II who has ambitions of helping England defeat the Nazis. Much to her dismay she is forced to take in three orphans from London who is Charlie [Ian Weighill], Paul [Roy Snart] and Carrie [Cindy O'Callaghan]. That night, however, they spy her attempting to ride her first broom, side-saddle and "Technically," say the instructions, "a witch is always a lady." Miss Eglantine Price does a couple of barrel rolls, then a nose dive, and crashes, heap like, into a hedge, whereupon the children decide to blackmail Miss Eglantine Price into serving them sausages and fries and into giving them pocket money as well. But soon the orphaned children immediately come to love and cherish Miss Eglantine Price for being a nice kind apprentice witch dedicated to helping Winston Churchill save England from the Nazi invasion.
Though her first spells create more laughs than magic, Miss Eglantine Price and the children soon find themselves swept away on board the fantastic flying bed. The four of them take off in search of the Professor Emelius Browne who runs the witch apprentice Correspondence school that Miss Eglantine Price is enrolled in. What they find is a conman, Professor Emelius Browne, the head of the Correspondence College of Witchcraft, who is played by David Tomlinson and Miss Eglantine Price fears all hope is lost. However, when they find the other half of a magical spell book in London, they fly off on an adventure, courtesy of a bed knob.
The loveliest part of the film and the section that can renew one's appreciation of the special gifts of the Disney people is the live-action-plus-cartoon sequence in Naboombu featuring, among other things, a tumultuous soccer game with David Tomlinson as referee, the rules are more a matter of royal decree, and a scuffling, baffling, riotously fun game ensues between all manner cartoon animals, that includes elephants, lions, bears, hogs, rhinos and cheetahs. We also get a wonderful an underwater ballet sequence in which Dame Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson dance in slow-motion surrounded by cartoon fish. It recalls the best of Disney, going all the way back to the first Silly Symphonies cartoons. This is essential viewing, not only for nostalgia buffs but also for a whole new generation yet to be introduced to Miss Eglantine Price’s magic.
Blu-ray Video Quality – Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents this film with a brilliant aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and is offered to us in stunning 1080p resolution encoded image. It’s a beautiful presentation of this classic film with sharpness excellent and colour wonderfully rich with realistic and appealing skin tones. If contrast occasionally gets extreme in trying to portray fogbound England, it’s not really detrimental to the final look of the film, and black levels blacks are deep and inky, with only a hint of crush in a few of the very darkest scenes, and fine detail being quite apparent. Lines are still intact and there appears to signs of jaggiest or compression artefacts. Even the look is VERY well replicated and rich. With this Walt Disney classic is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.66:1, you get presented with a very slim black bar left and right of your TV screen. It may not be a 5 star restoration, but they left it alone which is a good thing and let the natural look of the film shine through, for the most part, I am very pleased with the results.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment equally presents us with a really wonderful 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix that does justice to the delightful Oscar-nominated song scores, even if the ambient sound effects don’t get the wide spread or resonance through the soundstage that a modern musical film like ‘ENCHANTED’ would command. Dialogue and song lyrics have been expertly recorded and have been placed in the centre channel has some nice wallop to it, and certainly adds some nice density to the film. Ambient details are replicated nice, especially in the hustle and bustle of street market where they go to find the other half of the spell book. Overall a very pleasing audio track indeed.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature: Music and Magic: The Sherman Brothers  [480i] [1:33:1] [20:41] For those of you who are in the know may be confused by this bonus feature in which Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, restorer Scott McQueen, star Dame Angela Lansbury, Robert Stevenson (archive footage) and David Tomlinson (archive footage) extol the virtues of the newly reconstructed version of the film mentioned in the special feature. But the documentary on the 1971 ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ Walt Disney film which they discuss the making of the film, the origins of the songs, including portions of two that were dropped in pre-production, the pre-release, and the 1996 reinstatement of those cut scenes. But what is mentioned is some the actual deleted songs that had to be deleted from the film and they were “A Step In The Right Direction;” “Nobody’s Problem” sung by Dame Angela Lansbury. We also get to hear several Original Demo Recordings, plus best of all the “Portobello Road Ballet” that was originally over 10 minutes long, but in the actual film, was cut down to 4 minutes. Director and Screenplay: Les Perkins. Producers: Clare Baren, Ivan Hall, Jeff Kurtti and Michael Pellerin.
