Mary Poppins (film)

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Mary Poppins
Marypoppins.jpg
Original theatrical release poster
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Produced by Walt Disney
Screenplay by Bill Walsh
Don DaGradi
Based on Mary Poppins 
by P. L. Travers
Starring Julie Andrews
Dick Van Dyke
David Tomlinson
Glynis Johns
Music by Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
Cinematography Edward Colman
Editing by Cotton Warburton
Studio Walt Disney Productions
Distributed by Buena Vista Distribution
Release dates
  • August 27, 1964 (1964-08-27)
Running time 139 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $6 million[1]
Box office $102,272,727[2]

Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. The screenplay is by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, loosely based on P. L. Travers' book series of the same name. The film, which combines live-action and animation, stars Julie Andrews in the titular role of a magical nanny who visits a dysfunctional family in London and employs her unique brand of lifestyle to improve the family's dynamic. Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, and Glynis Johns are featured in supporting roles. The film was shot entirely at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California.

Mary Poppins was released on August 27, 1964 to universal acclaim, receiving a total of thirteen Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture — an unsurpassed record for any other film released by the Walt Disney Studios — and won five: Best Actress for Julie Andrews, Best Film Editing, Original Music Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Song for "Chim Chim Cher-ee". In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".[3]

Plot[edit]

In Edwardian London, 1910, Bert, a Cockney jack-of-all-trades is performing as a one-man band at a park entrance. He suddenly senses a strange change in the wind and senses that his good friend is about to return. After the show, he speaks directly to the audience, introducing viewers first to Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle, who keep his exterior rooftop "Ship Shape" by firing the cannon at 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM each day, and then to the well-to-do but troubled Banks family, headed by the cold and aloof George Banks and the loving, but highly distracted suffragette Winifred Banks.

The Banks' latest nanny, Katie Nanna, quits her position, exasperated after the Banks children, Jane and Michael, have run off for the fourth time this week. Ellen, the maid, pleads with her not to leave, but Mrs. Brill, the cook, is pleased with her departing. Winifred returns home, and engages all three of them in a rousing rendition of "Sister Suffragette" before Katie Nanna walks out. George comes home from his job at the Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, and Winifred reveals the children are missing. The constable arrives with the children, who ask their father to help repair their damaged kite, but he dismisses them and advertises for an authoritarian nanny-replacement. Jane and Michael draft their own advertisement asking for a fun, kind-hearted and caring person, but George tears up the paper and throws it in the fireplace. Unnoticed, the remains of the note float up the chimney.

The next day, a queue of elderly and disagreeable looking candidates await at the door. However, a strong gust of wind blows the queue away and Mary Poppins floats down, held aloft by her magical umbrella, to apply. George is stunned to see that this calmly defiant new nanny has responded to the children's ad despite the fact that he destroyed it. Although Mary Poppins recites the ad, she also tells George that she is firm and will also lay down ground rules with the children. As he puzzles, Mary 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. When she joins the children upstairs, the two of them face surprises of their own: Mary Poppins possesses a bottomless carpetbag, and makes contents of the children's nursery come to life and tidy themselves (by snapping her fingers).

The trio then meet Bert, who is a close friend of Mary Poppins, in the park at work as a screever, where Mary Poppins uses one of his chalk pavement drawings as a gateway to an outing in an animated countryside. While in the drawing, the children ride a merry-go-round while Mary and Bert enjoy a stroll through the countryside, during which Bert dances at an outdoor bistro with four penguin waiters. Mary Poppins and Bert join the children on the merry-go-round, from which the horses break loose and take their riders on a trip through the countryside. As they pass by a fox hunt, Bert maneuvers to save an Irish-accented fox from the hounds. Finally the quartet finds themselves in a horse race, which Mary wins. It is here that Mary Poppins first employs the nonsense word "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." The outing is interrupted by a rainstorm, which washes away the chalk drawing and returns the travelers, back to the park.

That evening, the children ask Mary Poppins how long she will stay with them and she agrees to stay until the winds change. She then sternly dismisses their notion that she won the horse race in the countryside and then lulls the restless children to sleep with a lullaby. The next day, they visit Mary Poppins's jovial Uncle Albert, after she hears that he has floated up in the air again due to his unstoppable laughing. They join him in a tea party in his house in mid-air, telling various jokes to each other, though Mary Poppins finds it childish and ridiculous. They all get down only when one has to think of something sad, when Mary Poppins firmly says it is time for them all to go home, which makes Uncle Albert very sad to hear this, even though Jane and Michael promise they will see him again. Bert attempts to tell a joke to cheer him up, but it fails miserably and is left crying as well.

