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  • Writer's pictureRonny Duncan Studios

Mary Poppins (1964) ft. Allyson Duncan


What is this movie is about?/Elevator Pitch: Love, family, whimsy, not being so jaded as an adult, youthful exuberance.


Plot Summary: After yet another nanny quits due to the behavior of his children, George Banks (David Tomlinson) needs to hire a new nanny. Mr. Banks advertises for a stern, no-nonsense nanny, and, yet, the next day, Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) descends from the clouds and proves anything but. Soon, with the help of her friend Bert (Dick Van Dyke), Mary's magical effect takes hold in the house with everything from helping the children clean their room to taking strange and magical trips. However, Mr. Banks' desire for stern and no-nonsense clashes with Mary, and a show-down looms.


Cast:

  • Robert Stevenson, Director

  • Bill Walsh/Don Da Gradi, Writers

  • Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins

  • Dick Van Dyke as Bert/Mr. Dawes Sr.

  • David Tomlinson as George Banks

  • Glynis Johns as Winifred Banks

  • Hermione Baddeley as Ellen

  • Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks

  • Matthew Garber as Michael Banks

  • Elsa Lanchester as Katie Nanna

  • Reginald Owen as Admiral Boom

  • Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert

  • Reta Shaw as Mrs. Brill

  • Don Barclay as Mr. Binnacle

  • Arthur Malet as Mr. Dawes Jr.

*Recognition:

  • Mary Poppins premiered on August 27, 1964 at Grauman's Chinese Theater.

  • The film earned $31 million in theatrical rentals in the United States and Canada during its initial run. It was one of the top 12 grossing films in the United States for 32 weeks.

  • The film was re-released theatrically in 1973, in honor of Walt Disney Productions' 50th anniversary, and earned an estimated additional $9 million in rentals in the United States and Canada.

  • The film was very profitable for Disney. Made on an estimated budget of $4.4–6 million, it was reported by Cobbett Steinberg to be the most profitable film of 1965, earning a net profit of $28.5 million. Walt Disney used his huge profits from the film to purchase land in central Florida and finance the construction of Walt Disney World.

  • Mary Poppins was nominated for 13 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Director (Stevenson), Adapted Screenplay (Walsh and DaGradi), Art Direction - Color, Cinematography - Color, Costume Design - Color, Adaptive Treatment Scoring, and Sound.

  • It won for Best Actress (Andrews), Film Editing, Original Score (Sherman and Sherman), Original Song (Chim Chim Cher-ee), and Special Visual Effects.

  • Mary Poppins also had the #36 Song on AFI's 100 Years ... 100 Songs: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and was the #6 Musical on AFI's 100 Years of Musicals.

  • In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress.

Did You Know:

  • P.L. Travers objected to the casting of Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews (she felt Andrews was too pretty compared to the plain, short and thin lady in the book).

  • Julie Andrews was approached by Disney to do the film but initially turned it down because she had recently found out that she was pregnant. He told her not to worry as filming would not start until well after she gave birth. He then turned to Tony Walton and asked what he did, when Tony informed Disney that he was a set and costume designer, Walt insisted that when Julie came out to LA in a few weeks Tony bring his portfolio. After briefly glancing at Tony’s work he hired him on the spot to design the exteriors for Cherry Tree Lane which included The Banks’ House, Admiral Boom’s, and several other townhouses as well as all the costumes.

  • Julie Andrews was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in Mary Poppins. When she won this was the end of her speech, “Finally, my thanks to a man who made a wonderful movie and who made all this possible in the first place… Mr. Jack Warner.” (referring to not being chosen to play Eliza Dolittle in My Fair Lady.)

  • After Julie Andrews won her Oscar, the recipients and presenters were asked to pose for a picture. She stood next to Audrey Hepburn, who had played Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady but had not been nominated instead presented Rex Harrison his award for My Fair Lady. Audrey turned to Julie and said, “Julie, you really should have done My Fair Lady… but I didn’t have the guts to turn it down.” Julie said that she completely understood and the two became friends.

  • Julie Andrews did not feel that she deserved to win the Oscar and hid her award in her attic for many years.

  • The Mary Poppins wigs drove Julie Andrews so crazy that she ended up cutting off most of her hair to make them work.

  • P.L. Travers phoned Julie Andrews on the morning after she gave birth, Julie was still in the hospital. ‘This is Pamela Travers. I understand you are going to be Mary Poppins…Well, talk to me,’ she demanded. Dame Julie explained, ‘I just had a baby yesterday, I’m feeling a bit out of it.’ To which the notoriously prickly author replied, ‘ Well, you’re far too pretty, but you do have the nose for it.’

  • In the Saving Mr. Banks movie, P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) begins tapping her toes when she first hears "Let's Go Fly a Kite." However, according to Poppins songwriter Richard M. Sherman, "Feed the Birds" was actually the song that broke her.

  • After seeing the film on the night of the premiere, a distraught Travers went up to Walt Disney and demanded that the animation be cut from the film. "Pamela, that ship has sailed," Disney replied before walking away. Pamela Travers's feud with Walt Disney would continue up to and beyond her death, prohibiting Disney from adapting any more of her books and vigorously protecting the stage rights to Mary Poppins (she would eventually turn the rights over to British theater producer Cameron Mackintosh in 1993).

