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One for the ages
orthogonal621 December 2004
How good is Mary Poppins? I remember singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" with my then four year old son when we first got it on a now-lost video. He is now a young man, and little brother is a teenager. I am going to buy the DVD for their children, who may not be born for ten more years. I'll watch it myself until then. It's that good. We all have opinions, and mine is that, in the long list of Disney classics and masterpieces, this one is at the top. It is the perfect combination of story, song, characters, actors, whimsy – you name it. I believe it is one of the best movies ever made in any genre.

Need proof? How many songs can you hum in the car or sing in the shower? Chim Chim Cher-ee; Spoonful of Sugar; Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (thank God for copy and paste); Let's Go Fly a Kite. What about songs that put a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye? Feed the Birds. Great composing, great fit to the story. And Julie Andrews is as good a singer as you will find.

More proof? What about delightful scenes? A tea party on the ceiling. The fox hunt on merry-go-round horses. Dancing on the rooftops of London.

Memorable characters? Bert, even with his horrible accent, is a blast. Old Mr. Dawes. Uncle Albert. Mrs. Banks, that independent woman (as long as it did not annoy Mr. Banks). Jane and Michael having the experience of a lifetime. And poor Mr. Banks, so concerned with being the lord of his castle but learning the important lessons in the nick of time. His illusion of control begins to unravel the moment that Poppins woman walked in the door, and he never figures out who she is and how she did it to him.

Neither do we, really. She is both the cause of much madness but the stability within it as the story moves along. It is one of Disney's greatest talents to craft movies and stories that operate on multiple levels. Children love dancing penguins and fireworks. Adults may as well but they can register the message here of what is truly important in life. Poppins has the answers. It is better we don't analyze who she is – and or course she never explains anything. The Banks family is just glad she was there for a while, and we should be glad that Walt Disney left us with this masterpiece.
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It's Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious!
Kristine7 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I don't think it's possible to meet someone who hasn't seen Mary Poppins, it's one of those necessary movies that you see during your childhood. It just lifted your mood with it's cheery songs, beautiful lead actress Julie Andrews and her lovely voice and was just a magical film. But does it stand the test of time, that as adults we could still watch it with that same feeling of being a child? Oh, yeah! I still watch Mary Poppins to this day, how could you resist this wonderful movie? The songs are fantastic, the whole movie is made wonderfully and has fun energetic characters, some with the worst accents of all time *cough* Dick Van Dyke *cough!*, but that adds much more laughter that is needed for this good time. Mary Poppins will melt it's way into your heart, I promise you.

We are introduced to the Banks family, headed by the cold and aloof George Banks and the loving but highly distracted Winifred. Jane and Michael draft their own advertisement asking for a fun, kind-hearted and caring nanny, but Mr. Banks tears up the paper and throws it in the fireplace. Unnoticed, the remains of the note float up the dark chimney. Mary Poppins floats down and enters the residence. As Mr. Banks puzzles, Mary Poppins employs herself and begins work, saying that she will stay for a trial period of one week, before deciding if she will take a permanent position. The children face surprises of their own: Mary possesses a bottomless carpetbag, and makes contents of the children's nursery come to life and tidy themselves by snapping their fingers. They continue on a magical journey with the "practically perfect in every way" nanny as their stuffy father learns how to love and the family reunites together.

Mary Poppins is a classic family film that I cannot wait to show my children one day. I still go crazy with energy when "Steppin' Time" comes on the screen, what a great dance number, so filled with life and gives you the best time. "Feed the birds" is one of the most beautiful songs put on film and can make the toughest convict cry like a baby. Julie Andrews is just too wonderful as Mary Poppins and deserved that Oscar rightfully. Dike Van Dyke may have one of the worst accents of all time, but during his scene with "love to laugh" he was just irresistible. He brought such a wonderful time to the film, both he and Julie had great chemistry, they were so charming together. I really have no complaints about the movie, it is a perfect family film that any would could fall in love with at any age. Plus it's against the law if you do not let your children watch Mary Poppins, it's a necessary children's movie.

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An auspicious film debut for Julie Andrews
dweck8 December 1998
Julie's film debut began the world's love affair with her--and what a marvelous vehicle for doing so. Julie appears here in fine voice and is radiantly beautiful.

The performance is more than deserving of the Oscar, especially considering that she had to act to blue screens and objects/characters from within her imagination. No easy task, certainly.

I also love the way Julie, as Mary, refuses to acknowledge the free-for-all that is going on around her. She simply pushes her hair primly back in place and presses on, despite the dancing chimney sweeps and giggling uncles that surround her. "I never explain anything," she blithely comments.

The score is one of my favorites in all the Disney canon. The Sherman brothers outdid themselves with "Stay Awake," one of the most under-appreciated lullabys ever written, and the hauntingly winsome "Feed the Birds."

The Disney animators have created a visual feast as bottomless and surprising as Mary Poppins' carpetbag. The Peter Ellenshaw matte shots are breathtaking. My favorite visual moments? Bert and Mary's live-action reflections in a pond are eddied by a family of cartoon geese. I also love when Bert, Mary, and the children ascend a staircase constructed only of chimney smoke. Brilliant!

