Treguna Mekoides and Trecorum Satis Dee
"I don’ t want locomotionary substitution, or remote intransitory convolution, only one precise solution is the key….substitutiary locomotion it must me! "
In her secluded country estate in the cover of night, mild-mannered apprentice witch Miss Price, along with her scraggly looking cat Cosmic Creepers, practiced her latest lessons from Professor Emelius Brown’s Correspondence College of Witchcraft. However, when three evacuee children from London take lodging in her home, her top-top secret identity is discovered and as an exchange for their silence she gives them a special Travelling Spell.
"The game’s up Miss Price, we know what you are"
A bedknob ( and its matching bed ) become the initiators of this fantastic spell, and it’s put to good use quickly when Miss Price and the children set out for London to enlist the aid of Professor Brown in searching for the all-important magic words of Substitutiary Locomotion. Their quest takes them to Portobello Road, the street where the riches of Ages are stowed, where they meet the wily Bookman ( Sam Jaffe ), another Substitutiary Locomotion spell-hunter and his knife-wielding henchman Swinburne; to the Beautiful Briny Sea where they have a chance to get a better peep at the plants and creatures of the deep; and to the not-so-mythical animated Isle of Namboombo, a land of talking animals where the legendary magician Astoroth ( the spell’s creator ) was believed to have spent his final days. Aha….but do they find the magic words to Subtitutiary Locomotion AND put it to use before the approaching Nazis invade Pepperinge Eye and the coast of England?
Well, this being a Walt Disney movie, I’m sure we all know the answer to that question.
"Bedknobs and Broomsticks" was based on two books written by childrens author Mary Norton in the mid-1940s. " The Magic Bedknob, or How to be a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons" and its sequel "Bonfires and Broomsticks" were originally purchased by walt Disney in 1963 as a back-up plan in case P.L Travers did not like the retelling of her story Mary Poppins, a movie which was already in its pre-production stages at the time.
Since Mary Poppins got the go ahead, Bedknobs and Broomsticks was put the back-burner and it was not until 1969 that Bill Walsh blew the dust of the kettle and got it boiling again.
Initially Julie Andrews was offered the part of Eglantine Price ( along with Leslie Caron, and Lynn Redgrave ) but had turned down the role. She later changed her mind, feeling she owed her start to Disney and wanted to work at the Studios again, but by this time Angela Lansbury had already been offered the role and accepted …signing the contract on Halloween Day of 1969.
And what a great choice she was! Miss Lansbury played Eglantine, the apprentice witch, with conviction and heart. And the wonderful David Tomlinson ( Mr.Banks of "Mary Poppins" ) played penny-any magician Professor Emelius Browne, a role he took to with a flair.
Mr. Browne : Bookman! Before your very eyes, I shall cause this bed, and all the occupants upon it, to disappear!
Bookman : Disappear? I should like to see a cheap-jack tenth-rate entertainer do a trick like that.
Mr. Browne : Cheap-jack entertainer. Now that was naughty.
The three children ( Ian Weighall, Roy Snart, Cindy O’Callaghan ) were all making their screen debuts and save for Cindy O’Callaghan, have not done any other film work since then. A pity, because they were very good child actors.
Miss Price wasn’t a very capable witch, even for an amateur. She couldn’t fly a broom straight, nor turn a person into a frog ( although she did have a knack for morphing them into fluffy white rabbits ) but she had a heart of gold and tried the best she could to save her beloved England. Technically, a witch is a lady unless circumstances dictate otherwise, and at the closing we see this clearly demonstrated in Eglantine as she dons her battle helmet and pulls out all the stops to fight the Nazis had on.
|Prepared for Attack!|