*hitty Chitty Bang Bang Special Edition



Well...after all the waiting, it's finally landed. I wish I could say that it's truly scrumptious, but in truth, from the ashes of disaster (the previous DVD release) grow the roses of mediocrity. Like so many DVD "special editions" of late (A Christmas Story, Willy Wonka, etc), this one is a bit short on the "special".

The film itself is presented in two formats on the first disc. Both widescreen and pan & scan. The widescreen transfer is just slightly wider than the laserdisc release and the colors seem to me to be about the same, though my laserdisc is rotting and the colors are a bit compromised. It might be worth getting for the widescreen alone if you don't already have at that aspect ratio. Also on disc one is the "sing along" feature and a preview of the musical which only succeeds in demonstrating how fat Michael Ball is.

Disc two (home of the real disappointments) has a conversation type "documentary" with Dick Van Dyke (and ONLY Dick Van Dyke) where he reminisces about some of the cast. Another new feature is with Pierre Picton, owner of the nicest of the on-screen cars and it's kind of a fun look at the eccentric who owns and cares for the car. There are 3 vintage featurettes, one with designer Rowland Emett which is interesting, another which is apparently a press conference with Dick Van Dyke (boring) and the last "featuring the children" (but not really). One excellent special feature (and kudos to the person responsible!), is the inclusion of more than a dozen of the Shermans original demos for the film.

There are about 7 trailers for the film, both theatrical and television, but not the one which followed the film on the laserdisc version which, to me, seems like the genuine trailer. It is presented on the DVD in French, but not in English.

The remainder of the special features are kiddie things like digital coloring book, inventor games, etc.

I'm sure money may have been the reason for not presenting a more professional and interesting supplement. Sally Ann Howes is alive and well...I've seen her in NY. The kids, Heather Ripley and Adrian Hall, attended the premiere of the stage show in London, so they're definitely locateable. Very little is said about the locations or the production of the film. I was expecting a documentary of the caliber on MGM's Bond DVD releases given that the production company was largely the same. At least pay Dick enough to do a running commentary! Shame on you, MGM.

Perhaps what disappointed me most of all is that I feel that I could have made a better effort.


Active Member
Geez, this Christmas is turning out to be disappointing to me on the DVD front. I was looking forward to getting this. I guess I'll buy it anyway since I refused to buy the first DVD because the lack of widescreen, but now I'm not in any hurry...


The upside:
-- it's only $18.99 @ Best Buy; $19.99 @ Target
-- it sports a decent transfer and 5.1 remix
-- MGM actually issued the darn thing

The downside:
-- it's still the same disappointing, marginal mess
-- most of the songs are still awful
-- the supplements are as weak as the feature itself

Still, I imagine that most casual fans of the picture will be pleased with this DVD release.

Let's face it, CCBB is a lot like Disney's "Babes In Toyland." It's a picture one *wants* to like but it really just isn't very good.

Diabetics should stay far away from "Hush-a-bye-Mountain."


Dr. Know

My wife gave this to me for Christmas, and we sat down and watched it yesterday. I was actually very pleased with the transfer, and loved the special features on disc 2, but like Bill I'm disappointed that this release lacks all the bells and whistles that it should have had.

Dr. Know

As long as we are technically off topic, let's stay there...

Varese-Sarabande just announced that they will be releasing a special edition soundtrack to coincide with the dvd release (well, a little late), on February 24. It sounds like it will be a reissue of the now out-of-print Ryko cd, but we'll see.