There are a few drawbacks: The film's a little over-long, especially in the final third where Mary's but an afterthought in all the plot resolution. In addition, Van Dyke was an excellent choice for his singing and dancing (and popularity), but his cockney accent does grate after a while.

But all in all, this is a tour de force for all involved!
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Disney's Live/Animated Masterpiece Shines More Brightly than Ever!
Ben Burgraff (cariart)6 December 2004
"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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re: one of those magic things
billsav5723 December 2004
It's hard for me to explain the connection I feel with this film ... I was 7 when it came out, saw it twice in the theaters at the time, and of course have seen it over and over since then. I'm going to get the 40th anniversary DVD soon. You can argue about Dick Van Dyke playing an Englishman, about Julie Andrews being too sweet and young compared to the character in literature, about the fact that the whole thing was obviously shot on a soundstage. But just imagine being 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 or anywhere near there, and not getting out of your small town in the rust belt of the U.S. except maybe a few times a year on holidays, and you can imagine what seeing this magical, albeit Disneyfied, look at another world must have been like. Every time I see it, I think back to the beautiful old movie theater in which I saw it (a block away from the Catholic school I then attended, no less), to getting my mother to buy a certain box of cereal so I could get the Mary Poppins prize inside, to gathering on weekends with cousins to listen to the soundtrack and try to dance like Bert. I've been to London many times since then, but funny enough, as much as the great city has to offer, I've never been able to find that magical place I saw 40 years ago.
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Brilliant metaphors that inspire the imagination!!
gue_gg_ila6 February 2005
I was a big fan of this movie when I was 6, loved it, visually it is fantastic and the music is just too beautiful. It's great fun, and its packed with amazing performances especially from the multi-talented and beautiful Julie Andrews.

I saw it again recently, may be I have more capacity to understand the double sense of things now and found out that this film has so many subliminal great messages that are enriching for the mind and soul...As a little girl I never cried on this film, but it has got so many reasons to cry for(I'm crying now)because it truly is beautiful. The film can be good for children because it actually can stimulate the imagination, and the creativity of a kid, I for example tried to arrange my room by making sounds with my fingers at some point of my life! Still the film contains some messages that can be quite interesting and useful for any other person of any other age.

SPOILERS***** Besides it contains some great effects, especially when you consider the time it was done(1964). Great dancing sequences, and especially those gorgeous songs(each one of them great). The animation part is brilliant, takes a genius to make that and coordinate those dancing penguins with the Bert character.

And I think that all the words that I could possibly say about this film are over, except tat this film is supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Mary Poppins, practically perfectly in every way! A MUST SEE FILM!!
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A unique achievement, filled out on the DVD
sryder@judson-il.edu23 December 2004
Despite the technical achievements and the outstanding musical score, it is the performances that keep the film alive for me. Julie Andrews was right on target when she received her academy award and thanked Jack Warner for turning her down in the film version of My Fair Lady. She conveys both dignity and warmth as Mary. Dick van Dyke had the chance of a lifetime to demonstrate the breadth of his talents, especially his dancing, which could not be fully exploited on his TV series. Disney gave real depth to the film through his use of Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, Reginald Owen, Ed Wynn and (especially) Jane Darwell (who is cited in the IMDb biography as best known for her cameo portrayal of the Bird Lady, despite her 1940 Academy Award for one of the great all-time performances in Grapes of Wrath). I computed the ages of the five as reaching 418 years when the film was released; their film careers covered 193 combined years, with stage careers going back as far as 1905. Disney's casting of these, as well as a group of accomplished British actors of stage and film demonstrated what should be meant by "supporting cast": it gave strong support against which Andrews and Van Dyke could perform without being under to carry the entire film. Finally: If someone wants to appreciate the care that went into the film, s/he should purchase the new 40th anniversary DVD. Viewing the interviews and other documents enabled me to increase my already great enjoyment. They do not "murder to dissect"; quite the contrary.
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"Mary Poppins" is only pretending to be a children's film
timboytx11 April 2006
Warning: Spoilers
Although I loved this film upon first seeing it at the theater in '64, it wasn't until I was an adult that I began to appreciate and be amazed by the sophistication of the writing. Sure, the special effects and the music and the visuals are what grab the attention, but the script itself and the lyrics offer just as much brilliance. I would even assert that this isn't a "children's film" at all, but a film aimed at adults under the guise of a kids' film. And that type of subversion is exactly what you'd expect from Mary Poppins. Her method from day one is to use reverse psychology on anyone she is trying to manipulate--in a good sense, of course. She teaches the children to give money to the poor by suggesting they "feed the birds". She gets them to fall asleep by sweetly singing "Stay Awake". She gets Mr. Banks to take the kids with him to work by acting as if it was his idea, and complimenting him for thinking of it. (A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.)

The film's main character, dramatically speaking, is not Mary, nor the children. It is the father, George Banks. After all, he is the one who makes the film's primary transformation brought about by the presence of Mary Poppins. She is there to show him that his children are more important than money or his job, and once she has completed her task, she moves on. And that is the sort of message that the adults in the audience need to learn, not the children.