George grows increasingly annoyed with his children's stories of their adventures, but Mary Poppins effortlessly inverts his attempted dismissal of her services into a plan to take his children with him to the Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank, where he is employed. On the way there, as they pass St Paul's Cathedral, the children see "The Bird Woman" (Jane Darwell), of whom Mary Poppins sang to them the night before, and they want to feed the birds around her, but George will have none of it as he expresses his lack of interest in what Mary Poppins says. Upon arriving at the bank, Mr. Dawes Jr. and Mr. Dawes Sr. — George's employers — aggressively try to persuade Michael to invest his tuppence in the bank to the point of actually snatching it out of his hand without waiting for his permission. When Michael protests, the other customers misunderstand his cries and start a run on the bank that forces the bank to suspend business. The Bank Guard (Jimmy Logan) chases the children causing them to flee and wander into the slums of the East End of London. Fortunately, they run into Bert, now employed as a chimney sweep. He takes them safely home, explaining that their father does not hate them, but that he has problems of his own, and that unlike the children, has no one to turn to but himself.

At home, Winifred employs Bert to clean the family's chimney and mind the children. Mary Poppins then arrives back from her day off and warns of the dangers of this activity, but is too late as the children are both sucked up the chimney to the roof. Bert and Mary follow them and lead a tour of the rooftops of London that concludes with a joyful dance with Bert's chimney-sweep colleagues. Admiral Boom, who mistakes them for Hottentots, orders Mr. Binnacle to set off a volley of fireworks which sends the entire gathering back down a chimney, which turns out to be the Banks' chimney. After they all dance around the house, George arrives home, causing the chimney sweepers to depart out into the street, where they disappear from view, concluding the festivities. George angrily inquires what the meaning of this is, to which Mary Poppins replies that she never explains anything. George then receives a phone call from work ordering him to return immediately for disciplinary action. As George gathers his strength, Bert points out that while George does need to make a living, Jane and Michael will grow up and he needs to be a part of it while Jane and Michael are still children. Jane and Michael apologize, and Michael gives him his tuppence in the hope that it will make things all right. George gently accepts the offering.

George walks alone through the night-time streets, noticing several of the buildings around him, including the Cathedral and steps on which the bird woman was sitting earlier. At the bank, he is formally humiliated and sacked for causing the first run on the bank since 1773 (it is stated that the bank supplied the money for the shipment of tea destroyed in the Boston Tea Party, during which the colonists tossed the tea into Boston Harbor). However, after being at a loss when ordered to give a statement, George blurts out "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," gives Dawes the tuppence, tells one of Uncle Albert's jokes, and joyfully departs. Dawes mulls over the joke, finally "gets" it and floats up into the air, laughing.

The next morning, the wind changes direction, and so Mary Poppins gets ready to depart. Meanwhile, the police cannot find George, and fear that he might have become suicidal. However, George, now loving and joyful, reappears with the now-mended kite for Jane and Michael. Winifred uses one of her suffragette ribbons as the kite's tail. At the park, Mr. Dawes Jr., now in charge of the bank, says that his father literally died laughing from his joke. George offers his condolences, but Mr. Dawes Jr. explains that his father died happy and he re-employs George to fill the opening as junior partner. With her work done, Mary Poppins takes to the air with a fond farewell from Bert, telling her not to stay away too long.

Cast[edit]

  • Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, a magical and loving woman who descends down from the clouds in response to the Banks children's advertisement for a nanny. She is not only firm in her use of authority, but gentle and kind as well (a major departure from the original books, in which the character was strict and pompous). She travels to help children everywhere when they are most in need.
  • Dick Van Dyke as Bert, a Cockney jack-of-all-trades, and Mary Poppins's closest friend that is completely accustomed to her magic. Their playful interactions imply that they have known each other for a long time, and that this kind of story has repeated itself many times. When she sails away at the end of the film, he asks her not to stay away too long, possibly showing that he is accustomed to having Mary Poppins come and go as she pleases. Bert has at least four jobs throughout the film: a one-man band, a pavement chalk artist (or "screever"), a chimney sweep, and a kite seller. Bert also hints at selling hot chestnuts. His various street-vending jobs meet with mixed financial success, but he retains his cheery disposition and a bright red nose. Bert also assists Mary Poppins in her mission to save the Banks family, as he plays a key role in helping the Banks children and Mr. Banks to understand each other better.
Dyke also portrays Mr. Dawes Sr., the impossibly ancient director of the bank where Mr. Banks works; he often needs a little help when he moves clumsily and literally dies laughing toward the end of the film after Mr. Banks tells him one of Uncle Albert's jokes, which Jane and Michael originally told him. During the film's end titles, "Navckid Keyd" is credited as Mr. Dawes Sr, an anagram of Dick Van Dyke.
  • David Tomlinson as George Banks, Mary Poppins' employer and father of the two children. He works at the Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank in the City of London. He is a driven and disciplined man who callously dismisses the "Votes for Women" movement and tends to treat his children, wife, and servants as assets rather than people — a fact clearly evidenced in his song "The Life I Lead". By the end of the film, Mr. Banks' attitude towards his family, job, and Mary Poppins has changed dramatically. In contrast to what his children want, George wants a strict and authoritarian nanny who will give commands to "mold" Jane and Michael into nothing more than little obedient soldiers, something that his wife agrees with until after the children show their ad for a new nanny. Melodies in the score punctuate the children's need for their father's attention and love, and most of the dramatic tension in the film involves his journey from disconnected family autocrat to fully engaged family man. According to the Special Edition Soundtrack bonus disc, Mary Poppins was George's own nanny when he was a child. Travers intended to have the script hint this strongly in a few places, but it was largely left out of the film, except for the following words in Bert's opening song, "Can't put me finger on what lies in store... But I feel what's to 'appen, all 'appened before...!" and George's own statement to the elder Mr. Dawes identifying "Poppins" as "my nanny." However, in Banks' initial interview with Mary Poppins, there is little or no indication that the two have ever met before, and his description of her as "my nanny" could easily mean "the nanny I have employed to look after my children during the day" or even "my maid" or "my cook."
Tomlinson also provides the uncredited voice of Mary Poppins' parrot umbrella handle.
  • Glynis Johns as Winifred Banks, the easily distracted wife of George Banks and the mother of Jane and Michael. She is more fully developed in the film than in the books. She is depicted as a member of Emmeline Pankhurst's suffragette movement and appears to be so dedicated to the women's cause to the extent that she, like her husband, neglects the children. Her main outfit is a blue and orange Edwardian-style dress with a white and blue sash that reads "Votes for Women" in black letters. She wears white gloves in the film (as did most Edwardian English women of her class) and a stylish hat. Her song in the film is "Sister Suffragette", which she sings with the other two women of the household staff. One of her responsibilities is to say "Posts, everyone!", a simple way to protect delicate household items such as vases or pictures from destruction when Mr. Binnacle fires the cannon on top of Admiral Boom's house next door. She is also given yellow daisies by her son Michael one morning as he and his sister are singing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." She is more sensitive to the needs of the children than her husband is, but also finds herself starved of his attention. As with the children, it is clear she loves George very much, but he is too absorbed in his view of the way things "ought to be" to return her love satisfactorily. Mrs. Banks was originally named Cynthia, but this was changed to the more English-sounding Winifred after some issues with the script.
  • Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber as Jane and Michael, the Banks' two children.
Katie Nanna's stormy departure suggests that the children are impossibly undisciplined, and they do demonstrate some evidence of this in their own advertisement for a new nanny, as they promise not to "hide her spectacles so she can't see, put toads in her bed or pepper in her tea" while smiling at each other in remembrance of jokes on former nannies. Once Mary Poppins arrives, the children come across as mostly sweet and innocent, albeit a tad rebellious. All they want is for their father to love them, and they have mistakenly interpreted his indifference to their needs as disliking them. They have tried to live up to his demands on them, which has only left them with shaky self-esteem. Those elements come together in a bit of dialogue early in the film, in which they explain that they did not run away from Katie Nanna, their kite took them away from her. They say that the kite is not very good, "because they made it themselves". They suggest to their father that if he could help them with it, it would turn out better. Alas, at that point, Banks is too wrapped up in his philosophy, that a British household should be run like a British bank, to take this strongest of hints. After inadvertently causing a run on the bank, the children give their father their tuppence, expressing the hope that it will make things right. At that moment, Mr. Banks finally understands, and his priorities take a 180-degree turn, leading to the film's happy resolution.
  • Hermione Baddeley as Ellen, the maid of the Banks residence. Although she is fond of the children, she dislikes having to look after them when there is no nanny available in the household.
  • Reta Shaw as Mrs. Brill, the cook of the Banks residence. She does not like intruders when she sees them. For example, in the musical number called "Step In Time", she sees too many chimney sweepers and screams the phrase, "They're at it again!"
  • Reginald Owen as Admiral Boom, the Banks' eccentric neighbour and a naval officer. He has his first mate, Mr. Binnacle, fire a cannon from his roof every 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. When those firings are about to happen, the attendants of the Banks or Mrs. Banks shout "Posts, everyone!" and rush to keep fragile possessions from falling to the ground while the house rocks. The admiral is known for his punctuality. He also considers a group of mean nannies as a "ghastly looking crew".
  • Don Barclay as Mr. Binnacle, Admiral Boom's first mate. He gets excited when he is ordered to give the cannon a double charge.
  • Arthur Treacher as Constable Jones, a police officer who convinces Mr. Banks that the kite pulled the Banks children away when he brought them back. He is a kindhearted man who knows his duties, but hates the way George treats his family and servants, as he mutters to himself before walking out the Banks' home in his first scene.
  • Elsa Lanchester as Katie Nanna, the disgruntled nanny who quits the Banks family. Mrs. Brill never liked her one bit, although Ellen begged her not to leave because then Ellen would have to watch over the children alone.
  • Marjorie Bennett as Miss Lark, a prissy, prim and posh old woman who owns a dog named Andrew, who frequently runs away.
  • Arthur Malet as Mr. Dawes Jr., the director's son and member of the board.
  • Ed Wynn as Uncle Albert, a jolly, portly gentleman suffers from an unknown condition where he floats up in the air, laughing uncontrollably. Though he enjoys having company over, he becomes very sad and cries when his guests have to go home.
  • Jane Darwell as the "Bird Woman" from the "Feed the Birds" sequence.
  • Alma Lawton as Mrs. Corry, an old shopkeeper of a gingerbread shop. She has two daughters who were once shorter than she is, "but they grew" and are now twice her height. Mary Poppins and the children nearly visit her shop but have to change plans so that they can see Uncle Albert.
  • Marjorie Eaton as Miss Persimmon, seen in the park where, after a long pause when the wind blows, her only word was a questioning "yes?". In the book she is a nurse looking after Uncle Albert.
  • Jimmy Logan as a doorman who chases after the children in the bank.

