Review: ‘Mary Poppins’

Disney has gone all-out in his dream-world rendition [from the books by P.L. Travers] of a magical Engish nanny who one day arrives on the East Wind and takes over the household of a very proper London banker. Besides changing the lives of everyone therein, she introduces his two younger children to wonders imagined and possible only in fantasy.

Disney has gone all-out in his dream-world rendition [from the books by P.L. Travers] of a magical Engish nanny who one day arrives on the East Wind and takes over the household of a very proper London banker. Besides changing the lives of everyone therein, she introduces his two younger children to wonders imagined and possible only in fantasy.

Among a spread of outstanding songs [by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman] perhaps the most unusual is ‘Chim-Chim-Cher-ee’, sung by Dick Van Dyke, which carries a haunting quality. Dancing also plays an important part in unfolding the story and one number, the Chimney-Sweep Ballet, performed on the roofs of London and with Van Dyke starring, is a particular standout. For sheer entertainment, a sequence mingling live-action and animation in which Van Dyke dances with four little penguin-waiters is immense.

Julie Andrews’ first appearance on the screen is a signal triumph and she performs as easily as she sings, displaying a fresh type of beauty nicely adaptable to the color cameras. Van Dyke, as the happy-go-lucky jack-of-all-trades, scores heavily, the part permitting him to showcase his wide range of talents.

1964: Best Actress (Julie Andrews), Song (‘Chim-Chim-Cher-ee’), Original Musical Scoring, Editing, Visual Efects.

Nominations: Best Picture, Director, Adapted Screenplay, Color Cinematography, Color Costume Design, Color Art Direction, Adapted Music Score, Sound

Mary Poppins

Production

Walt Disney. Director Robert Stevenson; Producer Walt Disney; Screenplay Bill Walsh, Don Da Gradi; Camera Edward Colman; Editor Cotton Warburton; Music Irwin Kostal (sup.); Art Director Carroll Clark, William H. Tuntke, Tony Walton

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1964. Running time: 140 MIN.

With

Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke David Tomlinson Glynis Johns Hermione Baddeley Ed Wynne
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