The movie combines songs, color and sequences of live action blended with the movements of animated figures. Mary Poppins is a kind of Super-nanny who flies in with her umbrella in response to the request of the Banks children and proceeds to put things right with the aid of her rather extraordinary magical powers. Written by
When Dick Van Dyke read the script, he'd already been cast in the role of Bert but found the part of the Mr. Dawes, Sr. so hysterical he lobbied Walt Disney for the role, even offering to play it for free. Disney not only made Van Dyke audition for the part, but forced the actor to make a substantial donation to CalArts, Disney's own pet-project film school. See more »
When Michael is locked in the closet while cleaning the nursery, the door opens for several seconds and we hear him yell "Let me out!" repeatedly, but his mouth doesn't move. See more »
All right, ladies an' gents! Comical poem! Suitable for the occasion, extemporized and thought up before your very eyes! All right, 'ere we go!
Room 'ere for everyone. Gather around.
The constable - responstable! Now 'ow does that sound?
[dashes over to Miss Lark, sings]
'Ello, Miss Lark, I've got one for you.
[...] See more »
The opening credits stop for a brief moment to show Mary Poppins seated on a cloud and applying makeup to her face, then the camera pans away and the credits resume. See more »
`Tart', `not nearly so sentimental as The Sound of Music', `Disney's finest achievement' ... I'd read critics' comments like these with puzzlement. Had they seen the same film I had?
Of course they had: it's just that someone had got it wrong; and as it turned out, it was me. I still think that anyone who calls `Mary Poppins' Disney's finest is being silly - Disney's finest hour was clearly the one that saw `Pinocchio', `Fantasia', `Dumbo' and `Bambi' - but what we have here is a fine, clever film, NOT overly sweet.
What won me over was the ending. David Tomlinson changes from a mechanical banker to a human being with surprising fluency. It's not any one scene: it's the entire extended sequence, from the run on the bank to the end credits. And it's not just Tomlinson's acting, either, but the long, lingering shots of him standing and walking in darkness, and a use of music that's far more sophisticated than I'd first supposed it to be, the general intelligence of the script. The last lines given to Mary Poppins I'd missed the point of the first time round. She's a riddle throughout the film which the film's conclusion partially, but only partially, unravels.
Considered as a musical `Mary Poppins' lacks something. WHAT it lacks is revealed when we hear the Jane and Michael tramping around the house singing `Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious' (a great song, by the way) - and they GET THE TUNE WRONG. They get it wrong in exactly the irritating way that children WOULD get it wrong. This may be an inspired touch of realism, but it surely violates the ethos of musicals, as do the deeply pedestrian songs `Stay Awake', `Sister Suffragette' and `A Spoonful of Sugar'. This was the side of `Mary Poppins' I'd remembered. I'd forgotten the haunting quality of `Feed the Birds' and `Let's Go Fly a Kite', and the punch of the score as a whole.
So anyway, I'm now a convert. I can't find anything to seriously object to except Dick Van Dyke's ludicrous accent, which makes him sound almost, but not quite, like Bugs Bunny.
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