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
The scene where Walt Disney gives P.L. Travers a personal tour of Disneyland is fictional. Disney planned to take the author to his theme park on Easter Sunday, 1961, and since it was to have been a private affair, many at the studio assumed he did. In fact he begged off at the last minute, saying he had a cold, and sent an employee (story editor Bill Dover) to act as her guide. While there Travers was allowed the use of Disney's personal electric touring car and to have lunch in his private apartment above the firehouse on Main Street; but it is not known if she indulged in any of Disneyland's rides or attractions, and she did not enjoy the experience. One factual nugget in the scene is Disney's quick handling of autograph-seekers. He gave them pre-signed cards he always carried with him when he was out in public. See more »
When Travers Goff is dead, you can see he is discreetly breathing. 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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At the beginning, the Disney logo is replaced by a special "Walt Disney Presents" logo with the old-fashioned segmented castle. See more »
i attended a pre-screening of "Saving Mr. Banks" last night in Dallas.
while i had been looking forward to the film, i had my reservations.
after all, Johnny Hancock (director) was behind "The Blind Side," which
i found much too schmaltzy and watered-down for my taste. also, this
was a movie about Walt Disney being produced by his company - so how
honest would it be about the story behind the making of the masterpiece
"Mary Poppins"? would it settle for predictable mellow-drama (yes, i
meant to spell it that way) and glorify dear Uncle Walt as perfect and
demonize Mrs. Travers as a cold, soulless spoilsport? thankfully, the
answer to that is a resounding "no."
while it surely takes artistic license with history, the film as a
whole is surprisingly great. there's not a weak moment throughout, not
a second where i wasn't entertained and wanting to find out what would
come next. this film (rated PG-13) surprises with many of the thematic
issues it tackles, including alcoholism, loss - and we even get a brief
glimpse of a smoking Mr. Disney (hey, it was the 60s).
Emma Thompson has always been a strong performer though her screen time
has waned over the last decade and a half, but here she gives a
performance that is worthy of awards attention. As Mrs. P.L. Travers,
she is an author as protective as her life's work as a mother is for a
child and is dealing with demons nearly forgotten. Mr. Hanks too
carries his own playing the iconic and visionary Disney at the top of
his game, trying to honor a promise to his daughters while also add to
his impressive repertoire of cinematic achievements.
this is not really a film to take your Poppins-loving tykes to. this is
the Disney film for mom and dad to enjoy. "Saving Mr. Banks" will
probably be remembered as one of the best films of 2013, and for good
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