What’s old is new again. The 45th anniversary of “Mary Poppins” returns as a two-disc DVD edition and remains the exact same collection as the 40th anniversary package Disney put together four years earlier, save for one new wrinkle: An hourlong-plus set of extras about the Disney on Broadway production.
A stylishly produced 48-minute featurette takes viewers through the origins of the tuner and includes interviews with nearly everyone involved. Intercut throughout, legit performers Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee share a spirited chat with Thomas Schumacher, Disney Theatrical Prods. topper, and the discussion is informative. Just for fun, near the conclusion of the piece, Brown’s dog, Eddie, makes a cameo and sings along with the starlet.
“Step in Time,” a musical number from the play, is presented and an audio version is available to download.
But for all the other bonus features — the commentary featuring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke among others, the two behind-the-scenes features, the newsreel of the film’s premiere, the animated short film “The Cat That Looked at a King” and even the art galleries and trailers — are identical to the 2004 release. If viewers don’t have that collection, this is a wonderful addition to a cinematic library of classics, but if that’s already on the shelves, the Broadway production footage isn’t enough to warrant another purchase.
Can we expect to see the same features with all-new packaging for the 50th anniversary edition in 2014? Most likely. Will it be supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? Hardly.