Book Vs Movie “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” (1971)

Book Vs. Movie: Bedknobs and Broomsticks

The Marty Norton Novels During WW2 Vs the 1971 Groovy Disney Film

The Margos are closing out our “Month of Disney” with the 50th Anniversary of Bedknobs and Broomsticks a partly animated film that is based on the wonderful stories by Mary Norton. An English writer of children’s books and was best known for the SciFi-Fantasy collection The Borrowers in the 1950s. For this story, she uses some supernatural elements to tell the tale of a trio of British kids during WW2 who are hiding out in the English countryside. They meet a local villager, Miss Price, who turns out to be an apprentice witch. 

The stories appeared as The Magic Bed Knob; or How to Become a Witch in Ten Easy Lessons and Bonfires and Broomsticks which in 1957 became Bedknobs and Broomsticks. The property was sold to Disney and was developed for years in the wake of the Mary Poppins success of the early 1960s. 

The movie takes place in 1940 where three kids (Carrie, Charlie, and Paul) are evacuated from London to live in Pepperidge Eye near the Dorset Coast at the start of the War. The Nazis are a big menace and Miss Price is studying witchcraft in order to fight them. With her magic spell, she creates a bed knob that can travel through space and time. In the movie, she is played by Angela Lansbury (a Book Vs Movie favorite!) and along with David Tomlinson (who has a tragic personal story!) they go on a weird and wonderful adventure that includes playing soccer with talking animals and invisible soldiers coming to their rescue to fight off the Germans. 

This production was one of the last for the Sherman Brothers for Disney and features some of their classic catchy music and a dance sequence that is a progressive step forward (for 1971 Disney!)  

So, between the original story and the animated movie–which did we prefer? 

In this ep the Margos discuss:

  • The backdrop of WW2 London and how it changed art created at that time
  • How Fascism is explained in this story
  • The main differences between the children’s novels & film. 
  • Starring: Angela Lansbury (Miss Price,) David Tomlinson (Mr. Browne,) Ian Weighill (Charlie Rawlins,) Cindy O’Callaghan (Carrie Rawlins,) Roy Snart (Paul Rawlins,) Roddy McDowell (Mr. Rowan Jelk,) Sam Jaffe (Bookman,) and Tessie O’Shea as Jessie Hobday. 

Clips used:

  • “The Beautiful Briny”
  • Bedknobs and Broomsticks  trailer
  • “Eglantine” 
  • “Portobello Road” 
  • “Substitutiary Locomotion”
  • “A Step in the Right Direction” 
  • Music by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Book Vs. Movie is part of the Frolic Podcast Network. Find more podcasts you will love Frolic.Media/podcasts

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