Bedknobs and Broomsticks is a fun mix of live action and animation and music clearly aimed at fans of Mary Poppins (both films were directed by Robert Stevenson) and based on the books by Mary Norton, who also wrote The Borrowers.
It’s deliciously British stuff (Bruce Forsyth co-stars!), set in England during World War II. Three children are evacuated from London and sent to stay with Eglantine Price (Lansbury), an apprentice witch. They are soon taken on a magical adventure (on a flying bed) to find a special spell book, on the way encountering Eglantine’s dishonest magical teacher (Tomlinson), a land of talking animals and evil Nazis.
While the live action/animated sequences occasionally look a bit creaky, this has some terrific moments, such as the soccer match between cartoon animals and the first flight of the magical bed. Do note there are two versions of the film – it was cut by half an hour when originally released, but a full-length (139 min) edition was brought out to celebrate the movie’s 25th anniversary.
Is Bedknobs And Broomsticks suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...