*** THIS REVIEW IS FOR THE 2010 BLU-RAY REISSUE ***
Little prepares you for the print on this - it's simply extraordinary.
It's been frame-by-frame restored using the Lowry Digital Restoration Process which was used on all 20 of the Bond films, the three Godfather movies, the original Star Wars Trilogy, the Indiana Jones films and even the transfer of Avatar (all to much acclaim).
But this 2010 Blu Ray/DVD Combination pack reissue of 1968's "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" has to be a benchmark - even for them.
After the excellent 2DVD set issued a few years back, I didn't think that much more improvement could be wrenched out of the negative, but it has been. This transfer is practically faultless - BEAUTIFUL to look at for the whole duration of the movie. Directed with style and flair by Ken Hughes and filmed in 70mm Super Panavision Technicolor - it's a sumptuous feast of colours - you see their period clothes anew, the details in the inventions inside Caractacus Pott's hillside home, the uncluttered English countryside, the Scrumptious Sweet Factory, the seaside scenes, the two bumbling spies, the toy dance at the King's Birthday Party in the Palace where their love shines out and almost gets them caught - all of it - gorgeous to look at. There's old and 'New Extras' also...
Sally Ann Howes looks suitably wholesome and lovely, Dick Van Dyke is as likeable as ever (a much underrated leading man) and the songs are excellent if not a little twee in places. The quirks of Sixties movies remain intact too - the patience-sapping Overture at the beginning where a black screen sits there with only the roaring of car engines before the picture finally appears - the "Intermission" break in the middle (so you could go and buy sweets) where Chitty goes over the cliff-edge and you don't find out what happens until the film starts up again and you're back in your seats - all there - as it was in the cinema - and the original aspect retained too.
The child-catcher is still the scariest monster ever created in cinema (with Benny Hill being strangely creepy too) and the interplay between Gert Frobe and Anna Quayle as the bickering King and Queen of Vulgaria is still pricelessly funny. All this and Stanley Unwin speaking "...horribold..." English to Lionel Jeffries - which always makes me pine for The Small Faces 1967 album masterpiece 'Ogden's Nutgone Flake' (he spoke in between tracks on Side 2).
Sure it'll be too saccharine for our "Call Of Duty" teenagers to enjoy nowadays, but there's something timeless and lovely about this 'magical car' movie - and that beautifully evocative "Hushabye Mountain" melody always renders me a quivering mush whenever I hear it.
This 2010 BLU RAY of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is a superlative reissue of a family classic. Ian Fleming would indeed be shaken - and possibly even stirred.