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Category:    Home > Reviews > Fantasy > Comedy > Drama > Musical > British > Bedknobs & Broomsticks – Enchanted Musical Edition (1971/Disney DVD)

Bedknobs & Broomsticks – Enchanted Musical Edition (1971/Disney DVD)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C     Film: C



An odd film by any measure, Robert Stevenson’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks (1971) offers Angela Lansbury as a good witch who could help some children find a magic spell to beat Nazis!  This is also a Musical and includes mixings of animation and live action.  This Enchanted Musical Edition is the longer restored version from 1996 and though it makes the film less choppy, it still never really works.


Lansbury is supported by a good cast that includes Roddy McDowall, David Tomlinson, Sam Jaffe, John Ericson, Reginald Owen and more, including the unseen voice actors for the animated characters.  Part of the problem is that the screenplay (based on the Mary Norton book) tries to juggle too much.  Political incorrectness is not the big problem here, though it is here.  The film lacks energy and never totally coheres.  Disney as a studio was trying to keep their brand of “magic’ going, but it was growing dim here and while the film did not bomb (they reissued it when Superman arrived in 1978 and spoofed its ad campaign), it is just another so-so feature.  For fans only.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 image is on the soft aside and the print does not look as colorful as it could, considering the animation was produced in three-strip Technicolor.  Almost a rough at times as the recent Pete’s Dragon DVD, it is a very mixed presentation, including softness and general inconsistency.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 is weak with slight harshness throughout and the dialogue sounding weaker than it should, as if the material were down a generation or two.  Extras include trailers, recoding session on the film, a reconstruction of “A Step In The Right Direction”, piece on The Sherman Brothers and visual effects featurette.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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