Production[edit]

"Step in Time" sequence.

The first book in the Mary Poppins book series was the main basis for the movie. According to the 40th Anniversary DVD release of the film in 2004, Walt Disney's daughters fell in love with the Mary Poppins books, and made him promise to make a film based on them. Disney first attempted to purchase the film rights to Mary Poppins from P. L. Travers as early as 1938 but was rebuffed because Travers did not believe a film version of her books would do justice to her creation. In addition, Disney was known at the time primarily as a producer of cartoons and had yet to produce any major live-action work. For more than 20 years, Disney periodically made efforts to convince Travers to allow him to make a Poppins film. He finally succeeded in 1961, although Travers demanded and got script approval rights. Planning the film and composing the songs took about two years.

Travers was an adviser to the production. However, she disapproved of the dilution of the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins' character, felt ambivalent about the music, and so hated the use of animation that she ruled out any further adaptations of the later Mary Poppins novels.[4] She objected to a number of elements that actually made it into the film. Rather than original songs, she wanted the soundtrack to feature known standards of the Edwardian period in which the story is set. She also objected to the animated sequence. Disney overruled her, citing contract stipulations that he had final say on the finished print.

Julie Andrews, who was making her movie acting debut after a successful stage career, got the prime role of Mary Poppins soon after she was passed over by Jack Warner and replaced with Audrey Hepburn for the role of Eliza Doolittle in his screen version of My Fair Lady, even though Andrews had originated the role on Broadway.[5] When Walt Disney first approached Andrews about taking on the role, Andrews was 3 months pregnant and therefore wasn't sure she should take the role. Walt Disney assured her that the crew would be fine with waiting to begin filming until after she had given birth so that she could play the part.[6] Julie Andrews also provided the voice in two other sections of the film: during "A Spoonful of Sugar," she provided the whistling harmony for the robin, and she was also one of the Pearly singers during "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." David Tomlinson, besides playing Mr. Banks, provided the voice of Mary's talking umbrella and numerous other voice-over parts (including that of Admiral Boom's first mate). During the Jolly Holiday sequence, the three singing Cockney geese were all voiced by Marni Nixon, a regular aural substitute for actresses with poor singing voices. Nixon would later provide the singing voice for Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady and play one of Julie Andrews' fellow nuns in The Sound of Music. Andrews later beat Hepburn for the Best Actress Award at the Golden Globes for their respective roles. Andrews would also win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role. Hepburn did not receive a nomination. Richard Sherman, one of the songwriters, also voiced a penguin as well as one of the Pearlies.[7]

It was the Sherman Brothers who composed the music and song score, and who were also involved in the film's development, who suggested that the setting be changed from the 1930s to the Edwardian era.

Disney cast Dick Van Dyke in the key supporting role of Bert, thanks to his work on The Dick Van Dyke Show. Van Dyke also played the senior Mr. Dawes in the film. Although he is fondly remembered for this film, Van Dyke's attempt at a cockney accent is regarded as one of the worst film accents in history, cited as an example by actors since as something that they wish to avoid. In a 2003 poll by Empire magazine of the worst film accents of all time he came second.[8][9] Van Dyke claims that his accent coach was Irish, who "didn't do an accent any better than I did".[10]

The film changed the book story line in a number of places. For example, Mary, when approaching the house, controlled the wind rather than the other way around. As another example, the father, rather than the mother, interviewed Mary for the nanny position. Much of the Travers-Disney correspondence is part of the Travers collection of papers in the Mitchell Library of New South Wales, Australia. The relationship between Travers and Disney is detailed in Mary Poppins She Wrote, a biography of Travers, by Valerie Lawson. The biography is the basis for two documentaries on Travers, The Real Mary Poppins and Lisa Matthews' The Shadow Of Mary Poppins.[11][12][13] Their relationship during the development of the film was also dramatized later in the 2013 film, Saving Mr. Banks.