As further evidence that this is a film aimed at adults, take a look at this line from "Jolly Holiday", when Mary sings to Bert:

"You'd never think of pressing your advantage. Forbearance is the hallmark of your creed. A lady needn't fear when you are near. Your sweet gentility is crystal clear!"

In these days when studios tend to pander to young audiences, desperate not to add anything that might bore them or be over their heads, it's refreshing to return to the days when films like "Mary Poppins" trusted in the integrity of its material.
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Anarchy in a sensible package.
Quentintarantado26 February 2006
The first time I saw this film as a child, I was frightened. I loved the animated sequence and I was scared of (and bored by) the chimney sweep sequence because of these soot-faced sweeps shouting and dancing, I couldn't tell if they were friends or foe. Years later, I watched this in HBO, and I've had a chance to reevaluate it. Brimming beneath Mary Poppins's prim nanny exterior is mischief, subversion and anarchy, and I love the idea she goes around England teaching children to have fun under the thin guise of "proper British behavior". The key song is "Spoonful of Sugar", which is an almost zen-like attitude, with the correct leverage, your finger can turn a boulder into powder, with the correct attitude, an ant can move a rubber-tree plant. However, the song that made me fall in love with the movie forever is, "Feed the Birds". Compassion for the useless is precisely the point. There is no pragmatism in love. I've been a teacher for four years now, and I've never cracked a joke with a smile yet, though I joke all the time. I always try to earn that delicious half second while the students process, is he joking or is he serious? It's my pale imitation of Andrews as Poppins. Yes, I do try my darnedest to make my classes enjoyable.
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Should have made AFI's top 100
reignsong25 August 2000
AFI blew it by omitting "Mary Poppins" from its 100 greatest American films. It's pure cinema, with state of the art special effects for its time. But the effects serve a lovely story, well told and acted, with charming song and dance numbers. The overture, underscoring Poppins's flight over London, is classic: worth the price of admission or rental; maybe the best overture ever, on screen or stage. I was 3 when the film debuted; I thought I'd die if I never got to see it again.
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Atreyu_II3 March 2008
Number 17, Cherry Tree Lane?

"Mary Poppins" is one of Disney's best live-action films and one of the most popular either. It's a light-hearted comedy and a delightful movie that is so much fun to watch. The movie looks dated for today's standards, but it is undeniably charming. In fact, its old-fashioned charm is timeless. It's a good movie and a classic, so the fact that it looks dated is not a major problem.

It's easy to understand why "Mary Poppins" is such a beloved classic: its simplicity, its magic, its special/visual effects, its beautiful songs, its good morals, its charm, its characters, its classic humor, its combination of live-action and animation and great actors. The way how this combines live-action and animation is very good. Amazing for its time and keeps working out fine.

The sceneries and landscapes of London city are stunning when Mary Poppins is floating on the air (angles of view never seen before or after this, not even in Peter Pan's movies). The walks through London's streets also allows us to know this beautiful city better, as well as its monuments and respective wonderful architecture. The landscapes through the roofs of London are simply amazing and the dancing numbers are excellent.

«Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious» is the longest and strangest word I've ever heard. Definitely a nonsense but charming word. In fact, I had to practice this word for about a month. Now I can say it easily, but I had serious difficulties to say this word at first.

"Mary Poppins" is an amusing and magical tale, with some valuable morals about family, education and stuff like that as well, combined with light humor.

The characters are interesting in general. Bert is a very cool guy which a cheerful personality, a fine artist, an excellent dancer and speaks with a cockney accent. Dick Van Dyke is awesome as Bert and the way he dances is incredible. He was in excellent shape here. He really dances like Ray Bolger.

The Banks children (Jane and Michael) are absolutely adorable. They're both sweet, innocent and so cute. Michael Banks is the funniest of the two, with his goofy faces in an adorable way and his hilarious way of being «extremely stubborn and suspicious». And they're portrayed by two of the most charismatic and talented child actors of all time: Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber. It's really sad that Matthew Garber went to Heaven so young (at the age of 21).

Mary Poppins is «the perfect nanny». A magical woman who is also firm and serious but kind and cheerful. Great performance by Julie Andrews, one of her very best. Winifred Banks is a lovable mother, greatly portrayed by Glynis Johns. George Banks is a workaholic, impatient, cold and very serious father most of the time, but at the end of the movie he changes radically his attitudes and becomes a jolly and lovable father. Good performance by David Tomlinson.

Uncle Albert is a character with a minor role but a strong presence. He's very jolly, maybe a little too much, but he's simply hilarious. Ed Wynn is awesome and hilarious as Uncle Albert, a role that resembles somehow the Mad Hatter from "Alice in Wonderland" (1951) - a funny coincidence, because he was the voice of the Mad Hatter. I admit that at first the whole "I Love to Laugh" sequence was a little too much for me, but I quickly got used to it and ended up finding it great fun.

The soundtrack is gold. There are so many lovely songs that it's difficult to chose a favorite. I have many favorites: "The Perfect Nanny", "Let's go fly a kite", "Stay Awake", "The Carousel Horses", "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)", "Jolly Holliday", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", "Sister Suffragette", "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and "Penguin Dance". On the other hand, "A Man Has Dreams", "Step in Time" and "The Life I Lead" are nice too, but my favorites are definitely the ones I listed first. The only song I don't like very much is "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank". The only part I like in that song is «You'll see, Michael, you'll be part of railways through Africa, dams across the Nile, fleets of ocean greyhounds, majestic, self-amortizing canals, plantations of ripening sea».

