24 movies Guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy

December 19th - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Poster

Year : 1968

Director: Ken Hughes

Starring: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Anne Howes, Benny Hill, Professor Stanley Unwin.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Again another non-christmas themed film on a Christmassy movies list - but everyone thinks of this film when they talk about Christmas TV favourites.

A quick summary of the plot. Professor Caractacus Potts lives at home with his father and his two young children. Potts ia a struggling inventor, whose magnificent (but seemingly over elaborate) inventions often only work intermittently and he is forever striving for an invention that will finally make him some money. When Potts gets to work doing up on an old racing car he finds it can also fly and also drive on the water, oh and its magic too. When Grandpa Potts gets kidnapped by a small european principality (who have mistaken Grandpa as the inventor of the flying car) Potts, his children and his romantic interest, Truly Scrumptious, fly off to the remote european castle kingdom to rescue him. There they find the kingdom whose people are ruled by fear, and the Potts are rushed off the streets by the local Toy maker who explains the regime. He also explains that under orders of the king, that children aren't allowed in the kingdom and this is strictly enforced by the evil child catcher. Caractacus, Truly and the toy maker hatch a cunning plan to rescue Grandpa. Meanwhile the two children are left in the toy maker's house with strict instructions to keep out of sight, unfortunately they don't and the child catcher catches them and takes them to the castle, meaning the an even more elaborate plan needs to be hatched by Potts to rescue Grandpa, Jemima, Jeremy and all the rest of the children hidden below the castle.

A second appearance on the list for Dick Van Dyke, thankfully after his attempt at a Cockney accent in Mary Poppins he doesn't attempt an accent at all here (so rather ridiculously we get the single American accent whilst all his family have classically english accents - but it's a lesser of two evils). The original novel was written by Ian Fleming (author of the James Bond Novels) and adapted by Roald Dahl which is a pretty fine combination that helps the film steer a different course than Disney would have taken, and towards a more dark and edgier places (for a family film anyway). Speaking of scary The Child catcher is surely one of the scariest cinematic creations of all time (portrayed by Robert Helpmann whose career as a world renowned principal ballerina no doubt helping him actualise the scary movements of the child catcher for maximum effect). The film has a cast of great British talent including glimpses of Max Wall, Barbara Windsor, professor Stanley Unwin, James Robertson Justice and the legendary Arthur Mullard (perhaps the actor with the smallest range in the history of British cinema).

Ok the kids are too squeaky, and the Child catcher is far too scary, and perhaps the lead role should have been given Wilf Lunn (of The Great Egg Race and Jigsaw fame) but Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a great family fun and a Christmas favourite so is placed at December 19th on our Films guaranteed to make you feel Christmassy (UK edition).

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