A number of other changes were necessary to condense the story into feature length. In the movie, there are only two Banks children, Jane and Michael. The satirical and mysterious aspects of the original book gave way to a cheerful and 'Disneyfied' tone. Mary Poppins' character as portrayed by Andrews in the film is somewhat less vain and more sympathetic towards the children compared to the rather cold and intimidating nanny of the original book. Bert, as played by Van Dyke, was a composite of several characters from Travers' stories. Travers demanded that any suggestions of romance between Mary and Bert be eliminated, so lyrics were written for "Jolly Holiday" that clearly indicated that their friendship was purely platonic. (Some subtle hints of romance, however, did remain in the finished film.)

At the film's premiere—to which Travers was not invited, but had to ask Walt Disney for permission to attend—she reportedly approached Disney and told him that the animated sequence had to go.[14] Disney responded by walking away, saying as he did, "Pamela, the ship has sailed."[14] Enraged at what she considered shabby treatment at Disney's hands, Travers would never again agree to another Poppins/Disney adaptation. So fervent was Travers' dislike of the Disney adaptation and of the way she felt she had been treated during the production, that when producer Cameron Mackintosh approached her about the stage musical in the 1990s, she acquiesced on the condition that only English-born writers and no one from the film production were to be directly involved with creating the stage musical.[15]

Music[edit]

Buena Vista Records released the original motion picture soundtrack on vinyl and reel-to-reel tape. Due to time constraints, some songs were edited (such as "Step In Time" and "Jolly Holiday", "A Spoonful of Sugar"), while songs also featured introductory passages ("Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious") or completed endings ("Sister Sufragette", "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank", "A Man Has Dreams"). The "Overture" also featured "Jolly Holiday", omitted from the opening credits presentation and later re-released under the Walt Disney Records label, while "Jolly Holiday" and "A Spoonful Of Sugar" would be restored to their theatrical lengths.

When re-issued on laserdisc in 1997, one of the disc's analog audio tracks featured a mono isolated music score. It has yet to appear on any other home video release.

In 2004, as part of the 40th Anniversary (also called Special Edition), a 28-track disc (as part of a two-disc set) was released by Walt Disney Records.

Soundtrack[edit]

Mary Poppins (Original Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by Various artists
Released 1964 (1964)
Label Walt Disney
Producer Richard M. Sherman · Robert B. Sherman · Irwin Kostal

All songs written and composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Mary Poppins (Original Soundtrack)
No. Title Performer(s) Length
1. "Overture" (Instrumental)   3:01
2. "Sister Suffragette"   Glynis Johns 1:45
3. "The Life I Lead"   David Tomlinson 2:01
4. "The Perfect Nanny"   Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber 1:39
5. "A Spoonful of Sugar"   Julie Andrews 4:09
6. "Pavement Artist"   Dick van Dyke 2:00
7. "Jolly Holiday"   Julie Andrews, Dick van Dyke 5:24
8. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"   Julie Andrews, Dick van Dyke 2:03
9. "Stay Awake"   Julie Andrews 1:45
10. "I Love to Laugh"   Dick van Dyke, Ed Wynn, Julie Andrews 2:43
11. "A British Bank (The Life I Lead)"   David Tomlinson, Julie Andrews 2:08
12. "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)"   Julie Andrews 3:51
13. "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank"   "Navckid Keyd", Bankers, David Tomlinson 3:33
14. "Chim Chim Cher-ee"   Dick van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber 2:46
15. "Step in Time"   Dick van Dyke and Cast 8:42
16. "A Man Has Dreams"   David Tomlinson, Dick van Dyke 4:28
17. "Let's Go Fly a Kite"   David Tomlinson, Dick van Dyke, The Londoners 1:53
Total length:
45:57

Deleted songs[edit]

A number of other songs were written for the film by the Sherman Brothers and either rejected or cut for time. Richard Sherman, on the 2004 DVD release, indicated that more than 30 songs were written at various stages of the film's development. No cast recordings of any of these songs have been released to the public, only demos or later performances done by the songwriters — with the exception of the rooftop reprise of "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and the "smoke staircase yodel" mentioned below.

