Bedknobs and Broomsticks
|Bedknobs and Broomsticks|
|Directed by||Robert Stevenson|
|Produced by||Bill Walsh|
|Screenplay by||Bill Walsh
|Based on||The Magic Bed Knob &
Bonfires and Broomsticks
by Mary Norton
Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
|Cinematography||Frank V. Phillips|
|Editing by||Cotton Warburton|
|Studio||Walt Disney Productions|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Running time||117 minutes|
Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a 1971 musical film produced by Walt Disney Productions and released by Buena Vista Distribution Company in North America on December 13, 1971. It is based upon the books The Magic Bed Knob; or, How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons (1943) and Bonfires and Broomsticks (1945) by English children's author Mary Norton. The film, which combines live action and animation, stars Angela Lansbury and David Tomlinson.
The film is frequently compared to Mary Poppins (1964): combining live action and animation and partly set in the streets of London. It shares some of the cast from Mary Poppins, namely Tomlinson, supporting actor Reginald Owen (in his last film role) and Arthur Malet, (Restored Version Only) a similar filmcrew, songwriters the Sherman Brothers, director Robert Stevenson, art director Peter Ellenshaw, and music director Irwin Kostal.
According to film critic Leonard Maltin's book Disney Films, Leslie Caron, Lynn Redgrave, Judy Carne, and Julie Andrews were all considered for the role of Eglantine Price before the Disney studio decided on Angela Lansbury. David Tomlinson replaced Ron Moody as Emelius Brown due to Moody's busy schedule in England. It won the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.
During the 1940 London Blitz, a family of three siblings, Charlie, Carrie and Paul Rawlins, are evacuated to the small village of Pepperinge Eye. There, they are placed in the care of Eglantine Price, who reluctantly accepts the trio into her home. The children learn that Miss Price is an apprentice witch, who wants to use her witchcraft to assist in the war effort. In exchange for their silence, Miss Price casts a spell on a bedknob that Paul removed from a brass bed in their room. When re-attached to the bed, it will travel anywhere that Paul asks. The next day, Miss Price receives a letter from the headteacher of her correspondence school informing her he is closing the college due to the war and cannot provide her with a crucial spell she has been waiting for to help her cause. As a result, she asks Paul if she can use the bed to go to London to track him down.
Reaching London, the four quickly encounter the headmaster, Emelius Browne, who is in fact a con artist. Browne is surprised to learn that the spells he thought were merely nonsense words out of an old book actually work for Miss Price. Miss Price asks to see the book, and Emelius takes the group to a mansion where he is currently residing (which is abandoned because of an unexploded bomb in the garden). While the children explore the home, Browne shows Miss Price the book, which is actually ripped in half, thus explaining why he closed the college before sending out the final spell.
Browne and Miss Price travel to Portobello Road with the children to search its many stalls and carts of old books. Their search attracts the attention of a spiv named Swinburne, who works for a man known as the Bookman, who has the other half of the book. Miss Price and the Bookman exchange their halves, but the completed text doesn't actually contain the spell itself but simply states that it is inscribed on a medallion known as the Star of Astoroth. Bookman tells the group that, during Astoroth's life, the wizard used his magic to imbue animals that he kept in cages and chains, with anthropomorphism. However, the animals rebelled, killed Astoroth, stole many of his possessions(including the star), sailed away on ship and were never seen or heard of again. But Bookman mentions that his half of the book has a final notation that says in the 17th century, a shipwrecked lascar was found lost at sea. The lascar was half crazy with thirst and sun exposure but swore that he saw an island ruled by animals. But Bookman says the island doesn't exist because he looked for it in every chart. When Bookman names the island, Paul realizes it's the island described in a children's book he took from Browne's house. Before Bookman can get the book, Miss Price, Browne and the children escape on the magical bed and travel to the island, Naboombu.
Eventually landing in a nearby lagoon, the group is caught by a bear that is fishing in the lagoon. The bear reveals that no people are intended to be on the island by order of the king. The bear then leads the party to meet the island's king, a lion. The king is upset because no one has volunteered to referee a royal soccer match. Browne convinces the king he can referee the match, and he observes the Star of Astoroth hanging on the king's neck while being trampled upon several times by the wild animals. Following the game, Mr. Browne secretly switches the Star with his referee's whistle and the group escapes on the magical bed. Upon returning home, Miss Price discovers that the Star has disappeared, as it cannot leave the fantasy world. Fortunately, Paul reveals that the words of the “substitutiary locomotion” spell have been in his book all along. Miss Price attempts the spell, which gives inanimate objects the ability to move on their own, but is unable to control it.
Later, when Miss Price and the children are informed that they can be relocated, they realize they have become comfortable with each other. However, Paul refers to Mr. Browne as 'Dad' which immediately makes him and Miss Price uneasy. Mr. Browne decides to take the first train back to London, and he bids a sad goodbye to the children as Miss Price warmly thanks him for all his help. At the station, learning that there won't be any trains until the morning, Mr. Browne decides to sleep on the bench but then feels guilty for leaving the family.
