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A BEHIND THE SCENES LOOK AT THE AWARD WINNING FILM


Copyright Š Laura Leigh Kinley All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored ina database or retrival system without the prior written permission of the publisher. Java Publications 11 Pine Aveune Portland, Oregon 14558 www.javapublications.com ISBN 374-0-30-289327-9 ISBN 374-0-30-241371-0 For educational use only.


the musical PUBLISHER Alli Strunk

ART DIRECTION Charissa Schwenig

PRODUCERS Kat Kinley Christopher Kinley

MODELS Kassidy Rineer Josh Onderdonk

WRITER Kassidy Rineer

PHOTOGRAPHERS Bekah Smith Grace Weikert

EDITOR Michael Kinley DESIGNER & ILLUSTRATOR Laura Leigh Kinley


ary Poppins is the story of the Banks family who live in a big house in London on Cherry Lane. Things are not going well for the family, the children, Jane and Michael, are out of control and are in need of a new nanny. Jane and Michael have their own ideas about what sort of caretaker they should have, while their parents—and in particular Mr. Banks—are insistent on someone strict for the job. When a mysterious young woman named Mary Poppins appears at their doorstep, the family finds that she’s the answer to their prayers, but in the most peculiar way. Mary Poppins takes the children on many magical and memorable adventures, but Jane and Michael aren’t the only ones she has a profound effect upon. Even grown-ups can learn a lesson or two from the nanny who advises that “anything can happen if you let it.”


y r a M , s n i p p o P

Y L L A C I PRAC T

T T C C E E F F R R E E P P in

Y R E EV AY W


Mary Poppins was made into a film based on the first four books in the series by Walt Disney Productions in 1964. According to the 40th anniversary DVD release of the film in 2004, Walt 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 and did not want an animated cartoon based on it. The books had been a favourite of Disney’s daughters when they were children, and he finally succeeded in purchasing the rights in 1961.

T

he relationship between Travers and Disney is

for Best Original Song (“Chim Chim Cher-ee”), Best Film Editing, Best

detailed in Mary Poppins She Wrote, a biography

Visual Effects and Best Original Score. The movie takes place in the year

of Travers, by Valerie Lawson, published by Aurum

1910, probably in the fall season. The trees are at full bloom in glorious

Press in the United Kingdom. The relationship is also the subject of the

2013 Disney film Saving Mr. Banks, starring Emma Thompson as Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney.

colors, almost as if it were a magical neighborhood. Mary Poppins, the first book in the series of eight children’s stories written by P. L. Travers and published between 1934 and 1988. Julie

The process of planning the film and composing the songs took about

Andrews won an Academy Award for her portrayal of Mary Poppins,

two years. Songs in the film are by the Sherman Brothers. Mary Poppins

the magical English nanny, in the musical film Mary Poppins (1964).

is played by British actress Julie Andrews. Disney cast Dick Van Dyke

The 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks depicts Travers’ relationship with Walt

in the key supporting role of Bert, while Banks children were played by

Disney during the making of the classic 1964 film.

Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber. George and Winifred Banks were played by David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns. The film features a mix of adventures and episodes taken from each of the existing novels, and new events, created for it. In notable differences from the original novels, the film does not include the characters John, Barbara or Annabel Banks, and has Mary Poppins herself characterised as noticeably kinder towards everyone she meets on her journey.

The Banks children—Jane and Michael, and twin babies John and Barbara—live at 17 Cherry Tree Lane with their parents. When their nanny leaves, her replacement arrives from the clouds one evening borne on the east wind via a parrot-headed umbrella. What follows is a series of magical adventures, some exciting, some just plain silly: from flying round the Earth in a minute to having tea bouncing round on the ceiling and jumping into chalk drawings. The Mary Poppins of the book, however, is not like Julie Andrews in the Disney version: she is vain and sometimes irritable and very unlikely to sweeten medicine with a spoonful of sugar as in the film. But she is

The film received widespread acclaim from critics and audiences,

also magical, and within her stern exterior lurks all kinds of delightful

and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture with

nonsense. She can slide up banisters, float in the air, befriend almost

Julie Andrews winning the Academy Award for Best Actress for her

anyone as she is kind and caring, step into pictures, stick stars on the sky,

performance as Mary Poppins. The film won an additional four Oscars

talk to animals, and make cows dance.


