Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Herschel reckons that this is quite a slow film, right up until the point when all the animation begins.

I reckon that this is quite a slow film, but only after the point when all the animation begins.

Which of us is right? There's only one way to find out… FIIIGHT!!!

Well, maybe not.

When I was a kid, I really wanted to see this film, purely because of the clips that I'd seen of the live action cast and their bed travelling through the world of a cartoon. After all, cartoons equalled fun, so what kid wouldn't want to be transported to such a realm? Truly, this was exactly the sort of dream that the cinema made its trade delivering upon.

It's a first class tribute to Disney that today - some 40 years later - these now iconic composite sequences still deliver the fantasy with compelling authenticity. The frame-rate, the multiple layers - there are just no corners cut here. Unlike say in 2003's Looney Tunes - Back In Action.

Not only do Miss Price and company go on their own voyage to the bottom of the sea, but the intensity of ideas in the subsequent insane football match ensure that this cartoon world is as real, if not more so, than the significantly duller live-action one of the surrounding reels.

The tone of the whole film feels like it wants to be another Mary Poppins. As well as the hybrid sequences, we have another kindly witch, more independently moving household objects, and show-stopping songs galore, although none quite so catchy. Even David Tomlinson is in here. When a crowd of dancers begin springing around on a studio set of a generic American street trying to pass itself off as the centre of London, you can't help but wish that Dick Van Dyke were here'n'awl, busta.

Bedknobs And Broomsticks can be quite slow in places, and it's a shame that the famous cartoon / live action material actually represents only one small chunk of the film, but it remains as timeless now as ever.

(available here)

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