Director: Ken Hughes
Year Released: 1968
An acquaintance - who is a huge fan of this movie - has been trying to convince me to watch this for years, citing three things that, alone, are awesome: the source text is by Ian Fleming (I am a Bond Obsessive), the screenplay is by Roald Dahl (one of my favorite authors as a kid) and it features a character who captures children with a net and locks them in prison (an unfathomably cool concept). He even forgot to mention one of my comedic heroes, Benny Hill, is in it. Sadly, these individual elements do not add up to an exciting musical: this one's overlong and kind of a drag, only picking up slightly in the last third when the movie goes off on a fantasy tangent about a mythical land called Vulgaria where children are forbidden, but even then it's chintzy-looking and sub-par as fantasy. At the time, star Dick Van Dyke promised it would "out-Disney Disney" (as mentioned on the IMDb), but that was just the booze talking.