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Mary Poppins (1964)

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When my family first got a VCR, MARY POPPINS (1964) was the only video we had for months. My sisters and I watched it over and over again and, even today, can probably collectively recite it. (I know we know all the words to all the songs.) We didn't just watch it because it was all we had though. We watched it (and continue to watch it) because it's an all-around great film. Nominated for thirteen Academy Awards (a record for movie musicals), MARY POPPINS' mixture of live action and animation as well as its memorable songs make it a thoroughly entertaining movie spectacle, and the host of memorable performances by a host of veteran character actors alongside Julie Andrews's Oscar-winning performance as the title character only contribute to the fun. To sum it all up in that one word -- "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"

Jane and Michael Banks

Growing up in London in 1910, the Banks children, Jane and Michael (played by Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber, at right) need a nanny, and they write an advertisement to put in The Times stipulating that she must "have a cheery disposition. Rosy cheeks, no warts. Play games, all sorts." Of course when she arrives, the games Mary Poppins has in mind are not at all what the children expected, but are nonetheless "extremely diverting." They begin with Well Begun is Half Done -- otherwise entitled "Let's tidy up the nursery."  Though less than enthusiastic about it at first, Jane and Michael soon discover that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.

Video Clips:

Click here "Tidying up the nursery" (a .MOV file courtesy The Walt Disney Company).
Click here "Highlights from MARY POPPINS, including 'A Spoonful of Sugar'" (a .MOV file courtesy the Walt Disney Company).

(For help opening these files, visit the plug-ins page.)

Into the chalk pavement picture

After their fun tidying up the nursery, one of their next adventures involves popping into a chalk pavement picture drawn by Bert (Dick Van Dyke), an old friend of Mary Poppins.

Think, wink, and double-blink? Close your eyes and jump? Of course not! "Bert, what utter nonsense! Why do you always complicate things that are really quite simple?" 1-2-3 is most sufficient.

(Two of MARY POPPINS' six Academy Awards went to the film's technical crew for its outstanding work bringing the story's magic to the screen.  The movie won Oscars for Best Film Editing and Best Visual Effects.)

Memorable Quotations:

  • "Practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking." --Mary Poppins.
  • "Kindly do not attempt to cloud the issue with facts." -- Mr. Banks.
  • "Sacked! Certainly not! I am never sacked." --Mary Poppins.
  • Click here"I'm sure I haven't the faintest idea what you're talking about." --Mary Poppins (a .WAV file).
Mary and Bert enjoy a jolly holiday

Bert enjoys a "Jolly Holiday with Mary" in the chalk pavement picture, and after tea, they join the children at the carousel.  This is no ordinary carousel however, and rather than going round in circles, the four quickly find themselves riding over the countryside.

Mary Poppins even joins a horse race, and upon winning it, is interviewed about how such an accomplishment makes her feel.  Her answer? "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!"

Mary and Bert dance

Multimedia Clips:

Click here "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!" (clip) (a .AU file courtesy Rhino Records).
Click here "Highlights from MARY POPPINS, including 'Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious'" (a .MOV file courtesy the Walt Disney Company).
Click here "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (a .MOV file courtesy The Walt Disney Company).

(For help opening these files, visit the plug-ins page.)

(Though already an acclaimed Broadway actress, Julie Andrews had never made a movie before Walt Disney chose her to play Mary Poppins in his adaptation of P.L. Travers famous children's books.  Inexperience aside, Andrews captured both the character's stern authority and maternal warmth and won a Best Actress Oscar for this, her screen debut performance.)

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Last updated: June 21, 2010.
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