Oh, I love the merry-go-round and the carousel horses of this movie. They're all beautiful. The merry-go-round has a very nostalgic effect for me - it reminds me about childhood. The merry-go-round was so much fun to be in. I also like the animated characters, especially the penguins and the fox.
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I urge people to try it again.
Spleen14 December 1999
`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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Simply a delight
rbverhoef29 December 2003
The children Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) want a new nanny and not one that is as strict as their father George (David Tomlinson). Secretly their mother Winifred (Glynis Johns) wants the same for the children. The new nanny is the wonderful and magical Mary Poppins, played by the beautiful Julie Andrews.

Bert (Dick Van Dyke) is a street artist who knows Mary Poppins. She and the children meet him when they take a walk in the park and the four of them take a trip inside one of the paintings made by Bert. This painting is really painted and therefore this world is in animation. The way animation and live-action are combined in these scenes is wonderful. When it starts raining they have to leave the painting and return home where everybody is happy except the strict father George.

A lot of other magical things happen with Bert, Mary Poppins and the children and in the meanwhile their father is having some trouble with his job. May be this gives him the time and the possibility to care for his children a little more.

'Mary Poppins' is a delightful movie with great musical numbers. Some of the songs have become real classics. The special effects are very good, considering the time this movie was made, and the whole world of Mary Poppins looks great. The children are not annoying, something you see in a lot of movies. They do a pretty good job. David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns and of course Dick Van Dyke are very good and Julie Andrews is wonderful in every scene. This is a true classic.
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Classic film that works on all age levels
Foux_du_Fafa15 September 2005
Based on some books by P.L. Travers, "Mary Poppins" tells the story of the Banks family, who are live in Edwardian London. The parents (David Tomlinson and Glynnis Johns) don't take much notice of their children Jane and Michael, and it is only until a mysterious woman named Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) appears from the sky that things begin to change. She works wonders on the family, in particular taking the children on a number of adventures with Bert (Dick van Dyke), the local Jack-of-all-trades.

Everybody has seen this movie, but I'll review it anyway; it is a bona-fide classic, not because it is an old film, but because it has endured. The film isn't a dirty picture and will delight the little ones, yet underneath this, there is something for adults to obtain. Just as their kids will, they will love the songs, be blown away by the novelty animated segment and will marvel at the special effects, which hold up even in today's CGI obsessed world. Yet adults will also be able to unlock the endearing layers of the story, which are simultaneously simple and complex and thoroughly beautiful. This film comes recommended time and time again, one of the great features of owning the 40th Anniversary Edition DVD that has a beautifully restored image and lovely bonus features such as a "making of" documentary, original theatrical trailers and vintage footage from the premiere.

Possible alternatives: Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), Alice in Wonderland (1951), My Fair Lady (1964)
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Practically Perfect
djohn2581-114 October 2005
Mary Poppins is, without a doubt, the finest non-animated film in the Disney canon (yes, there is lots of animation) and a genuine classic.

I won't repeat what's been said in the many fine reviews here on IMDb, I'll just say that there are a few problems that are glaring and make the film a tad less enjoyable for me: 1. Dick van Dyke's cockney accent is horrible. He sounds like an American imitating a Londoner trying to imitate a cockney. It's bloody awful! While I find his singing and dancing admirable and entertaining, his speaking voice is nails-on-slate. Had the producers just dubbed his speaking voice with that of Michael Caine - a real cockney - I wouldn't find this so annoying. This is tune out number one.

2. The film is too long. Some judicious cutting, especially of a couple of the lesser musical numbers, would have been in order. Also, the final boardroom scene in the bank goes on for far too long.

This is outweighed by the utter charm of the whole thing and the near-magical presence of the splendid Julie Andrews - a performer worthy of admiration if there ever was one. This is a woman with talent, incredible personal charm, and true charisma. She is a leading lady, pure and simple. She more than makes up for the aforementioned minor problems for every second she is on screen is magic.

One glaring omission from all the reviews I've read is an appreciation of the two ladies who played the elder servants in the household - the American character actress Reta Shaw and the British Hermione Baddley (sp?). Both lend top-notch support and are quite wonderful, especially Shaw, who was one of the most popular and talented character actresses of her era. (She is best remembered for her semi-recurring role on TV's BEWITCHED and for her presence in most of Doris Day's films.) Shaw was a skilled song-and-dance performer with a deep voice and commanding presence and a master scene stealer.
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One of the best movies ever!!!
JeanPaulJ17 July 2005
This movie is a smashing hit. The music is amazing, the idea is brilliant! I do not think there is anyone in the western world who hasn't seen, one of Walt Disney's greatest movies ever... For those who haven't seen this movie I will ONLY tell you the plot to avoid spoiling the movie. The movie revolves around an unhappy family, who are called the "Banks" and the Chaos theory as Mary Poppins, who is the main character, a wonderful nanny is inserted into the Banks family. The children go from "Be seen and not heard" "Be heard and seen". The movie also mixes humans and animation figures which is quite well done. I think this movie is a spectacular and everyone should see this movie at least once...
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One of the finest family films ever made.
Spikeopath20 April 2008
Inventive and enthused with quality all thru it, Mary Poppins holds up well over forty years since its release. The story is based on the Mary Poppins books written by Pamela Travers, and what a crackerjack story this adaptation turns out to be.

