Film 58: Bon Voyage (1962) Review
With the current pandemic, its giving me some more time to carry on with D23s film list. Time being needed for Bon Voyage.
What a long film? Coming in at 2 hours 11 minutes, I am not a fan of this film 🙁.
The synopsis from IMDB: “The Willards from Terre Haute, Indiana, travel abroad for a once-in-a-lifetime vacation in Paris, France. Harry Willard believes that the greatest problem will be avoiding tap water, but bringing his three children will prove to be more troublesome.”
Like many of the previous obscure films, I did not know anything about this film before going into it. After watching the film, I read the imdb synopsis above. Even that does not give much detail.
There are many moments in the film that I could tell it had been written for a slightly older audience. For example, Fred MacMurray’s character of Harry Willard becoming “stoned” from absinth. Not something to show a child but I couldn’t help but think Kylie Minogue was going to show up as the green fairy and a bohemian flash mob appearing (thank you moulin rouge for that one).
There are points in the film that show some of the men as possessive (through actions of hand placement). I guess this could be walt disney productions way of showing that women should be treated with respect considering the time of the films’ release but it just felt a bit overwhelming.
Small bursts of comedy come in at times during the film such as Harry losing his way in the sewers to find himself and his French dictionary translating a sign of flammable gases whilst he has an open flame; or even Harry at the start of the film during a bon voyage party explaining how he and his wife met to her peers. I felt that with the seriousness of the film they could have utilised more comedy to pick the film up, especially considering three actors used in previous films (Fred MacMurray, Tommy Kirk & Kevin Corcoran).
A person to mention though is Paul Smith. Paul Smith did the music for this film, along with many previous disney films too. His score for the film is subtle but I love that he was used during the era. The fanous Sherman Brothers also create alongside the main lyrics for Bon Voyage. If ever you hear the song though it sounds oddly family to ‘Make em Laugh’ from Singin’ in the Rain (released ten year before hand). When I heard it, I could not unhear it.
This is not one that I would watch again as I had actually watched it in 2 parts due to the length of the film, lack of focus and slow pace of the film.
Annoyingly I would give this film 3/10. The repetiveness of the two elder children’s relationship traits was a bit much for me and could have been concluded much sooner than they were.
Next up, a film I’ve seen before but not for a while: Big Red.