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  • Writer's pictureShannon Heibler

Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)

I have such a deep well of fondness for this film. It's not nearly as tight as Mary Poppins but I honestly like it more. A woman living on her own who decides to learn witchcraft via correspondence college that she might better help her country fight the Nazis. I MEAN COME ON. There's also the face she makes when she's faced with bringing three children into her home. And the ability to turn any man who crosses her boundaries into a nice, white rabbit. What a gift Eglantine is.

And golly, do I ever wish that most of those things were no longer relatable. I wish that witchcraft didn't seem like a reasonable option in the face of men being tools or that we didn't have to continue to fight nazis. I mean, what the hell?? Why are we still dealing with these things? And why don't I at least have a fresh Sherman Brothers musical number to go about it to?


I think one of the loveliest things about this movie is how plain and almost gritty it is. Eglantine is not Mary Poppins and casting Angela Lansbury is genius. She's beyond talented (I love when she starts dancing with the shoes and can no longer hide Those Gams.) and lovely but earthy in a way that grounds her differently. Mary is meant to make it look effortless and a little beneath her but we see Eglantine really work at it and fall flat on her face. And I find that so much more interesting. (Obviously I love Mary, as will be apparent when that one comes up, but I relate so much more to Eglantine.) I'm 95% sure my next tattoo will be Eglantine as depicted on her broom with a sabre in the title cards.


I love the kiddos, too. I wish we got a little more time getting to know them but they're really clearly defined, even in their broad strokes. Paul's disillusionment with the world, so perfectly captured in "The Age of Not Believing", strikes a chord and comes to a sweet, natural conclusion without it being a Thing. Modern Disney would not pull that off.


I don't get Roddy McDowall's priest character. Kind of feels like a big chunk of the story got edited out and they forgot to edit the rest? Ben made a comment that it was kind of amazing that the occult was so prominently featured in a kid's movie and I kept waiting for the priest to see witchcraft and try to burn her at the stake? But he was just annoying and Eglantine didn't like entertaining. One relates.


Ink/Marker on paper.

9x12"


Takeaways:

-I'm proud of this one in that I rescued/finished it. A long, low energy week where my artistic energy was focused/fretted away elsewhere meant that I procrastinated like the dickens on this and when I finally sat down to work on it, I was hopelessly disappointed in everything I produced. I started with a stained glass but between forgetting that the liquid leading I have doesn't do fine detail and not having a clear idea figured out (it's Medieval! It's modern! It's a tattoo! It's heraldry!), how could I possibly make it work? I opted for a classic tattoo style and while it is Nothing Resembling the flash art I used as research, I'm mostly happy with it.

-Like I said, I really want an Eglantine tattoo and that's where this came from. I have also been toying around with the idea of a Queen of Wands (my favorite tarot card) tattoo and tried to combine them (adding to my already muddled idea) and that's where the sunflower on the flag comes from.

-Golly I just didn't do Ms. Lansbury's beautiful face justice. Sorry, Ang.

-I never ever would have thought I'd willing work with markers as much as I have been lately but I was so pleased with the Heathers roughs I did in marker, it's becoming a go to medium! I need fewer of those!!

-I think I'm extra pleased with this simply because this is the best mantra I can think of for a new year. Make Magic. Fight Nazis.


I hope you had a safe, relaxing, and meditative New Year celebration. I hope you continue to stay safe and stay home as much as you can. I hope that thinking about 2022 brings you hope against all odds.


Next week, STARGATE! I don't know if my excitement for this one outweighs my partner's dread but it's real close.


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