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Bedknobs and Broomsticks: Enchanted Musical Edition - family and children's DVD / music concert DVD review
BEDKNOBS AND BROOMSTICKS: ENCHANTED MUSICAL EDITION Rated G by the MPAA curledupdvd.com rating: 4 1/2 stars
Featuring: Angela Lansbury, David Tomlinson, Roddy McDowall, Sam Jaffe, Reginald Owen
Director: Robert Stevenson Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
DVD release: 08 September 2009 Runtime: 139 min.
(1 disc)
Format: Color, DVD, Special Edition, NTSC
DVD features: Aspect ratio 1.66:1, Audio tracks (5.1 Dolby Digital Surround - English, French), Subtitles (English SDH, French, Spanish), The Wizards of Special Effects, Music Magic: The Sherman Brothers, Deleted song ("A Step in the Right Direction"), "Portobello Road" Recording Session, Sneak peeks, Trailers

Set at the beginning of World War II, Bedknobs and Broomsticks brings together an eager apprentice witch, a cheerful swindler, and three cheeky young orphans to save England from the Germans. The re-release of the film originally shown in 1971 adds in nearly all of the scenes that were cut back then to get it under two hours, bringing the running time now to a whopping 140 minutes total.

Angela Lansbury's Eglantine Price, confirmed and happy bachelorette, has purchased a correspondence course on witchcraft. Studiously learning every spell, she has hopes of helping with the war effort eventually with a dramatic spell called Subtitutiary Locomotion - animating and controlling objects. Unfortunately for her, that final spell is part of the last class, and the school has been closed down. Upon receiving the news that she will not get the spells she has been waiting for, Ms. Price takes matters into her own hands, heading off to London in search of her instructor, Mr. Browne. In the middle of all of this chaos, three orphan children from the city are dropped into her home to be under her care during the war. With one of the earlier spells, Ms. Price enchants a bedknob from an old traditional brass bed, allowing them to travel at whim. In London, they track down Mr. Browne and really begin their adventure.

Bedknobs and Broomsticks was made in the tradition of Mary Poppins, with some of the same creative geniuses involved. The special effects are surprisingly phenomenal for the day and age - compared to some of the science fiction of the day - which were often as chunky and silly as to pull the viewer way out of that world. The musical numbers really shine, as well. "The Age of Not Believing," a number sung by Angela Lansbury, as Eglantine Price, is a personal favorite. "Portobello Road" gave Mr. Browne (David Tomlinson) a chance to shine. Some of the scenes are distracting as they have the original footage but not the sound that went with it. Lansbury was able to re-dub herself, but the rest were redone by newer voice actors. It is easy to spot the scenes that were cut out back in 1971, because the mouths often don't match up with the voices. Even so, it is a pleasure to see the whole story.

Among the special features is the one song that wasn't added back in, an interview with the men behind the music (the Sherman brothers), and a feature about the special effects now and then led by Jennifer Stone of The Wizards of Waverly Place. There is also a five-minute advertisement for blu-ray, which is more than a little odd.

Disney's Bedknobs and Broomsticks, while a bit long, is the sort of movie multi-generational families can appreciate and enjoy together.
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reviewed by Carolynn Evans
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