Mother & Father Banks advertise for a nanny to tend their rowdy children. The children, after being less than impressed with previous holders of the post, decide to write their own advertisement. But Father Banks tears it up and puts it on the fire place ready for burning. The torn paper mysteriously floats up the chimney and finds its way to Mary Poppins who glides down from the sky with her umbrella to fill the vacancy. It's evident from this point that Mary is no ordinary nanny, and all she comes into contact with will have their lives changed for ever.

Mary takes the children on a series of delightful journeys that take in meeting an array of interesting people and animals, and it's thru these wonderful escapades that we the audience live vicariously thru. The film has all the hallmarks of a Disney classic, wonderful songs from Richard & Robert Sherman, animation fusing delightfully with live action, colour to dazzle the eyes, and of course a charming and career making performance from Julie Andrews. Much has been made of Dick van Dyke's woeful cockney accent, and in truth it's almost cringe inducing, but his performance is so brim full of gusto and effervescent fun, we should surely let it go in the name of splendid entertainment values.

The restoration job done on the 40th anniversary DVD does the film proud, and it's hopefully opened up the film to be seen more by the modern day audience, because Mary Poppins is an ode to joy, an ode to good behaviour, and basically an ode to being practically perfect--just like Mary herself actually.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious 9/10
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Alas Mary Poppins, Nothing is Perfect, But This Film is Still a Wonder
DJ Zurn9 December 2013
I always considered The Lion King my favorite Disney movie, for it was the pivotal Disney flick of my convoluted childhood. Now, after several months of pondering, I think The Lion King is at an even tie with another Disney wonder, Mary Poppins. Based upon the series of books by P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins is a film we should be very grateful to have. It took Uncle Walt 20 years to obtain the rights to Ms. Travers' fantastic tale and the bold Australian born author was very strict on what could be included in the 1964 classic. While Travers would ultimately hate the flick with all it's Sherman Brothers songs and animated sequences, Mary Poppins would still be a critically acclaimed flick in the public eye and after all these years, it's still one of the greatest fantasy films of the last couple decades. I love it so much, if it was in an edible form, I would gobble it up faster than you could say "Bob's your uncle".

Julie Andrews embodies Mary Poppins, similar to how Sigourney Weaver embodies Ellen Ripley or Carrie Fisher embodies Princess Leia. She's not as strict and hardcore as she was in Travers' original stories, but she is still stern and at times, very intimidating and bold. I sometimes think that Travers slightly based Mary Poppins off of herself, for she is not only no nonsense and outspoken, but demanding and truthful when she has to be. And Andrews also makes Poppins sympathetic and understanding at times, giving off that heartwarming smile that is debated to be the character's trademark. Looks like Mary Poppins went to the Oswald Cobblepot School of Umbrella Wielding, for Mary Poppins without an umbrella is like Indiana Jones without his whip.

Dick Van Dyke is a clumsy, fun loving Bert. I am aware that some are not fond of his Cockney accent, but I think it's over the topness makes his character stand out. He's a jack of all traits, going from a one man jamboree to a sidewalk drawer to a chimney sweep to a kite salesman, and you can just tell that each job he takes part in, he enjoys doing what he does. He's also one of the most high energy characters I've ever seen on film, on par with Ray Bolger's Scarecrow or Charlie Chaplin. Every time Bert's on screen, you are guaranteed to get something off the wall, catchy and blood pumping. All the other characters are great as well. Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber are innocent, yet optimistic as Jane and Michael Banks and the cook and the maid are great comic relief. David Tomlinson's Mr. Banks goes from a shrewd workaholic to a giddy, laughable goofball who realizes that we all grow up, but we can be children at heart.

Even the Bride of Frankenstein, Elsa Lanchester makes an appearance as the children's first nanny, Katie Nana.

The Sherman Brothers songs are fantastic. From "Chim Chim Cheree" to "Spoonful of Sugar" to "Jolly Holiday' to "Feed The Birds" to "Let's Go Fly A Kite", the songs of this movie will be imprisoned in your memory banks for the rest of time. And I'd be lying if I didn't admit that Feed the Birds turned my eyes into waterfalls every time I listened to it. It was said to be Walt Disney's favorite song, and I can see why. What else can I talk about? Well, the animated sequences are wondrous and very Disney like and the "Step in Time" sequence you'll never want to end, but why talk about it when you could turn this review off and see the film for yourself. It will delight you, thrill you and even move you. Either way, it's one of Disney's marvelous triumphs. It's simply scrumptious.