H

owever, Mary firmly believes in good behaviour:

the dog. Mary Poppins talked to the birds. She flew in and out with the

disobedience causes nasty results, including one

wind. And there were new adventures. The children wake up at night to

of the children being turned into the decoration

see Mary Poppins gluing to the sky the star papers their gingerbread

on a plate. The children, nonetheless, adore her: she is not distant and

had been wrapped in. They children wake up at night and go to the

neglectful like their parents; they know that she will not let them down;

zoo, where all the animals are free and humans are in the cages. Mary

they feel safe and secure within the caring discipline that she brings

Poppins takes them around the world instantly with a magical compass

to their lives, and she is exciting to be with. When Mary’s birthday

(politically incorrect, as has been debated time and again). Mary

coincides with a full Moon, the children dream that they visit the zoo, and

Poppins tells them fantastic stories about dancing cows. Mary Poppins

the cages are full of people while the animals wander around looking at

takes them to feed the bird woman (with their tuppence). Mary Poppins

them—to adults, this is an absurd idea, but it is one that children relate to.

takes them shopping with a star. If you can’t tell, some of these new

Travers’ sly mocking of the way the British middle classes brought up their

adventures were rather odd. Weird. Mary Poppins is a weird star-lady.

children is as appealing today as when it was first written. Composed

But my main problem with the novel Mary Poppins is that Mary is mean

more than 80 years ago, the book’s attitude towards various minorities

and cranky. She does not seem to care about the children at all, or at

will be appalling to contemporary readers, and some modern versions

least it seems. Take a look at this quote:

have had the offending section removed.

“All day long Mary Poppins had been in a hurry, and when she was in a hurry she was always cross. Everything Jane did was bad, everything Michael did was worse. She even snapped at the twins.”

Traver’s Mary Poppins was far from the lovingly-stern nanny Disney

The meanest thing Mary Poppins did in both the book and the movie

created. She seemed, basically, mean and unfeeling. The adventures

was leave. But it was infinitely worse in the book. In the movie, she told

she had with the children were odd, but they lacked the sense of fun

them she was leaving when the wind changed; Jane and Michael cried

that the movie created for me. While the book had four Banks children

as she packed. Then, the children rushed off with their father, forgetting

(twins John and Barbara are the youngest), the two youngest were not

to say goodbye. Mary is sad, but knows it is how it should be. In the

a part of the adventures. In fact, even the two oldest children missed

book, the children know she is leaving when the wind changes. They

some adventures. The adventure in the pavement picture? That was Mary

worry, but then she says, “Now I’m just going to take the shoes down…

Poppins and Bert on Mary’s day off. That also was the only mention of

Behave yourselves, please, till I come back.” And then Mary Poppins

Bert in the book; he didn’t figure in to the other adventures.

leaves and never comes back (in this book).

There were some favorite stories that were missing. There was no “tiding

I think, for a young child, that is the most horrible thing she could do. To

up the nursery”; there was no dancing on the rooftops. There was no

leave not just without saying goodbye but without giving any indication

winning the horse race and singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

that she’s actually going?! I absolutely hated it. I think children would

(Ha! That’s actually in my spell checker!). Maybe those were in the

worry that people they love might never come back when they leave.

sequels, but they weren’t in this novel.

It’s true that in the movie, Mary Poppins is rather distant and “cold.”

Some of the familiar adventures from the movie were in the book. The

She’s also quite vain and self-concerned. But we can all tell that she still

children did watch Mary Poppins slide up the banister. They had a tea

loves the children. In the end, it’s the children who have run off without

party on the ceiling with Uncle Albert. Mary Poppins talked to Andrew,

saying goodbye. They choose to move beyond the entertainment of


Mary Poppins. But that leads me to the last point. The movie had an underlying plot, while the book didn’t. In the movie, Mary Poppins comes to save the family relationship, to help the father learn to love his children and cherish them. In the book, the father is mostly absent. Mary Poppins appears to be entertainment for the children, and that is all. The novel lacked any cohesive point that made it feel like a worthwhile read.

