Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971): Disney’s Oscar-Winning Fable Starring Angela Lansbury

“Bedknobs and Broomsticks” was produced several years after Walt Disney’s death, but released in 1971.

At the time, the movie suffered from inevitable comparisons with “Mary Poppins,” due to some similarities between the two productions, such as the presence of actor David Tomlinson, the casting of Cockney children as characters, and the combination of animation and live-action sequences.

Set in wartime England, “Bedknobs and Broomsticks” stars Angela Lansbury as Eglantine Price, a would-be witch who hopes to use her powers to forestall a Nazi invasion.

Saddled with three surly kids who’ve been evacuated from London, Lansbury wins over her charges by performing all kinds of magic feats.  As a result, she succeeds in foiling Germans along the way.

The film’s most famous scene is an under-sea fantasy, which combines on a grand scale animation with live-action, never before seen in previous Disney productions.


Oscar Nominations: 

Art Direction-Set Decoration: John B. Mansbridge and Peter Ellenshaw; Emile Kuri and Hal Gausman

Song: “The Age of Not Believing,” music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Score (original): Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Irwin Kostal

Costume Design: Bill Thomas

Special Visual Effects: Alan Maley, Eustace Lycett, Danny Lee


Oscar Awards: 1

Special Visual Effects: Alan Maley, Eustace Lycett, Danny Lee


Oscar Context:

The Art Direction Oscar went to the historical drama, “Nicholas and Alexandra,” which also won Costume Design for Yvonne Blake and Antonia Castillo.

“Shaft” won Best Song Oscar, and John Williams received the Scoring Oscar for the musical, “Fiddler on the Roof.”



Running time: 117 Minutes.

Directed by Robert Stevenson.

Screenplay: Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi.

Released: November 11, 1971.



Angela Lansbury as Eglantine Price

David Tomlinson as Emelius Browne

Roddy McDowall as Mr. Jelk

Sam Jaffe as Bookman

John Ericson as Col. Heller

Bruce Forsyth as Swinburne