  • Travers' disapproval and anger over the inclusion of partially animated scenes in the film caused her to weep by the end of the 1964 Hollywood movie premiere of Mary Poppins (Telegraph.co.uk). In a letter to her lawyer, Travers described her horror over what she had seen at the premiere, "As chalk is to cheese, so is the film to the book. Tears ran down my cheeks because it was all so distorted. I was so shocked I felt that I would never write---let alone smile---again!" (The Secret Life of Mary Poppins)

  • In a rare 1977 interview, P.L. Travers commented on the legacy of the film, "I've seen it once or twice, and I've learned to live with it. It's glamorous and it's a good film on its own level, but I don't think it is very like my books." -The Secret Life of Mary Poppins

  • According to Julie Andrews in her autobiography, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, “(P.L. Travers) never said a word to me about her opinion of the film. She did send a note to Walt, in which she called it a “splendid spectacle,” and complimented my “understated” performance. High praise!”

  • The Bird Woman was a special role. The Bird Woman, who appears feeding the pigeons at St Pauls, was played by an actress called Jane Darwell, who was one of Walt Disney's favorite actors. Darwell was actually living in a retirement home when the film was made, but Disney was so determined to have her in the film that he tracked her down. She was so flattered she took the part. It was her last film before she died.

  • The London landscapes were added after shooting using a process called glass shots, or mattes. The artists created these matte shots by painting on glass, leaving a blank or clear space in which the live-action film could them be inserted. The glass and film were put together and re-filmed as a composite. This was done for “Feed the Birds” and “Step in Time” as well as a few other areas. There was only one camera in existence at the time that could combine the matte shot and live film, and of course it was conceived, owned, and operated by Disney.

  • Mary Poppins Holds The Record For The Longest Disney Film In Print. Mary Poppins is the Disney film that holds the record of having the longest in-print status on video. It was released on VHS in 1981, and has been re-released several times since, so much so it has managed to stay in stores since then. Not once has Mary Poppins been out-of-print on video/DVD.

Best Performance: Julie Andrews (Mary)

Best Secondary Performance: Petro Vlahos (Chroma Key Inventor)/Robert and Richard Sherman (Composers)/Matthew Garber (Michael)

Most Charismatic Award: Dick Van Dyke (Bert)/Julie Andrews (Mary)

Best Scene:

  • Hiring A New Nanny

  • A Spoonful of Sugar

  • Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

  • I Love to Laugh

  • Feed the Birds

  • At the Bank

  • Step in Time

  • Let's Go Fly a Kite

Favorite Scene: Let's Go Fly a Kite/Feed the Birds

Most Indelible Moment: Spoonful of Sugar/Let's Go Fly a Kite/I Love to Laugh


In Memorium:

  • Tyler Sanders, 18, American actor (9-1-1:Lone Star, Just Add Magic)

  • Maureen Arthur, 88, American actress (How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, The Love God?, A Man Called Dagger)

Best Lines/Funniest Lines:

Mary Poppins: In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun, and - SNAP - the job's a game!


Bert: [singing] Winds in the east, mist coming in. / Like somethin' is brewin' and 'bout to begin. / Can't put me finger on what lies in store, / But I feel what's to happen all happened before.


Mr. Banks: Will you be good enough to explain all this?

Mary Poppins: First of all, I would like to make one thing quite clear.

Mr. Banks: Yes?

Mary Poppins: I never explain anything.


Mary Poppins: As I expected. "Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way."


Mrs. Banks: [singing] We're clearly soldiers in petticoats, and dauntless crusaders for women's a-votes! Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid.


Mary Poppins: Open different doors. You may find a you there that you never knew was yours.


Mary Poppins: That's a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken.


Mary Poppins: People who get their feet wet must learn to take their medicine.


Mary Poppins: [singing] Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, the medicine go down, the medicine go down. Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, in the most delightful way.


Mr. Banks: I suggest you have this piano repaired. When I sit down to an instrument, I like to have it in tune.

Mrs. Banks: But, George, you don't play.

Mr. Banks: Madam, that is entirely beside the point!


Mary Poppins: Well, most things he can. Sometimes a person we love, through no fault of their own, can't see past the end of his nose.


Bert: You've got to grind, grind, grind at that grindstone... Though childhood slips like sand through a sieve... And all too soon they've up and grown, and then they've flown... And it's too late for you to give - just that spoonful of sugar to 'elp the medicine go down - medicine go dow-wown, medicine go down.


Best Song:

Best Song: Feed the Birds

Memorable Song: Spoonful of Sugar/Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

Important Song: A Man Has Dreams

Favorite Song: Let’s Go Fly a Kite

Weirdest Song: Sister Suffragette


The Stanley Rubric:

Legacy: 9.5

Impact/Significance: 8.67

Novelty: 9.17

Classic-ness: 9.5

Rewatchability: 6.33

Audience Score: 8.75 (89% Google, 86% RT)

Total: 51.92


Remaining Questions:

  • What happens to Bert?

  • Where did Mary Poppins come from, and where does she go to at the end of the movie?

  • Where did the bank executives find kites, and why fly them then and there?

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