Special Feature: Deleted and Extended Songs  [1080p] [1.66:1] [23:54] Here we are presented with five song sequences either cut wholly or in part are presented here: “A Step In The Right Direction” [3:09]; “With a Flair” [4:18]; “Eglantine” [3:42]; “Portobello Road” [10:50] and “Nobody’s Problems” [1:23]. But what is nice about this special is that the first song you view is that the studio found production photographs and reconstructed the finished song, plus you hear the original music track. You can either watch each one individual or Play All.
Special Feature: Deleted and Extended Scenes  [1080p] [1.66:1] [10:06] Here we get presented eight individual sequences, which includes “Captain Greer;” “Ulterior Motives;” “The First Supper;” “Letter from Professor Browne;” “Extortion;” “Travelling Spell;” “Substitutiary Locomotion” and “Matchmaker.” You can either watch each one individual or Play All.
Special Feature: David Tomlinson Recording Session  [480i] [1:33:1] [1:10] Here we get to view a short rare snippet of David Tomlinson at a recording session for the film ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS,’ which happened in April 1970. This 70-second clip shows David Tomlinson as he croons the last few bars of “Portobello Road” to a pre-recorded orchestra playback, with the guidance of arranger/conductor Irwin Kostal. For some strange reason, the last five seconds goes all silent.
Special Feature: Disney Song Selection  [1080p] [1.66:1] [20:40] Here we are presented with the film’s six song sequences, which consist of “The Old Home Guard;” “The Age Of Not Believing;” “Eglantine;” “Portobello Road;” “The Beautiful Briny” and “Substitutiary Locomotion.” Here they may be watched individually or Play All and you can also sing along with the song lyrics provided with subtitles.
Special Feature: The Wizard of Special Effects  [1080p] [1:78:1] [8:06] Hosted by Disney Channel actress Jennifer Stone and looks at the differences between special effects done in the era of ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ and today’s “The Wizards of Waverly Place” by interviewing Disney effects historian Les Perkins, visual effects historian Greg Kimble and visual effects supervisor John Allison. They inform us about the visual effects for the film ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ where Ub Eert Iwerks who worked for Walt Disney, perfected the Sodium Vapor Screen Process, (occasionally referred to as yellowscreen) and is a photochemical film technique for combining actors and background footage with the cartoon characters. We also get to compare this to more modern “Green Screen” visual effects techniques and all in all it is really good and fascinating information here, but the special feature usually feels more like a promo for Jennifer Stone’s Disney Channel series, who to my mind is a totally ghastly and obnoxious precocious child actress and one I am so glad I was not able to view Jennifer Stone on the Disney Channel every week.
Theatrical Trailers [480i] [1:33:1] [9:00] Here we get to view four Theatrical Trailers to round of this supplemental package and they are: ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ [480i] [1.33:1] [3:40]; ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ [480i] [1.33:1] [1:30]; ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ [480i] [1.33:1] [2:19] and ‘Bedknobs and Broomsticks’ [480i] [1.33:1] [1:36]. Once again you can either view them separately or Play All.
BONUS: This Exclusive Limited Edition SteelBook Blu-ray UK Release is absolutely stunning, because the SteelBook has a beautifully embossed front and you have inside some nice coloured images, so is well worth purchasing this alone, instead of the ordinary Blu-ray Cover.
Finally, fans of the Walt Disney ‘BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS’ are going to be well pleased with this Exclusive Limited Edition SteelBook Blu-ray UK Release. It is so nice to go back and see one of Walt Disney’s live action films get the brilliant Blu-ray treatment, even if the extended cut isn’t included for those who would have wished to have been included in this Blu-ray disc. David Tomlinson is as always very cheery as he even is and the whole experience just brings one back to one’s childhood viewings of this classic Walt Disney film, but an even better bonus is seeing the wonderful Dame Angela Lansbury working her magic spell throughout the film. Now we can only hope that Walt Disney decides to delve into their deep pockets and pull out some more of those old live action classics. With a very nice stunning audio and video experience, and I cannot see why you shouldn’t make this a priority purchase, unless you really want to wait for the extended cut version. Like Dame Angela Lansbury, the film has aged well and retains all of its joyous magic experience. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No. Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
on 17 October 2004
I first saw this wonderful film when i was just a kid and i absolutely loved it, and now that i watch it when i am a bit older, i still love it equally as much, if not more.
