A few decades after her original visit, Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt), the magical nanny, returns to help the Banks siblings and Michael's (Ben Whishaw's) children through a difficult time in their lives.
Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
When Jane and Michael, the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with the prospect of a new nanny, they are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins. Embarking on a series of fantastical adventures with Mary and her Cockney performer friend, Bert, the siblings try to pass on some of their nanny's sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents.Written by
Originally, Walt Disney had considered Mary Martin, Bette Davis, and Dame Angela Lansbury for the part of Mary Poppins, based on the cold characterization portrayed in the P.L. Travers books. Walt Disney Pictures (with songwriters Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman and co-Writer Don DaGradi acting as the studio's sort-of "advance" team) first considered Dame Julie Andrews after seeing her on Ed Sullivan's The Ed Sullivan Show (1948) in January 1961 do excerpts from "Camelot", the show in which she was appearing on Broadway. About a month later, Walt Disney went to New York City, caught the show, and sounded out Julie backstage after the show (the show was of double interest to Disney because his The Sword in the Stone (1963) was based on the first book of T.H. White's "The Once and Future King", "Camelot" was based on the fourth book of the same novel). It was at that February 1961 backstage meeting that Disney first sounded Andrews out, essentially acting out the entire script for her. At the time, her then-husband, Tony Walton, was there with them and Disney asked him about his occupation. He said that he was a costume and set designer. Disney invited Andrews to come to California and asked Walton to bring along his portfolio, so he too found a job with the production. While this movie was offered to Andrews, she did not commit until the day after Warner Brothers announced that Audrey Hepburn would be doing My Fair Lady (1964) for them. 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 Banks children are referred to on-screen as Jane and Michael, but are only credited as "The Children." See more »
Disney's Live/Animated Masterpiece Shines More Brightly than Ever!
"Mary Poppins" is one of that select group of films that can truly be called 'Classic', a project conceived in love and filled with so much child-like wonder that it will never grow old or 'out-of-date'. Certainly the crowning achievement of Walt Disney's remarkable career, both story-wise and technically, the film remains an unsurpassed achievement!
Based on P.L. Travers' tales of a magical nanny who arrives to bring families closer, the rights to the stories had been pursued by Disney since 1938, but Travers had seen what studios had done to other authors' works, and withheld her approval unless she could maintain some creative control. Years of negotiations only whetted Disney's desire to make a definitive, truly 'special' film, and by 1960, despite the box office failure of another fantasy-themed 'pet' project, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People", he was more confident than ever in the story's potential, bringing together a remarkable array of talent, including songwriting brothers Richard and Robert Sherman, production head Bill Walsh, and the brilliant artist Peter Ellenshaw to 'visualize' 1910 London through his matte paintings.
With Travers' grudging approval, casting began. While American stage and TV star Dick Van Dyke was an odd choice to play a Cockney chimneysweep, he was a gifted mime and physical comedian, and had such a wholesome exuberance that Disney knew British audiences would forgive his shaky accent. Popular British actors Glynis Johns and David Tomlinson would play the preoccupied parents, with Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber (from "The Three Lives of Thomasina") as the neglected children. Veteran stars Ed Wynn, Elsa Lanchester, Reginald Owen, Arthur Treacher, and Jane Darwell (as the Bird Woman, in her last screen appearance), headed the strong supporting cast.
But it was the casting of Julie Andrews, in her first film, as Mary Poppins, that truly 'made' the film! Passed over by Jack Warner for the movie version of her stage hit, "My Fair Lady" (he opted for Audrey Hepburn), Disney caught her performance in "Camelot" on Broadway, knew, instantly, that she was the right 'Mary', and approached her for the role. "But I'm pregnant," she told him. "No problem," he replied. "I'll wait!"
And thus a Classic was born!
A multiple 1964 Oscar winner (including 'Best Actress' for Andrews, who got to share the stage with her "Lady" costar, Rex Harrison, who won 'Best Actor'), the film was a major hit, worldwide, and quickly achieved the legendary status it holds today.
With songs both silly and sublime, seamless intermeshing of live performers and animation as only the Disney studio, at that time, was capable of, and the undeniable magnetism of Andrews and Van Dyke, it is nearly impossible NOT to like "Mary Poppins"!
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