Today we’re going to talk about Bedknobs and Broomsticks, a Disney classic from the 70s. If anyone hasn’t seen this, please return to your childhood for a two hours to be enriched.
When I first saw this as a 6-9 year old, I didn’t understand too much of what was going on. I definitely did not understand the whole WWII bit of it. All I got was a woman studying witchcraft made it so this bed could travel, and they experienced a lot of magic as they went in search for this star that was going to give her the spell that she wanted. And at the end she used the spell to scare away some military guys that had invaded her home (Nazis).
My major impressions were:
- Enhancing animals to be just as intelligent as humans was not inconceivable. And actually sounded pretty awesome.
- Learning magic should be used for good, moral purposes.
- Most magic should center around mysterious artifacts that transfer their powers to a chosen individual.
But since I watched the film again last night for the first time in probably 12 years or more, I picked up on a lot more, and realized how even though I didn’t completely understand the film as a child, it still influenced the way I saw the world. Here’s what I realized:
- Many people have asked me why I have such a problem with zombies (it’s way beyond a normal phobia. If you want to reduce me to tears within seconds, breathe like a zombie behind me. If I don’t dissolve in hysterics, watch out because I may attempt to break your neck before I realize you’re a real human). I haven’t really come up with a satisfactory answer for that question, but I know I’ve had a deep problem with disembodied spirits and disemspirited bodies since I was a small child. That may be (in part) because of this film. I remembered while watching it last night that I used to turn it off once it got to the ending where all the armor comes to life. I remembered how that part always gave me unhealthy levels of blood pressure. I can watch it now just fine, but it gave me undue stress in my childhood.
- I learned to always appreciate the perspective of a child – as a child. The answer to the main problem in the story was in a child’s book all along, and it took a child’s brain to find it. Maybe that taught me to look for magic in unexpected places…or that magic doesn’t have to be complicated. But definitely that children understand magic in a different way than adults are capable of, and I’m pretty sure that notion is why Harry Potter stuck so well to me. Something about magic being innate within and you just have to harness it…I don’t know. It’s magic, I can’t explain it. 🙂
- I’m pretty sure that this film is what influenced me to learn German. Whenever I did get brave enough to watch the end with the moving armor, I would listen to the Nazis speaking German to each other and think “that language sounds SO COOL and I really want to understand what they are saying” (most of it is not subtitled). I can’t begin to tally the ramifications that learning German has had on my life, but let’s limit it to the following two: I moved to Germany to fulfill a lifelong dream, and I’m currently dating a German who only captured my interest originally because I was hoping for a language partner (don’t worry, he’s okay with that).
So…that’s pretty awesome for a kids’ film. And really makes me think about what I’m going to show to my kids someday…