  1. "The Chimpanzoo", was originally to follow "I Love To Laugh" during the Uncle Albert "ceiling tea party" sequence, but it was dropped from the soundtrack just before Julie Andrews and company were to record it. The fast-paced number was not unveiled to the public until Richard Sherman, aided by recently uncovered storyboards, performed it on the 2004 DVD edition. The re-creation suggests it was to have been another sequence combining animation and live action.
  2. "Practically Perfect" was intended to introduce Mary but instead the melody of the piece was used for "Sister Suffragette" (used to introduce Mrs. Banks). A different song with the same name was written for the stage musical.
  3. "The Eyes Of Love", a romantic ballad, was intended for Bert and Mary, but according to Richard Sherman, Julie Andrews suggested privately to Disney that this song was not suitable. In response, "A Spoonful Of Sugar" was written.
  4. "Mary Poppins Melody" was to be performed when Mary introduces herself to the children. Elements of the song later became part of "Stay Awake". The melody was the basis for a couple of other songs that were ultimately cut from the film.
  5. "A Name's A Name". Heard on a recording taken of a meeting between the Sherman Brothers and P.L. Travers, this song was originally intended for the nursery scene that later became "A Spoonful Of Sugar." The melody was reused for "Mary Poppins Melody".
  6. "You Think, You Blink" was a short piece that Bert was to sing just before entering the chalk painting (and starting the "Jolly Holiday" sequence). In the film, Dick Van Dyke simply recites the lyric instead of singing it.
  7. "West Wind" was a short ballad to be sung by Mary. The song was later retitled "Mon Amour Perdu" and used in the later Disney film, Big Red.
  8. "The Right Side" was to be sung by Mary to Michael Banks after he gets out of bed cranky. It was recycled for the Disney Channel television series Welcome to Pooh Corner as Winnie the Pooh's personal theme song.
  9. "Measure Up" was to accompany the scene in which Mary takes the tape measure to Jane and Michael.
  10. "Admiral Boom" was to be the theme song for the cannon-firing neighbor of the Banks Residence, but it was cut by Walt Disney as being unnecessary. The melody of the song remains in the film, and the bombastic theme is heard whenever Boom appears onscreen. One line from this song ("The whole world takes its time from Greenwich, but Greenwich, they say, takes its time from Admiral Boom!") is spoken by Bert early in the film.
  11. "Sticks, Paper And Strings" was an early version of "Let's Go Fly A Kite."
  12. "Lead The Righteous Life", an intentionally poorly written hymn, was to have been sung by Katie Nanna (Elsa Lanchester) along with Jane and Michael prior to Mary Poppins' arrival. The melody was later reused for a similar song in The Happiest Millionaire
  13. "The Pearly Song" was not deleted per se but was instead incorporated into "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".

The Compass Sequence, a precursor to "Jolly Holiday", was to be a multiple-song sequence. A number of possible musical components have been identified:

  1. "South Sea Island Symphony"
  2. "Chinese Festival Song"
  3. "Tim-Buc-Too" — elements of this were reused for "The Chimpanzoo" which was also cut
  4. "Tiki Town" — the melody was reused for "The Chimpanzoo"
  5. "North Pole Polka"
  6. "Land Of Sand" — later rewritten as "Trust In Me" for the animated version of The Jungle Book
  7. "The Beautiful Briny" — later used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks
  8. "East Is East" — another variation on the unused "Mary Poppins Melody".

Deleted scores and music[edit]

  • The "Step In Time" sequence ends with the chimney sweeps being scattered by an onslaught of fireworks fired from Admiral Boom's house. In the final film, the scene plays out with sound effects and no music. The DVD release included the original version of the scene which was accompanied by a complex instrumental musical arrangement that combined "Step in Time", the "Admiral Boom" melody (see above), and "A Spoonful Of Sugar". This musical arrangement can be heard on the film's original soundtrack.
  • Andrews recorded a brief reprise of "Chim Chim Cher-ee" which was to have accompanied Mary, Bert, and the children as they marched across the rooftops of London (an instrumental reprise of "A Spoonful Of Sugar" was used as a march instead; however, Andrews and Dick Van Dyke can still be seen and heard singing a reprise of "Chim Chim Cher-ee" in that sequence, just before the other chimney sweeps appear for the "Step In Time" number).
  • The robin Mary Poppins whistles with in "A Spoonful Of Sugar" originally sang a lyric as well.
  • Andrews also recorded a brief yodel which breaks into the first line of "A Spoonful Of Sugar" which was to have been used to "activate" the smoke staircase prior to the "Step In Time" number. Although cut from the film, footage of Andrews performing this exists and was included on the 2004 DVD. The DVD also indicates that an alternate version of the yodel performed by Dick Van Dyke may also exist.

Release[edit]

Mary Poppins was the most profitable film of 1965, earning a net profit of $28.5 million.[16][17] The Sound of Music was #2 with $20 million; Goldfinger was #3 at $19.7 million; and My Fair Lady was #4 at $19 million. The film was re-released theatrically in 1973 and earned an estimated $9 million in North American rentals.[18] Walt Disney would soon take his huge profits from the film and purchase 27,500 acres in central Florida and finance the construction of Walt Disney World. Disney died in 1966, just prior to the beginning of the construction phase.