Miss Price is a prim and proper typical English lady, who lives in a sleepy southern coastal village during World War II. What the other villages don't know however, is that she is in fact a mail order apprentice witch and so have no hesitation in lumbering her with three London evacuees, who later find out about her secret and try to blackmail her.
They agree that she will give them somthing, if they keep their mouths shut, and so puts a spell on one of their beds that allows them to travel anywhere on it just by turning one of the bedknobs. On finding out that the witch school that she is a student at, is closing her and the children use to the bed to travel to London to meet Proffessor Amelius Brown, the man in charge.
He reveals that he got all of the spells from an old book, of which the last half of the book is missing and so he cannot finish the course. Determined to find the final spell, the children, Miss Price, and Mr Brown embark on an adventure involving loads of talking animals, and a Nazi raiding party.
The acting is brilliant from all the people involved in the film. Angela Lansbury who plays Miss Price the 'good' witch who is trying to help her country using witch craft. Julie Andrews, Leslie Caron, Lynn Redgrave, and Judy Carne were considered for the role of Miss Price before Angela Lansbury was cast. David Tomlinson who plays Dr Amelius Brown the head of the school of witchcraft. Ron Moody was considered for the role of Mr. Brown before Tomlinson was cast.
Ian Weighill, Roy Snart, and Cindy O'Callaghan who play Charlie, Paul and Carrie respectively, the three children who come to stay with Miss Price.
Overall, 'Bedknobs And Broomsticks' is really great part - animated, part - real life movie that will entertain children for hours and hours. Adults will also enjoy the adventure with their kids. This was also the last film from the Disney studios to receive an Academy Award until 'The Little Mermaid' in 1989. Highly recommended, especially if you have children.
on 3 August 2007
Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks is probably one of the greatest films to ever come out of the studio. It is often compared to Mary Poppins and criticized for their similarities, but I however feel that Bedknobs and Broomsticks is an improvement over Mary Poppins, even when Mary Poppins had little to improve. The main reason for Bedknobs and Broomsticks' criticism is due to having been made in the period after Walt Disney's death, in which all of their films were criticized, even when they were superior to many Walt Disney era films such as the weak 101 Dalmatians (1961), The Sword in the Stone (1963) or The Jungle Book (1967). Bedknobs and Broomsticks is yet another Disney '70s jewel in the lights of The Rescuers (1977) or Pete's Dragon (1977).
World War II is haunting England and children are being evacuated from the city of London into the safer countryside. All children have found a nice home with a stranger family, except for the last three, Carey, Charles and Paul Rawlings who are then sent with Miss Eglantine Price into her large home. The children aren't happy about being with Miss Price at first, they wish to go back to London, even though they have practically nowhere to go there. This all changes when they discover Miss Price's secret, she is in fact a witch, an apprentice witch studying through correspondence and taught by Professor Emilius Browne, who is in fact nothing but a fake who takes his spells out of an old book. However, Mr. Browne is a nice person and he is amazed to find that his senseless words work for Miss Price and they soon start working together. With the aid of Mr. Browne's Traveling Spell, Miss Prince, Mr. Browne and the three children are able to travel around England by means of a bed and its magic bed-knob to search for only one thing, the missing spell of Substitutiary Locomotion, a spell fit for bringing the help needed to end the terrible war.
As corny and out of place as the plot may seem, Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a rather deep and serious film. Comparing it to Mary Poppins is silly, for Mary Poppins was a light-hearted comedy with no real plot, where Bedknobs and Broomsticks features a fantastic plot and clever dialog. Another similarity may include two new live-action/animation scenes, "The Beautiful Briny", an underwater animated musical festival and a wild soccer match with King Leonidas. The acting is fabulous, Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson play Miss Eglantine Price and Emilius Browne. Special effects in this film are top-notch and help to fully capture some scenes, the flying bed parts are some of my favorites. The music and songs are gorgeous! The Sherman brothers once again made a memorable and excellent soundtrack, songs include "The Old Home Guard", the Academy Award® Nominated "The Age of Not Believing", "Portobello Road", "The Beautiful Briny", "Substitutiary Locomotion" and the newly added "With a Flair" and "Nobody's Problem's for Me". Indeed, a lot of new scenes and previously cut segments were re-added to the movie, and the entire film has been remastered for better picture and audio performance.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a wonderful film and I'll recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Mary Poppins or Pete's Dragon or to anyone who wants a new and magical way to travel back in history to the era of War World II. This one is a classic!! 10/10.