One of my all time favorites, most definitely.
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Supercali...Oh, I give up!
Petri Pelkonen14 September 2012
The Banks household needs a new nanny.So comes Mary Poppins flying with her umbrella.Mary Poppins (1964) is a movie directed by Robert Stevenson.It's Walt Disney's baby, and he fought for many years to get the rights to make the film from author P.L. Travers.Luckily he finally got them.I can't imagine anybody else than Julie Andrews doing the part of Mary Poppins.Dick Van Dyke is a force of nature as Bert.And also as Mr. Dawes Senior, even though he moves a bit slower.David Tomlinson is terrific as Mr. Banks.Glynis Johns is wonderful as Mrs. Banks.Their children Jane and Michael are played by Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber, and they're just adorable.You've got to love Ed Wynn and his laughter as Uncle Albert.You find yourself floating in the air as you're watching that.Jane Darwell was brought from her retirement to make one more performance as The Bird Woman, and what a performance it is! Also Elsa Lanchester gives a memorable performance as Katie Nanna.The 1910 London looks very magical in this film.You can very well imagine someone like Mary Poppins popping up in a place like that.The film is filled with great musical numbers, like "A Spoonful of Sugar", "Chim Chim Cher-ee", "Step in Time", "Stay Awake", "I Love to Laugh" and "Feed the Birds" (Disney's personal favorite).And let's not forget "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocius".Man, that's a long word! Brothers Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman were behind the perfect score.There are lots of classic scenes there, like when they jump into the chalk drawing.You can see them racing with carousel horses.And Dick Van Dyke dancing with animated penguins.Entertaining movie can't get more entertaining than this.For the whole family to enjoy!
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A film that can be loved as a child, appreciated more as an adult
clydestuff11 February 2004
The first time I saw Mary Poppins at the ripe old age of twelve, I was enthralled. My sister had taken me to see it one evening using her own hard earned money. The fact that admission was seventy-five cents when normally one could see a double feature for thirty-five cents as a kid was not lost on me either. It meant my sister was treating me to something special and as it turned out it was most assuredly all of that and then some.

Films we view when we are young do not always hold the same appeal for us as we grow older. As a youngster, I remember being fascinated by many films that I can hardly stand to sit through as an adult. I loved anything with Jerry Lewis in it, yet there are less than a handful of his films I now find entertaining. There were countless cheaply made horror films that scared the living daylights out of me that I laugh at now. There were children films such as Pinocchio in Outer Space, even one with a mouse called Topo Gigio that are now long forgotten. There are two films however that made an impression on me more than any others at an early age. The first was the Cinerama presentation of How The West Was Won, the second was Mary Poppins. The question is whether or not I can view them in a favorable light as an adult. I still enjoy How The West Was Won, but it has never had the impact on me as it did in Cinerama. Today I viewed Mary Poppins again for the first time in a number of years and I can say that without question it is every bit as magical as it was back in 1965 when I first saw it.

What is there not to like? The story has heart, warmth, memorable characters, wonderful musical numbers, and a heaping dose of magic. Mary Poppins is the nanny any child could hope to magically appear out of the sky with her umbrella and whisk us away to enchanted places that we can only dream of. In this film, Mary Poppins comes flying down to earth because two children, Jane and Michael Banks, are being ignored by parents who are too preoccupied with their own problems. It's not that they don't love their children, but they fail to recognize the importance of children being part of their lives, a message that forty years later still rings true for many parents.

Julie Andrew's Oscar worthy performance as Mary Poppins is perfection. It would have been easy for the character to become either ridiculously silly or a caricature of someone in the mold of a TV. witch or genie. The fact that we are able to view Mary Poppins as first and foremost a caring and loving nanny who just happens to have magical powers is what makes this film works, and can be attributed solely to Ms. Andrews. The fact that Julie Andrews has one of the most magnificent singing voices to land on the big screen didn't hurt a bit either.

David Tomlinson made two other films for the Disney studios, but his role as George Banks is the one for which he will always be remembered. He too seems to strike just the right balance. As the children's father, we are amused by his fussiness and his wish to achieve a perfectly ordered life, but put off by his ignorance in matters regarding his children. The fact that we are able to see that despite his major character flaws he still loves his children keeps us from developing too much of a dislike for him.

Glynis Johns as Winifred Banks is an odd kind of woman, especially for the early part of the twentieth century. Her love for her two children also shines, yet her preoccupation with being a suffragette seems to override that fact. Strangely though, she remains the loyal and obedient wife to her husband.

If there is one thing that always seems to be good about Disney films, it's the fact that Walt was able to find just the right child actors for any film. As Jane and Michael, Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber are exceptional. They appeared together in three films for the Disney studios and if you view this film you will understand why.

There are many special effects sequences throughout Mary Poppins. Some of them may be considered quite cryptic by today standards, but you won't mind. The animation sequence is done with bright, glowing colors, and the fact that someone in the costume design department matched up the perfect outfits for the live actors in the sequence helps add to the beauty of it all. I'm still in awe of Dick Van Dyke's dance number with the penguins in that sequence. The chimney sweep sequence which includes a walk among the London rooftops and a marvelously choreographed dance being done by chimney sweeps is remarkable. You'll laugh along with Uncle Albert, and have a swell tea party on the ceiling. Even if you don't find the jokes particularly funny you'll laugh at the absurdity of the situation.