That night, a German raiding party invades Pepperinge Eye and commandeers Miss Price's house. She and the children are captured and taken to the village museum, inside an old castle. Mr. Browne discovers other Germans engaging in acts of sabotage. He returns to Miss Price's home and breaks into her workshop. The Germans hear the noise but Browne uses a spell to turn himself into a rabbit just as they confront him. He then joins group at the castle where he reverts to his human form, and suggests the substitutiary locomotion spell be cast on the old uniforms and weapons in the castle. Miss Price agrees and uses the spell to create a magical army of medieval knights, Elizabethan Guards, Cavaliers, Redcoats, and Highlanders.
The Germans, unable to stop the seemingly invincible army, retreat back into the sea but not before destroying Miss Price's workshop. The explosion knocks her from the sky, where she had been directing the magical attack astride a flying broomstick. This breaks the spell. Miss Price accepts that this is the end of her days as a witch, but is happy she got to make a small contribution to the war effort. The next morning, Mr. Browne enlists and departs (with an escort from the local Home Guard) but promises to return. Charlie bemoans that their adventures are over, only for Paul to reveal he still has the magical bedknob, implying that they can at least go anywhere they like.
The voices of:
Bedknobs and Broomsticks was originally intended to be a large-scale epic holiday release similar to Mary Poppins, but after its premiere, it was shortened from its two and a half-hour length (while the liner notes on the soundtrack reissue in 2002 claims it was closer to three hours) to a more manageable (to movie theatres) two hours. Along with a minor subplot involving Roddy McDowall's character, three songs were removed entirely, and the central dance number "Portobello Road" was shortened by more than six minutes.
Upon rediscovering the removed song "A Step in the Right Direction" on the original soundtrack album, Disney decided to reconstruct the film's original running length. Most of the film material was found, but some segments of "Portobello Road" had to be reconstructed from work prints with digital re-coloration to match the film quality of the main content. The footage for "A Step in the Right Direction" was never located; as of 2009, it remains lost. A reconstruction of "A Step in the Right Direction", using the original music track linked up to existing production stills, was included on the DVD as an extra to convey an idea of what the lost sequence would have looked like. The edit included several newly discovered songs, including "Nobody's Problems", performed by Lansbury. The number had been cut before the premiere of the film. Lansbury had only made a demo recording, singing with a solo piano because the orchestrations would have been added when the picture was scored. When the song was cut, the orchestrations had not yet been added; therefore, it was finally orchestrated, and put together when it was placed back into the film.
The soundtrack for some of the spoken tracks was unrecoverable. Therefore, Lansbury and McDowall re-dubbed their parts, while other actors made ADR dubs for those who were unavailable. Even though David Tomlinson was still alive when the film was being reconstructed, he was in ill-health, and unavailable to provide ADR for Emelius Browne. Some of the alternate actors that re-dubbed the newly inserted scenes had questionable likenesses to that of the original voices (the postmistress, for example, had a British regional accented voice that changed from Welsh to Scottish and back again on the reconstructed scenes). Elements of the underscoring were either moved or extended when it was necessary to benefit the new material. The extended version of the film was originally released on laserdisc and VHS in 1996, and on DVD in 2001 for the 30th anniversary of the film.
The reconstruction additionally marks the first time the film was presented in stereophonic sound. Although the musical score was recorded in stereo, and the soundtrack album was presented that way, the film was released in mono sound.
The movie was reissued theatrically in 1979, with a lower time of 97 minutes, with all songs, excluding "Portobello Road" and "Beautiful Briny Sea", being muted out.
A new edition DVD called Bedknobs and Broomsticks: Enchanted Musical Edition was released on September 8, 2009. This new single-disc edition contains a new digitally restored and remastered version of the film, the Sherman Brothers Featurette (available on the old DVD), a new Special Effects documentary and the lost song "A Step in the Right Direction".
Awards and nominations
- Best Visual Effects (won) (Alan Maley, Eustace Lycett, and Danny Lee)
- Best Art Direction (John B. Mansbridge, Peter Ellenshaw, Emile Kuri and Hal Gausman, Nicholas and Alexandra won)
- Best Costume Design (Nicholas and Alexandra won)
- Best Scoring Adaptation and Original Song Score (Fiddler on the Roof won)
- Best Original Song for "The Age of Not Believing" ("the Theme from Shaft" won)
|Bedknobs and Broomsticks|
|Soundtrack album by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, and Irwin Kostal|
Although the film is in mono sound recording, the songs for the film were recorded in stereo. These songs include:
- "The Old Home Guard" (also known as "The Home Guard Song")
- "The Age of Not Believing" (received an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song)
- "With a Flair" (only in the 1996 reconstruction)
- "Don't Let Me Down"
- "Portobello Road"
- "The Beautiful Briny"
- "Substitutiary Locomotion"
- "A Step in the Right Direction"
- "Nobody's Problems"* (only in the 1996 reconstruction)
- "Solid Citizen"* (replaced by the football match)
- "Fundamental Element" * (sections were incorporated into "Don't Let Me Down")
- "Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 12, 2012.
- 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks: Cast & Crew' movies.msn.com
- 'Bedknobs & Broomsticks' Turner Classic Movies Database
- IMDB Bedknobs and Broomsticks. December 2011
- "NY Times: Bedknobs and Broomsticks". NY Times. Retrieved 2008-12-28.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Bedknobs and Broomsticks|
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the Internet Movie Database
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks at DBCult Film Institute
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks at the TCM Movie Database
- A contemporary, 1971 review
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks 30th Anniversary Edition DVD Review at UltimateDisney.com
- Bedknobs and Broomsticks at AllRovi