When Walt Disney's daughters begged him to make a movie of their favorite book, P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins (1964), he made them a promise - one that he didn't realize would take 20 years to keep. In his quest to obtain the rights, Walt comes up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who has absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine. But, as the books stop selling and money grows short, Travers reluctantly agrees to go to Los Angeles to hear Disney's plans for the adaptation. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman brothers, Walt launches an all-out onslaught on P.L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn't budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from his grasp. It is only when he reaches into his own childhood that Walt discovers ... Written by
Walt Disney Pictures
In the film, Mrs. Travers mentions the flight to Los Angeles will last eleven hours. Her April 1961 flight took place just one month after the first direct BOAC flights from London to Los Angeles., on Boeing 707s. BOAC polar flights started on March 2, 1961, according to British Airways' website. See more »
Winds in the east / Mist coming in / Like something is brewing / About to begin / Can't put me finger / On what lies in store / But I feel what's to happen / All happened before.
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The credits also have an actual audio recording of P.L. Travers conversing with the filmmakers like the ones depicted in the film. See more »
Saving Mr Banks tells the story of Walt Disney's battle to get the rights to make Mary Poppins into a movie. I wasn't expecting to like this but was completely blown away.
It is beautifully put together, is hilarious in parts and very touching and emotional at other stages, but is not overly sappy or cheesy.
There are some outstanding performances here. Emma Thompson plays Mrs Travers beautifully - a cantankerous and stubborn lady, yet you can't dislike her. Tom Hanks does a good job of playing Walt Disney - a tough role for anyone but he seems to suit it, so long as you can get past the terrible fake southern accent which is worse than Dick Van Dyke's attempts at an English accent in Mary Poppins.
However the stand-out performance is, surprisingly, delivered by Colin Farrell as Mrs Travers' father. He brings amazing range and emotion to a character that is simultaneously a loving, sweet father and a man caged in by life and personal demons.
Go see it for yourself when it comes out at the end of November. I'm looking forward to watching it again.
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