The songs by the Sherman Brother are once in a lifetime perfect. I can think of no Disney live action film where the musical numbers are so right from start to finish. Chim-Chim-Cheree won the Oscar for best song but it could just as easily have been to the less catchy numbers Stay Awake or Feed The Birds in my opinion. Both are beautiful, lyrical songs that show the depth and range of Julie Andrew's voice.

It takes a very special film that one can love as a child; yet as an adult appreciate the craftsmanship even more. That puts Mary Poppins in a class by itself.

My score: A+
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A timeless classic!
TheLittleSongbird27 February 2009
This is a masterpiece of a film, I absolutely love this. Julie Andrews is more than splendid as the nanny, and I absolutely love her voice. Dick Van Dyke, despite the accent, should have gotten an award for his performance for sheer energy and enthusiasm, but I liked him marginally better in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. David Tomblinson is a blast as the father, as are the children. There is solid support also from the likes of Glynnis Johns, Hermione Baddely and Elsa Lanchester. (who I believe was Charles Laughton's wife) Plus Ed Wynn in a hilarious characterisation as Uncle Albert. The songs and choreography are what makes so timeless, as well as the outstanding animated sequences. One of my favourite scenes was the one on the ceiling, with the terrible jokes, but you couldn't help laughing at the ridiculousness of it all. In contrast Mr Banks walking to his financial doom ties with Feed the Birds as the most moving scene of the film. It also teaches some nice family values as well. I highly recommend this film. 10/10, without a shadow of a doubt. Bethany Cox
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Julie is the perfect answer to a dysfunctional household...
Neil Doyle27 August 2006
MARY POPPINS is one of the wittiest and most magical movies Disney ever made, full of boundless energy, inventive wit and on top of all that, a priceless musical score as good as anything one could expect from even a Broadway musical. The chimney sweep number alone is worth the price of admission and songs such as "Chim-Chim-Cheree", "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Let's Go Fly A Kite" are integrated wisely into whatever sequence they grace. The wistful "Feed the Birds" (sung by Julie as birdlady Jane Darwell does just that) is one of its nicest ballads.

Furthermore, the comic contributions of DICK VAN DYKE (as Bert, the chimney sweep), GLYNIS JOHNS and David TOMLINSON as the confused parents, and a brood of other lively characters, are not to be underestimated.

By all means, the kind of family entertainment that will fascinate any child who has ever fantasized about taking magical trips to other places rather than just a trip to the zoo.

JULIE ANDREWS fully deserved her Oscar as the world's most wonderful nanny, as popularized in the novels of P.L. Travers. Her success in the role makes it even more of a shame that Jack L. Warner decided not to cast her as Eliza in MY FAIR LADY. However, winning for POPPINS was Julie's trump card.
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A classic
Dana Sibilsky2 September 2015
I remember watching this as a little girl. It was one of my most favorite movies full of memories and good clean humor you don't see much of today. This is a great movie to pass down to the newer generations.

Mary Poppins is one of that select gathering of movies that can genuinely be called Fantastic, an undertaking imagined in adoration and loaded with such a great amount of kid like ponder that it will never develop old or obsolete. Absolutely the most noteworthy accomplishment of Walt Disney's momentous profession.

Regardless of the specialized accomplishments and the extraordinary musical score, it is the exhibitions that keep the film alive for me. Julie Andrews was right on target when she got her foundation recompense and expressed gratitude toward Jack Warner for turning her down in the film form of My Fair Lady. She passes on both poise and warmth as Mary. Dick van Dyke had the possibility of a lifetime to exhibit the broadness of his gifts, particularly his moving, which couldn't be completely abused on his TV arrangement.
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A Magical Film
Jawbox52 February 2014
Disney has produced an incredible amount of beloved and classic films whether they are animated or live-action, but possibly the most adored of all is Mary Poppins. I think it is right to say that the film is a classic not just in Disney terms but for cinema as a whole. There is something truly magical about the film, it is such an enjoyable film that once it grips you it is impossible to forget. It is clear that this is the work of Walt Disney, the Sherman brothers and the excellent cast all at the top of their games. It is one of a select range of films that will never go out of date and can be enjoyed at any age, it remains a wonderful achievement.

The story sees the dysfunctional Banks family of London in need of a nanny to look after their two children. The seemingly magical Mary Poppins fills the role and sets about trying to bring the children closer to their rather distant father. With the help of Cockney jack-of- all-trades Burt, Mary and the children go on a series of adventures with the view to improve the family's relationships. The story is now extremely well-known, but that doesn't lessen its impact in any way and I think as a straight-up story it could not be bettered. I like how there's more going on than simply making the family better, with the whole idea of helping Mr. Banks himself. The story knows when to add more drama or add more fun and that's what keeps it so feeling so fresh.

As a person who doesn't enjoy signing in films I have to admit I think every single song used in the film is fantastic. It's amazing how well- crafted and catchy all these songs really are, with the Sherman Brothers deserving acclaim for their work. The songs are all so good in their own ways, I love the serene 'Stay Awake', the emotion of 'Feed the Birds' and the sheer energy of 'Step in Time'. They are all classic tunes for a reason and they stay in your head in the most pleasant way that is possible.

