Release year: 1964
Director: Robert Stevenson
Screenwriter: Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi, P.L. Travers (novel)
Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis John, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Hermoine Baddeley
Ratings: 5 Oscars: Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Best Film Editing, Best Special Effects, Best Original Song, Best Music. 8 Oscar nominations: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Costume Design, Best Sound, Best Score. 1 Golden Globe: Best Actress (Julie Andrews).
Moviegeek Sunday Classic #30, week 1 2015
Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) are unruly children acting out to get the attention of their distant father Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson). After scaring away yet another nanny, they approach him with a request of how they wish their next nanny to be. Somehow their wish is heard and down from the sky comes the perfect nanny: Mary Poppins, and she isn’t leaving until everything is changed for the better.
With it’s charming mixture of live action and animation together with wonderfully catchy songs, Mary Poppins is still extremely popular, in fact it has never been out of print, as well as one of the best and most beloved family movies. There are several reasons for this, one is the brilliant concept of a magical nanny who flies down with her umbrella and a kind attitude. A concept that comes from the brilliant mind of P.L. Travers who created the wonderfull nanny in the 1920’s and whose reluctance to let her beloved character get adapted into film is described in the movie ‘Saving Mr. Banks‘ (2013). Another reason is the wonderful songs that fill the movie with cheerful magic and delight with their catchy lyrics and melodious tunes and stays in your head for days after. Be it the the award-winning ‘Chim Chim Che-ree’, Poppin’s signature song ‘A Spoonful of Sugar’ of the tongue tying ‘Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’, the songs of Mary Poppins is bound to put a smile on your face and an extra bounce in your step. But no matter how great the character is or how well written the songs, none of it would have matter without the right person to bring Poppins to life, and that person is without doubt Julie Andrews (The Sound of Music, 1965) who manages to hit the perfect blend of mildness and strictness, making her the perfect nanny and even does so whilst looking immaculate and beautiful. Her rosy cheeks, blue eyes and bright smile makes her a nanny that children and their parents will instantly wish for themselves and she keeps her grace no matter whether jumping through chimneys or dancing with penguins like only an English lady could. Van Dyke (Night at the Museum, 2006) is every bit as carefree and cheeky as anyone could wish for as Poppins’s pal Bert, playing his character with a great amount of charm that makes it impossible not to like him, and Tomlinson (The Love Bug, 1968) his perfect opposite as the children’s strict and stressful father who seems to have gotten his priorities wrong and forgotten how to enjoy life. The children are cute, big-eyed, adorable and obviously enjoying themselves as they participate in vitalizing a beloved family classic. A classic where the entire family can gather around a movie that begins and ends with a kite, contains the world’s longest word and is about the power of family and the importance of being present in the moment. It’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
This was the first DVD release from the Disney Studios and also holds the record of having the longest in-print status on video.
Walt Disney first attempted to purchase the rights in 1938, but P.L. Travers didn’t give in and sell the rights untill 1961.
Matthew Garber who played young Michael Banks was afraid of heights and was bribed with 10 cents extra per take, when they filmed the tea party scene.
Picture copyright: Disney