When England was hit with heavy air raid attacks in WWII, many children in the cities were sent out to the country side to live with community hosts. The action put more children out of the way of possible harm from the Nazi bombing runs, but the long move to live with someone you didn’t know was pretty hard on the young ones.
This time seems like a dire moment in history to place a Disney musical film, but the children living in the 1940s needed a fun escape the same as children of the late 1960s did. It was a time of unrest and uncertainty, with Vietnam, Watergate, escalating prices and a looming gas shortage.
In late 1971, Disney released the part animation, part live-action film, "Bedknobs and Broomsticks." Using state-of-the-art special effects of the time, this colorful, funny tale still holds up in story and song if it fails on the now-cheesy light parade.
Perfectly timed for Halloween, the combo pack, Blu-ray, DVD was released this fall. I had the opportunity to screen the Blu-ray, which included some extras that came out with the original laser disc release. It was wonderful to see both Sherman brothers share their perspective on working with Walt Disney with the music for this film at the same time they were finally winding down production on other recent projects, like "Marry Poppins."
Carrie, Paul and Charlie find out their host, Miss Price, played by Angela Lansbury, is actually a witch who is studying by correspondence school. She is able to make the bed a time and space travel device which Dr. Who fans would understand in all of its timey-wimey, wibbly- wobbly greatness. Along the way they find the spell book with missing pages, the street-hustler warlock teaching the class with David Tomlinson as Emelius, a lion king who likes soccer and a museum where they bring the armor to life to fight the German army.
I really enjoyed the featurette, "The Wizards Of Special Effects," hosted by Jennifer Stone from Disney’s "Wizards Of Waverly Place," and a…Read more...