Home media[edit]

Mary Poppins was first released in the early 1980s on VHS, Beta, CED and laserdisc. From 1994 to 1999, it was re-released three times as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. In 1998, this film became Disney's first DVD. In 2000, it was released on VHS and DVD as part of the Gold Classic Collection. In 2004, it had a 2-Disc DVD release in a Digitally Restored 40th Anniversary Edition as well as its final issue in the VHS Format. The film's audio track featured an "Enhanced Home Theater Mix" consisting of replaced sound effects (to make the soundtrack more "modern") and improved fidelity and mixing and some enhanced music (this version was also shown on 2006-2012 ABC Family airings of the movie.) On January 27, 2009, the film was released on DVD again as a 45th anniversary edition, with more language tracks and special features (though the film's "Enhanced Home Theater Mix" was not included.) Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment released the film on Blu-ray as the 50th Anniversary Edition on December 10, 2013.[19]

Critical reaction[edit]

The film received universal acclaim by film critics.[16] Film review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reports that 100% of critics gave the film a "fresh" rating, based on 43 reviews with an average score of 8.3/10.[20] The site's consensus says, "A lavish modern fairy tale celebrated for its amazing special effects, catchy songs, and Julie Andrews's legendary performance in the title role."

Variety praised the film's musical sequences and the performances of Julie Andrews and Dick van Dyke, in particular.[21] Time lauded the film, stating; "The sets are luxuriant, the songs lilting, the scenario witty but impeccably sentimental, and the supporting cast only a pinfeather short of perfection."[22]

Critic Drew Casper summarized the impact of Mary Poppins in 2011; "Disney was the leader, his musical fantasies mixing animation and truly marvelous f/x with real-life action for children and the child in the adult. Mary Poppins (1964) was his plum. ... the story was elemental, even trite. But utmost sophistication (the chimney pot sequence crisply cut by Oscared "Cotton" Warburton) and high-level invention (a tea party on the ceiling, a staircase of black smoke to the city's top) characterized its handling."[23]

Accolades[edit]

Awards
Award Date of ceremony Category Recipients and nominees Result
Academy Awards[24] April 5, 1965 Best Picture of the Year Walt Disney and Bill Walsh Nominated
Best Director Robert Stevenson Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Julie Andrews Won
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Don DaGradi and Bill Walsh Nominated
Best Cinematography, Color Edward Colman Nominated
Best Art Direction - Set Decoration, Color Carroll Clark, William H. Tuntke, Emile Kuri and Hal Gausman Nominated
Best Costume Design, Color Tony Walton Nominated
Best Sound Recording Robert O. Cook Nominated
Best Film Editing Cotton Warburton Won
Best Visual Effects Peter Ellenshaw, Eustace Lycett and Hamilton Luske Won
Best Music. Original Song "Chim Chim Cher-ee" — Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman Won
Best Music, Substantially Original Score Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman Won
Best Music, Scoring of Music-Adaptation or Treatment Irwin Kostal Nominated
Golden Globe Awards February 8, 1965 Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy Robert Stevenson, Walt Disney and Bill Walsh Nominated
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Dick van Dyke Nominated
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Musical or Comedy Julie Andrews Won
Best Original Score Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Nominated
Grammy Awards April 13, 1965 Best Recording for Children Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Glynis Johns, David Tomlinson, Ed Wynn Won
Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Won
New York Film Critics Circle Best Actress Julie Andrews Nominated
Directors Guild of America Award Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures Robert Stevenson Nominated
Writers Guild of America Award Best Written American Musical Don DaGradi and Bill Walsh Won

Legacy[edit]

Audio-animatronic versions of Mary Poppins and Bert in The Great Movie Ride at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Mary Poppins is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time and Walt Disney's "crowning achievement".[25]

American Film Institute

The Cat That Looked at a King[edit]

In 2004, Julie Andrews appeared in a live-action/animated short that was produced by DisneyToon Studios for the 40th Anniversary DVD release of the 1964 film. Titled The Cat That Looked at a King, the film was based upon part of Travers's book Mary Poppins Opens the Door, and it could be seen as something of a sequel or follow-up to the movie. The film was offered to The Answer Studio, which is partly made up of former employees of Walt Disney Animation (Japan), to be their first project.[33] President Motoyoshi Tokunaga says that 20 artists/animators worked on the film for a period of three months.[33]

The film opens in the modern day with two British children looking at chalk drawings at the same location where Bert did his artwork in the original movie. (According to Julie Andrews, the set was re-created, down to the last detail, using the originals.) Andrews, dressed in modern clothes, greets the children and takes them into the chalk drawing where they watch the tale unfold. A cat (Tracey Ullman) comes into the presence of a king (David Ogden Stiers) who loves the facts and figures of the world more than anything else. Unfortunately, this includes his wife, the Queen (Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York). The cat and the King challenge each other to three questions each: if the Cat wins, she gets the kingdom but if the King wins, he will become the smartest man in the universe. The Cat wins all her questions whilst the King wins none. When the King tells them he does not know who he is anymore, the Cat shows an image of him dancing with the Queen. She declines her prize and is given a brooch as a token of thanks by the Queen. The children and Andrews return to the park entrance, where Andrews denies that she took them into the painting, as she did in the film. The Prime Minister was also voiced by David Ogden Stiers.

