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