Mary Poppins (film)
Original theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Robert Stevenson|
|Produced by||Walt Disney|
|Screenplay by||Bill Walsh
|Based on||Mary Poppins
by P. L. Travers
Dick Van Dyke
|Music by||Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman
|Edited by||Cotton Warburton|
|Distributed by||Buena Vista Distribution|
|Running time||139 minutes|
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 Andrews, Best Film Editing, Best 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".
In Edwardian London, 1910, Cockney one-man band Bert entertains a crowd when he senses a change in the wind. Afterwards, he directly addresses the audience and gives them a tour of Cherry Tree Lane, stopping outside the home of the Banks. George Banks returns home from his job at the Fidelity Fiduciary Bank to learn from his wife Winifred that their hired nanny, Katie Nanna, has left their service after his children Jane and Michael ran away again. They are returned shortly after by the local constable. Taking upon himself to hire a nanny, George advertises for a stern, no-nonsense nanny. Jane and Michael present their own advertisement for a kinder, sweeter nanny, but George rips up the letter and throws the scraps in the fireplace, which magically float up and out into the air.
The next day, a queue of elderly, sour-faced nannies queue up outside with Jane and Michael watching with disdain. However, a strong gust of wind literally blows the nannies away, and Jane and Michael witness a young, beautiful nanny, Mary Poppins, descend from the sky using her umbrella. Presenting herself to George, Mary Poppins calmly produces the children’s fixed advertisement, agreeing with its requests but promises the astonished banker she will be firm with his children. As George puzzles over the ad’s return, Mary Poppins hires herself and meets the children, baffling them with her behaviour and bottomless carpet bag. She helps the children to tidy their nursery through song, before heading out for a walk in the park.
Outside, they meet Bert who now works as a screever, drawing chalk sketches on the pavement. Mary Poppins uses her magic to transport the group into one of the chalk drawings, which materialises as an animated countryside setting. While the children go on a nearby carousel, Mary Poppins and Bert go on a leisurely stroll and are served tea by a quarter of penguin waiters. Mary Poppins enchants the carousel horses, and they participate in a horse race which she wins. When asked to describe her victory, Mary Poppins comes up with the nonsense word “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. A rainstorm washes away the chalk drawing, ending the group’s adventure. On another day, Mary Poppins, Bert, and the children meet Uncle Albert, a jovial man who floats in midair whenever he laughs too much, leading to a tea party on the ceiling.
George becomes increasingly bothered by the cheery atmosphere of his family and considers firing Mary Poppins. Mary Poppins inverts his attempt, instead convincing him to take the children to the bank. George takes Jane and Michael to the bank, where they meet his employers, Mr. Dawes Sr. and his son. Dawes aggressively pushes Michael to invest his tuppence in the bank, snatching his money from him. Michael demands it back, causing other customers to misinterpret his cries, causing a bank run. Jane and Michael flee the bank, getting lost in the East End until they run into Bert, now a chimney sweep. He escorts them home, suggesting their father does not hate them but has his own troubles to deal with.
While Winifred heads out for a suffragette rally, Bert cleans the house’s chimney, only for the children to be magically swept up onto the roof, followed by Mary Poppins and Bert. Venturing across the rooftops, Bert rallies a group of fellow chimney sweeps for a dance number, until it is interrupted by eccentric neighbour Admiral Boom who launches fireworks at the sweeps. They leap down the Banks’ chimney and continue their dance until George enters, causing the sweeps to depart. George receives a phone call from his employers, telling him to meet them later for disciplinary action. George speaks with Bert who tells him while he needs to work, he should spend more time with his children before they grow up. Jane and Michael give their father Michael’s tuppence in the hope to make amends, which he kindly accepts.
George walks through London to the bank, where he is given a humiliating cashiering and is fired. Looking to the tuppence for words, he splutters out how happy Mary Poppins has made his family and joyfully departs after giving Dawes the tuppence and telling him a joke. Dawes mulls over the joke, realises the punchline, and floats up into the air laughing. The next day, the wind changes, meaning Mary Poppins must depart to help more children in need. The merry George returns home, fixing his children’s kite and takes the family out to fly it. In the park, the Banks meet Dawes’ son who reveals his father died laughing and re-employs George as a junior partner. Mary Poppins departs using her umbrella, with Bert bidding her farewell, telling her not to “stay away too long”.
- 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.
- Van 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.
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. Pre-production 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. 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. 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. 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 substandard 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.
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. Van Dyke claims that his accent coach was Irish, who "didn't do an accent any better than I did".
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. 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. Disney responded by walking away, saying as he did, "Pamela, the ship has sailed." While Travers publicly praised the Mary Poppins film following its premiere, her public position on the film shifted after a proposed sequel did not materialize in the 1960s. Never at ease with the handling of her property by Disney or the way she felt she'd been treated, 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.
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. Written by Richard and Robert Sherman, the songs were inspired by Edwardian British music hall music.
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. In 2014 (the 50th anniversary of the film's release), the soundtrack was released in a 3-CD edition as part of the Walt Disney "Legacy Collection"; this edition includes demos of many of the "lost" tracks described below.
|Mary Poppins (Original Soundtrack)|
|Soundtrack album by Various artists|
|Recorded||April 12—December 20, 1963
(The Walt Disney Studios)
|Producer||Richard M. Sherman · Robert B. Sherman · Irwin Kostal|
|Mary Poppins (Original Soundtrack)|
|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|
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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "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".
- "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.
- "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.
- "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.
- "Measure Up" was to accompany the scene in which Mary takes the tape measure to Jane and Michael.
- "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.
- "Sticks, Paper And Strings" was an early version of "Let's Go Fly A Kite."
- "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
- "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:
- "South Sea Island Symphony"
- "Chinese Festival Song"
- "Tim-Buc-Too" — elements of this were reused for "The Chimpanzoo" which was also cut
- "Tiki Town" — the melody was reused for "The Chimpanzoo"
- "North Pole Polka"
- "Land of Sand" — later rewritten as "Trust In Me" for the animated version of The Jungle Book
- "The Beautiful Briny" — later used in Bedknobs and Broomsticks
- "East is East" — another variation on the unused "Mary Poppins Melody".
Deleted scores and music
- 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.
Mary Poppins was the most profitable film of 1965, earning a net profit of $28.5 million. 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. 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.
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.
The film received universal acclaim by film critics. 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. 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. 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."
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."
- American Film Institute
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Laughs - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains:
- AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs:
- AFI's 100 Years of Musicals - #6
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Cheers - Nominated
- AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition) - Nominated
- AFI's 10 Top 10 - Nominated Fantasy Film
The Cat That Looked at a King
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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. President Motoyoshi Tokunaga says that 20 artists/animators worked on the film for a period of three months.
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. 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.
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- Official website
- Mary Poppins at the Internet Movie Database
- Mary Poppins at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Mary Poppins at the TCM Movie Database
- Mary Poppins at AllMovie
- Mary Poppins at Box Office Mojo
- Mary Poppins at Rotten Tomatoes
- Mary Poppins on Facebook
- The Cat That Looked At A King at the Internet Movie Database