Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, by Ian Fleming

(hb; 1964: illustrated by John Burningham)

From the inside flap:

"'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' went the great car's exhaust pipes, and the big green Paragon Panther roared to life. The Pott family knew that their car was no ordinary car. The twins, Jeremy and Jemima, had noticed that right off. Her license plate read GEN 11, and that could be read genii by knowing people.

"There was something magical about her, too. The Potts found that out soon enough. The great car could be an airplane or a boat when she had a mind to. So the Potts took a sea voyage from their English home and, by chance, found a gangster's hidden cave across the Channel in France.

"It was the cave that really got the adventurous Pott family into trouble. It belonged to a mob of gangsters - Joe the Monster, Man-Mountain Fink, Soapy Sam, and Blood-Money Banks.

"Could the famous inventor Commander Caractacus Pott, his wife Mimsie, and the twins escape the clutches of Joe the Monster and his mob? Their only hope, their only ally, was

"CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG

"and she was just a car - or was she?"

Review:

Warm, clever, informative, unique fun-blast of a kid's book. Classic, memorable, worth owning.

The resulting film was released stateside on December 18, 1968.

Dick Van Dyke played Caractacus Potts. Sally Ann Howes played Truly Scrumptious. Lionel Jeffries played Grandpa Potts. Gert Fröbe played Baron Bomburst. Benny Hill played "Toymaker". Heather Ripley played Jemima Potts. Adrian Hall played Jeremy Potts. Desmond Llewelyn played George Coggins.

Ken Hughes directed the film, from a script he co-penned with Roald Dahl and Richard Maibaum.

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