Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBB
USA, 1971. Walt Disney Productions. Screenplay by Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi, animation story by Ralph Wright, Ted Berman, based on the book by Mary Norton. Cinematography by Frank V. Phillips. Produced by Bill Walsh. Music by Irwin Kostal. Production Design by Peter Ellenshaw, John B. Mansbridge. Costume Design by Bill Thomas. Film Editing by Cotton Warburton.
In this special-effects laden Disney film, three London children are sent out of the city during World War II to avoid dangerous air raids. They go to live with a woman (Angela Lansbury) who they discover is an apprentice witch, and the eldest of the three children blackmails her into sharing her magical secrets with them. Together on a magical bed, they travel to London to visit her professor (David Tomlinson) who will help her develop a magical locomotion technology that will be helpful in the war effort.
The effects are excellent, and Lansbury seems to be having a good time with the material, but the overall result is a second-rate Mary Poppins with unmemorable songs by Poppins composers Richard and Robert Sherman.
Academy Award: Best Special Visual Effects
Nominations: Best Art Direction; Best Costume Design; Best Scoring: Adaptation and Original Song Score; Best Original Song (“The Age of Not Believing”)
Golden Globe Award Nomination: Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Angela Lansbury)