The most enduring movie musical

They were talking about the film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the radio this morning. Something that strikes me about that film is that the original book was written by Ian Flemming, writer of James Bond, that always excited me, what sort of magical human was able to come up with such grown-up stories yet in the same breath develop such a fantastic tale for kids!? The other most notable thing about that film was that the version I watched on VHS when I was little (taped from a Bank Holiday airing on ITV no doubt) mysteriously included none of the child-catcher moments! But I have now found out what happened in those early years, and my brother reminded me of it the other day; my mother would fast forward through all the bits where that evil fiend would appear. Well played, he’s scary. However, I feel it may have backfired, because Mam was not always so quick with her trigger! There was an occassion when I did see the child-catcher, and boy is he the scariest, most evil, malicious, out and out demoniacal being that ever entered the movie stage. Every baddie in every nightmare was him! He vindictively penetrated my REM for many years.

I see Sound of Music and Chitty as sisters either side of Mary Poppins. When I watched S.O.M. I always saw her as Mary Poppins, she was not Maria, likewise Caractus will always be Bert. I have only ever seen those two actors (Julie & Dick) in those three films, at least in their younger years (one must discount Princess Diaries and Night at The Museum), they are the three movie musicals which seem to be most universally loved still today. But maybe I’m missing out on other classics like a little film called The Wizard of Oz or Singing in The Rain.

But Mary Poppins is the best. It’s just so good. So original. We all forgive George Banks for his austere approach and celebrate with him as he is reformed. We love Jane for her sweetness. Michael for his face. Bert for his merrymaking. And everyone fancies Mary Poppins (especially the four year-old me). So I declare it the best, any contenders, fight me.

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