Who plays the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

THE child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang remains one of the most sinister children's film characters.

So it may come as a surprise that the fearsome fiend was actually played by one of Australia's most talented ballet dancers.

Who plays the child catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

The fearsome Child Catcher is played by Robert Helpmann.

Helpmann was an Australian ballet dancer, actor, director and choreographer.

In 1932, Helpmann joined the prestigious Vic-Wells Ballet school in London, soon becoming one of the leading male dancers.

However Helpmann began to take on a greater number of acting roles, particularly in Shakespeare productions.

During this time, Helpmann acted in several films – including  The Red Shoes, The Tales of Hoffmann and most famously, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

In 1965, the talented actor and dancer became co-director of the Australian Ballet.

The star was so acclaimed that he was given a state funeral in Sydney upon his death.

Despite playing one of the most fearsome children's characters, Heather Ripley who played Jemima said that Robert Helpmann was not scary in the slightest.

She said he: "was the least scariest person I have ever met in my life. There was absolutely nothing about him that was scary. He was a sweet and charming gentleman. But the way he moved, could be very scary."

Where is the child catcher scene filmed?

In the film, the unforgettable child catcher scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang takes place in the fictional child-resenting kingdom of Vulgaria.

In fact, the scene was filmed in a town square in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, in Bavaria.

The ancient town is known for its medieval buildings, making it the perfect setting.

Interestingly, during filming for the scene, Robert Helpmann was nearly killed when his carriage overturned.

The agile dancer managed to leap from of the moving wheel and escape safely.

Rothenburg was also used to film scenes at the house of Gregorovitch for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 and Part 2.

What does the child catcher say?

The child catcher's most famous saying “I smell children…” has haunted the minds of children and adults alike.

Tempting the children out from their hiding places, the child catcher also says: "Here we are children, come and get your lollipops, lollipops, come along my little ones.

"They're all free today, cherry pie, cream puffs, ice cream, treacle tart."

"Come along, kiddie-winkies!", he drawls.

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