THING -Chitty Chitty Bang Bang -an in-depth look #1

“It’s just a kids’ movie,” I hear all the time. “Not worthy of analysis.”
Are only so-called serious films worthy of closer looks? Are funny things less worthy? Is less thought put in to making funny and ‘child-friendly’ films?

.

If so, things weren’t always this way, you know. Let’s take a closer look at Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to allow me to explain precisely what I mean (and also to somewhat-validate the theory I mentioned around here someplace).

.

Here is why I believe Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a movie masterpiece, worthy of the highest respect…

.


Ian Fleming’s? I don’t think so. From what I hear, this film bears little resemblance to the book written by Mr. Fleming.
Roald Dahl’s and Ken Hughes’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang perhaps doesn’t have the same ring.

.

PDVD_000 First of all -the crowd scenes. There are a lot of them in this movie. Normally, at least one ‘unnoticed’ figure is gazing awkwardly at the camera, or doing something innappropriate to the scene. However, there are no such distractions or mistakes in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

.

PDVD_001
Not only are all these ‘extras’ actually acting and excellently dressed, but shots are done in “quickspeed”, mimicking the quick-pacing of old black & white reels we would normally see from cameras of this era.

Note also the French Legionnaires standing around at the Grande Prix De France.

.

PDVD_003
The camera speeds along, showing this large-scene setup for all of a few seconds.
The height of the crowd undoubtedly masks the ‘paltry’ numbers (-without this height, we would notice there are only a few hundred people here, instead of the thousands that are implied).
Still, we never get a sense of this masking -we believe there are thousands.

.

PDVD_004
More crowds at the German Grand Prix. Different setups (obviously). See how here the camera is at ground-level, giving the impression of speed as cars whiz by, but also, again masking the depth of the spectators.

.

PDVD_005
German soldiers at this Grand Prix. Of course this is a bit stereotypical, but in other shots of this race, they’re also present among the crowd -not overtly as above -but this is a kids’ movie anyway afterall!
Note too the ‘germanic’ font.

.

PDVD_006
This opening sequence runs from the British Grand Prix 1907 to the British Grand Prix 1909 (just in case you might find that interesting). 🙂
Look at the posters -barely seen, but yet clearly detailed and suitable for the era. More posters later on.

.

PDVD_009
The original James Bond didn’t think much of the gadgetry Q had on offer.

.

PDVD_010
Quick note on the costumes -again, as with everything else in this film -excellent!
Not only are the magnificent ballgowns, etc. suitably detailed, but even here we see Mr. Coggin’s trousers held together like I’ve never seen before. This kind of detail in costumes is seen all through the movie.

.

PDVD_014
Reach for the skies Caractacus!

.

PDVD_016
“I’m off to India. Having tea with the Maharaja!”
I’ve heard plenty of euphemisms for taking a dump, but Lionel Jeffries has all the best ones in this film.
He even dresses for the occasion.

.

PDVD_019
In my old Pan & Scan VHS version, for years I wondered what that switch was that Professor Potts tells Ms. Scrumptious to flick (it was ‘chopped’ as she moves out of frame). …Now I know!

.

PDVD_022
“Last night I shot an elephant in my pyjamas”
“…How he ever got into my pyjamas I shall never know!”

Throwaway lines, set-designs, performance-quirks abound.

.

PDVD_026
Leaky roof.

But look at the faded newspaper photos & who knows what else Grandpa has stuck up next to his bed.
Look at what seems like four or more match boxes to his left and to his right -easy reach for him to light his lamp or pipe (-but remember children -never smoke in bed! Go outside first!)

.

PDVD_028
Eddison the dog. Of course.

.

Now continue to page 2 of this THING.

.

Or read the grand Chitty Chitty Bang Bang theory

.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This blog is kept spam free by WP-SpamFree.