Mary Poppins

Name: Mary Poppins
Year: 1964
Rating: NR – Not Rated
Running Time (minutes): 139
Description: The movie combines a diverting story, songs, colour and sequences of live action blended with the movements of animated figures. Mary Poppins is a kind of Super-nanny who flies in with her umbrella in response to the request of the Banks children and proceeds to put things right with the aid of her rather extraordinary magical powers before flying off again.
Stars: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson
Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical

I didn’t expect it, but I’m not feeling supercalifragilisticexpialidocious at all. Just decided to watch this one because I was enchanted by the music of the Hunchback of Notre Dame and because it’s an important slice of culture, but this one was quite disappointing.

First, the children. Why do they need a nanny? They don’t misbehave! They only get annoying after Mary Poppins arrives. Their dad could raise them after work and their mother’s a suffragette. If she can throw eggs at the Prime Minister, surely she can manage two children who only occasionally act up? Also, has there ever been a more absurd portrayal of any suffragette in any film? Mr Banks only has to say her name and she becomes the most docile wife he could ever dream of. That’s not a woman who’s going to smash windows, let alone fight for political equality. Later, it is explained that the nanny is supposed to be more like a governess and teach them things, but at 1:52:00 into the story, Mary still doesn’t quite seem to have understood that and she’s possibly the most disruptive and useless nanny to have walked the streets of London because the children didn’t learn anything. At least Nanny McPhee gives them lessons. And Uncle Albert might love to laugh, but at that point I dearly would have liked to turn it off. Speaking of Albert, there’s something terribly wrong with that scene too: Mary is called in to sort him out, but all she does is pout and reproach, while any sensible, clear-headed woman would have gagged him, or at the very least, investigated the nursing home/asylum possibilities. The ‘It’s a Jolly ‘Oliday’ sequence is way too long, just like the chimney sequence. The ending is quite stupid too. In short, everything gets boring the moment Poppins arrives.

Now, the music and sound. The score is nice, but badly needs more violins and harp and less brass. Why did they think that trumpets and trombones could do everything in the 60s? Also, why does everyone sound like they’ve got a bad cold? Julie Andrews, on the other hand, was a joy to listen to: how I love her prrroper English. Mr Banks’ songs are consistently bad and Mrs Banks has a truly horrible voice. In the Simpsons parody episode, Bart and Lisa sing way better than these children. There are far too many songs in this movie as well. They totally worked in Hunchback, but this amount was just over the top.

It seems as though my Disney adventure isn’t going well at all, spoonsful of sugar or not. Spit-spot.