Ironically, P.L. Travers was quite hesitant to team with Disney to make a movie in the first place. According to Wikipedia, she had lots of input into the script. I have to say, the script writers did a wonderful job and making the premise of a good story into a marvelous one. And Julie Andrews, as Mary Poppins, surely helped it along. In the end, much to P.L. Travers’ disappointment, I’m sure, I found Mary Poppins the novel to be less than mediocre. It’s not often that a movie out-performs a book, but this is one of them. That said, after reading the novel, it was fun to watch the movie again: some of the characters in the novel become only minor characters in the movie. There is a relation between the two, but I’ll stick with the movie in the long run. ◊


Mary A quintessential English nanny, Mary Poppins is a slightly stern but caring woman, who uses magic and self-control to take care of the Banks children. She is usually identifiable by her sensible hat and parrot umbrella which she brings with her wherever she goes on outings. She is kind towards the children, but can be firm when needed. She is “practically perfect in every way.”

Appearance:

Occupation:

rosy cheeks, blue eyes, slender, brown hair, fair skin

nanny

Personality:

Hidden talent:

extrovert, sensible, proper, charming, pleasant, magical

can fly on demand

Biggest pet peeve:

Favorite food:

strawberry ice, cake, tea, rum punch

disorder, bad posture, silliness

:

uotes

us q Famo

lain

r exp e v e n I “

g!” anythin

“Oh,

“Spit spot!”

I mak e to th e poin t of ne A ver y oldver gi ving r fashio eferen ned id ces. ea to my mi nd.”


BERT Bert is a jack-of-all-trades with a Cockney accent. He never stays with one trade too long and adapts to current conditions. He is a long time friend of Mary Poppins, though their relationship is noted to be strictly platonic. He is incredibly energetic and easygoing, never losing his temper or raising his voice with anyone at all and always looking on the bright side.

Occupation:

Appearance:

jack-of-all-trades (one-man band, chimney sweep, kite merchant, street artist)

slendor, black hair, blue eyes

Personality:

Hidden talent: dancer

extrovert, spontaneous, happy-go-lucky, friendly, loyal, jaunty, artistic, optimistic

Biggest pet peeve:

Favorite food:

not doing anything, sadness

sweet treats

Famous quotes: “Chim-chiminey, chim-chiminey,

chim chim cheree!”

“Othe r nann ies tak When e child you’re ren to w ith Ma the pa you’re r y Pop rk! in plac pins, s es you udden never ly dream ed of!”

“Step in time!” ar y!”

jo “It’s a

lly ho

ith M liday w


Jane On one hand, Jane can be kind, friendly, and caring. On the other hand, it is implied that she, along with her brother, Michael, can be very mischievous. By the time of the film’s opening, they had gone through six nannies in the past four months. They try to please their father (whom they address as simply “Father” throughout the film) but have often failed, leading to some insecurity.

Appearance:

Can be described as:

small, slender, blue eyes, blonde hair

mischevious, giggly

Personality:

Hidden talent: writer & singer

extrovert, kind, playful, giggly, innocent, beautiful

Biggest pet peeve:

Favorite food:

tidying up room, being serious

Raspberry Cordial

Famous quotes:

“Mary Poppins!

Is that your nam

y “This is a game, right Mar

e? It’s lovely!”

Poppins?”


Michael Like Jane, Michael had possessed a naughty streak which caused the resignation of 6 nannies in four months. However, upon Mary Poppins’ arrival, it appears that he isn’t as bad as is said. The tape measure describes him as extremely stubborn and suspicious. He also seems to be friendly and playful. At the beginning of the film, he is distant from both his parents.

Can be described as: stubborn

Hidden talent:

Appearance:

small, slendor, blue eyes, brown hair

Personality:

loves to laugh

introvert, playful, suspicious

Biggest pet peeve:

Favorite food: Strawberries

seriousness

Famous quotes:

“I told you she was tricky!

na!”

k, guv’ c u l d o o “G


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