The magic of Walt Disney lingers magnificently on in Bed knobs and Broomsticks.
The setting is a quaint olde-worlde English seaside village during the earlier days of World War II. Three Cockney kids (Roy Snart, Ian Weighill and Cindy O’Callaghan) are evacuated there and are as appalled by the dullness of it all as they are with the eccentricities and rules of Angela Lansbury with whom they are billetted. Then they discover she is studying witchcraft by correspondence course with the idea of using it against the Germans should they invade. Life takes on a rosier hue. They learn to perform all sorts of magic, fly to London on a bedstead and spend a joyous time in the never-never land [songs by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman].
It is when the film [based on the book by Mary Norton] dives deeply into the realms of fantasy that it is most enjoyable. The trip with the principals on the bedstead through the underwater kingdom of the fishes and animated football match between jungle animals with a superimposed David Tomlinson refereeing are not only sheer delights but technical masterpieces.
[In 1997 a 139-min. de facto director’s cut was released on homevideo.]
1971: Best Special Visual Effects.
Nominations: Best Costume Design, Art Direction, Original Song Score, Song (‘The Age of Not Believing’)