Whether Andrews is playing a modern-day Mary Poppins or not is left to the viewer's imagination, although some sources identify Andrews' character as Mary Poppins.[citation needed] The shadow of Mary Poppins can also be seen when she looks down at the live action cat towards the end.

An orchestral reprise of "Feed The Birds" is heard to open the film and another reprise of Jolly Holiday is heard at the end. Quotes from the film such as Mary's catchphrase "Spit-spot!" and "I have no intention of making a spectacle of myself, thank you," are also featured. She also says, "A respectable person like me in a painting? How dare you suggest such a thing!" This parodies "A respectable person like me in a horse race? How dare you suggest such a thing!", which she said when Jane and Michael told her of their adventure in Bert's chalk picture in the film.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Box Office Information for Mary Poppins". The Numbers. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 
  2. ^ Mary Poppins at Box Office Mojo Mary Poppins (1964) - Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ "Library of Congress announces 2013 National Film Registry selections" (Press release). Washington Post. December 18, 2013. Retrieved December 18, 2013. 
  4. ^ Newman, Melinda (7 November 2013). "‘Poppins’ Author a Pill No Spoonful of Sugar Could Sweeten". Variety. Retrieved 7 November 2013. 
  5. ^ "Julie Andrews", Broadway, The American Musical, PBS; Thomas Hischak The Oxford Companion to the American Musical, New York: Oxford University Press, 2008, p.517
  6. ^ "Julie Andrews on how she got the role of Mary Poppins"
  7. ^ DVD extra
  8. ^ Staff writers (June 30, 2003). "Connery 'has worst film accent'". BBC News. Retrieved July 7, 2008. 
  9. ^ "How not to do an American accent," BBC News online 21 July 2008, accessed September 22, 2010
  10. ^ "Dick van Dyke Plays Not My Job". Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me!. October 23, 2010. 
  11. ^ Lawson, Valerie, Mary Poppins, She Wrote: The Life of P.L. Travers. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2006. Published by Aurum Press in the United Kingdom.
  12. ^ Matthews, Lisa, The Shadow Of Mary Poppins. Australia, 2002.
  13. ^ Flanagan, Caitlin. "Becoming Mary Poppins". In The New Yorker, December 19, 2005. Retrieved July 2, 2008.
  14. ^ a b http://www.vulture.com/2013/12/saving-mr-banks-pl-travers-fact-check-mary-poppins.html
  15. ^ Ouzounian, Richard (13 December 2013). "P.L. Travers might have liked Mary Poppins onstage". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 6 March 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Steinberg, Cobbett (1980). Film Facts. New York: Facts on File, Inc. p. 25. ISBN 0-87196-313-2. 
  17. ^ When a film is released late in a calendar year (October–December), its income is reported in the following year's compendium, unless the film made a particularly fast impact (Steinberg, p. 17)
  18. ^ "Big Rental Films of 1973", Variety, 9 January 1974 p 19
  19. ^ Strecker, Erin (10 December 2013). "'Mary Poppins' star talks 50th anniversary and 'Saving Mr. Banks'". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  20. ^ "Mary Poppins". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved December 10, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Review: ‘Mary Poppins’". Variety. December 31, 1963. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  22. ^ "Cinema: Have Umbrella, Will Travel". Time. September 18, 1964. Retrieved December 13, 2013. 
  23. ^ Casper, Drew (2011). Hollywood Film 1963-1976: Years of Revolution and Reaction. John Wiley and Sons. p. 1976. ISBN 978-1-4051-8827-2. 
  24. ^ "The 37th Academy Awards (1965) Nominees and Winners". oscars.org. Retrieved August 24, 2011. 
  25. ^ "History of The Walt Disney Studios". Retrieved 13 December 2013. 
  26. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies Nominees
  27. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Laughs Nominees
  28. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
  29. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Songs Nominees
  30. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers Nominees
  31. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) Ballot
  32. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
  33. ^ a b Desowitz, Bill (October 27, 2004). "Japan’s New Answer Studio Builds on Animation's Past and Future". Animation World Magazine. AWN. Retrieved December 29, 2008. 

External links[edit]