The performances were key and thankfully all the cast are excellent. Julie Andrews won an Oscar as Mary Poppins as she puts in a truly wonderful turn as the stern but sweet nanny. Everything from her firm delivery to her lovely singing hits the mark, she also has superb chemistry with the rest of the cast. It is hard to think of anyone else in the role. Dick Van Dyke presents one of the dodgiest Cockney accents of all time, but luckily his performance makes up for it. You won't see many actors put as much energy into a part as he does and that's what wins him over, his incredible dancing and comic abilities are put to full use here. He is also naturally likable and makes Burt someone we enjoy being around, a key piece as he acts as the audiences guide.

Elsewhere David Tomlinson is brilliant as the strict George Banks, a man who cares about being king of his castle a little too much. He has a soft charm that allows you to understand Mr. Banks' plight despite his harsh actions. The sweet natured Glynis Johns is very amusing as Winifred Banks, always pushing for women's rights. Both Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber are excellent as the Banks children, they avoid usual child actor traps as they are both very charming and have many funny moments. The support from Ed Wynn as the easily amused Uncle Albert and Reginald Owen as the eccentric Admiral Boom is top notch. These are all memorable characters that are impossible to dislike.

The film is also a visual marvel. It shows the stunning production work that went into proceedings as the film was filmed entirely in Disney's California studios. It has such an authentic feel to it and manages to visualise the streets of Edwardian London in a style that is just beautiful to view. From the cobbled streets to the murky rooftops it all looks wondrous, not to mention the scenes showing the London skyline and the red sunset as they just look glorious. The scenes that involve animation blending with the live-action look very good, they have hardly dated to be fair and it's a technique that is somewhat enchanting. When you have Dick Van Dyke dancing with animated penguins then it is hard not to get carried away.

There are so many memorable scenes to be appreciated. The visit to Uncle Albert's which ends up being a Tea Party on the celling, the merry-go round that leads to Mary Poppins winning a horse race or the already mentioned Step in Time scene which is so entertaining that you wish it would never end. The most poignant scene is certainly Mr. Banks walk to the bank for the last time, the sombre image of him walking through deserted streets is quite something, as the crisp lighting and beautiful music add massive amounts of atmosphere. It's great how the film allows there to be some deeper pieces as that offers it even more balance.

I'd have to say Mary Poppins is a true classic. It really is a film that can appeal immensely to any age, as there is something here that anybody can relate to no matter what. It's so difficult to find any faults with the film and I think that is praise enough, nothing really needs changing because it is all so good. The performances of Andrews and Van Dyke cannot be praised enough, the support (especially Tomlinson) is outstanding, the music is so of the best put to film, the visuals are stunning and there is a real emotion to the story that draws you in. Mary Poppins is just a magical experience that can be enjoyed over and over again.
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Anyone will love this Disney classic.
TheOneManBoxOffice9 December 2013
Warning: Spoilers
There are movies that will make you feel a lot of emotions, and I mean a lot of 'em. For a classic Disney picture, that's one big accomplishment. This is one of those movies that does exactly that, and possibly the best example of that statement.

"Mary Poppins" is a 1964 musical film based on the works of author P.L. Travers about a magical mysterious nanny who is summoned to take care of two children who have a father who is barely around them because of his job. The film takes place in London, and the previous nanny hired by George Banks, Esq. (David Tomlinson) quits because she is tired of chasing after his children, Jane and Michael Banks (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber), even though they were after their runaway kite. So George Banks, who is a strict father figure, and his wife (Glynis Johns), decide to hire a new nanny that will set their children straight. Surprisingly, this gets the attention of Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews), and she whisks down to take the job as nanny. Jane and Michael eventually find out that she is a magical nanny with lots of surprises up her sleeve, from possessing a bottomless bag of things to the ability of transporting the children into a chalk portrait that immediately comes alive as soon as they jump in. Though she is kind, gentle, and as perfect as any human being can be, she is firm when it comes to her job as a nanny, and all the more mysterious, which pops a lot of questions into the supporting characters' heads. Let's not forget the re- occurrence of Bert (Dick Van Dyke), who interacts with the audience most of the time he's on screen, even with his poor, yet hilarious English accent.

The movie has gotten a lot of attention over the years, mostly from those who study film like myself and those who have children that enjoy everything made by Disney, both the good, and unfortunately the bad. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The movie today continues to captivate audiences around the globe with its Oscar-winning music and dance numbers, cinematography, and unique filmmaking techniques that Disney is often known for, to the point of mixing live-action and animation and that unforgettable song that only some can spell correctly.

Even with its happy moments, there's also some moody moments as well. There's a scene in the movie where Andrews sings a song about a woman who is surrounded by birds and asks for change in exchange for bird food bags. The heart-hitting music and lyrics in the scene actually manages to pretty much move anyone to tears, from the camera work to the expertly composed orchestrations from conductor Irwin Kostal and the famous Sherman Brothers.

"Mary Poppins" is a timeless film for the ages. As a classic movie, it's a masterpiece in filmmaking and musical direction. It went on to earn 5 Oscars, including a nomination for best picture. Unfortunately, it lost to "My Fair Lady", which was another musical. While I disagree with that decision, I will say that it more than deserved what it got.
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