Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  • Directors: Ken Hughes
  • Producers: Albert R Broccoli, Stanley Sopel
  • Writers: Roald Dahl, Ken Hughes, Richard Maibaum
  • Genres: Family, Comedy, Musical, Fantasy
  • Actors: Dick Van Dyke, Sally Ann Howes, Adrian Hall, Heather Ripley, Lionel Jeffries

The time is the 1910s. Jeremy and Jemima Potts are playing in a wrecked car in Mr. Coggins’ junkyard. The wreck, Coggins explains to a potential customer, was a winning Grand Prix race car until it crashed. The customer is only interested in it for salvage, but Coggins accepts his offer, much to the children’s dismay.

On the way home, the children meet the beautiful Truly, who demands to know why they are not in school. They take her home to their windmill, where she is introduced to their eccentric father, Caractacus Potts—who is about to make an attempt to fly—and the equally eccentric Grandpa Potts, who, resplendent in soldiers’ uniform, explains that he is going to India for “a cup of tea with the Maharaja”, before disappearing into the outhouse at the end of the garden. Truly shows interest in Caractacus’ odd inventions, but he is affronted by her attempts to tell him that his children should be in school. Angrily, she leaves.

The children tell Caractacus about the car, and he promises to try and get it, although he can’t afford to outbid the scrap man. Edison, the family dog, discovers that the supposedly useless “sweets with holes in”, made by Caractacus, can whistle. Caractacus goes to a local sweet factory the next day, and attempts to show his new candy to Lord Scrumptious, who turns out to be Truly’s father. He initially refuses to look at the sweets, but eventually gives in, and finds he likes them. However, the whistling attracts every dog in the village, and they ruin the factory’s confectionery, and Lord Scrumptious throws Caractacus out.

Back at the seaside, Jeremy and Jemima finish the story themselves: “And Daddy and Truly were married!” “And lived happily ever after!” When Truly asks, “Is that how the story ends?” Caractacus is evasive, and later tries to “apologize” for the children’s ending by saying “It’s ridiculus for the children to say that”. Truly, feeling rebuffed, storms off. The Potts arrive home to find Lord Scrumptious waiting with wonderful news: he has decided to market the whistling sweets Caractacus invented to dogs. Now assured of riches, Caractacus is about to sign the contract, but dashes off in Chitty to tell Truly the news. He runs her off the road yet again, carries her from the car, and they decide to be married after all. As they drive off together in Chitty, the car takes to the air again, this time without wings.

Ransom

  • Directors: Ron Howard
  • Producers: Brian Grazer, Kip Hagopian, Scott Rudin
  • Writers: Story, Cyril Hume, Richard Maibaum, Screenplay, Richard Price, Alexander Ignon
  • Genres: Action, Crime, Thriller
  • Actors: Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Gary Sinise

While multimillionaire airline owner Tom Mullen (Mel Gibson) attends a science fair in Central Park that his wife Kate (Rene Russo) is judging, their son Sean (Brawley Nolte) is kidnapped. Sean is taken to an apartment by Maris Conner (Lili Taylor), who previously worked for Mullen as a caterer at a party, along with small-time criminal Cubby Barnes (Donnie Wahlberg), Cubby’s older brother Clark (Liev Schreiber) and high-tech criminal Miles Roberts (Evan Handler). Tom and Kate receive an untraceable email from the kidnappers, demanding $2 million as ransom. Tom calls the FBI, who set up a base of operations in his apartment.

Detective Jimmy Shaker (Gary Sinise) of the NYPD is arresting a perpetrator in a convenience store when Cubby comes in and nervously buys some FrankenBerry cereal. Shaker follows Cubby into the building where the kidnappers are residing; Shaker is the mastermind behind the kidnapping and is romantically involved with Maris. He chides Cubby for buying a box of kids’ cereal in front of cops during a kidnapping investigation. The group argues over the plan to kill Sean once the ransom has been delivered. Cubby tells Clark that he plans to release Sean despite the risk of identification.

Cops converge on Tom and Shaker outside the bank. Shaker panics and opens fire, killing several cops. Tom throws himself at Shaker and Shaker loses his gun to Tom. Tom throws Shaker through a store window and when they emerge they are surrounded by armed policemen. Shaker draws his back-up revolver from an ankle holster. Tom and Hawkins fire first, killing Shaker. The film closes as Hawkins stops the police from arresting Tom.

The Big Clock

  • Directors: John Farrow
  • Producers: John Farrow, Richard Maibaum
  • Writers: Story, Kenneth Fearing, Screenplay, Jonathan Latimer
  • Genres: Crime, Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Ray Milland, Charles Laughton, Maureen O Sullivan, Harry Morgan

The story is told in flashback. When it begins, George Stroud (Milland) is shown hiding from the police behind the “big clock” ― the largest and most sophisticated one ever built, which dominates the lobby of the giant publishing company where he works.

Stroud, a crime magazine’s crusading editor who is eager to spend more time with his wife, plans a long-postponed vacation from his job. Instead of meeting his wife at the train station, however, Stroud is preoccupied by an offer by his boss. He begins drinking and spends the evening out on the town with a glamorous blonde. She is later murdered and Stroud is assigned by his Hearst-like publishing boss Janoth (Laughton) to find the killer.

While investigating, Stroud tries to keep the facts of his night with the woman a secret because witnesses could recognize him. As the investigation proceeds to its conclusion, Stroud must try to disrupt his ordinarily brilliant investigative team as they increasingly build evidence (albeit wrong) that he is the killer.