'Mary Poppins' from Disney Studios in 1964 was a groundbreaking film in many ways. Not only did it successful blend both live action and animation in new and exciting ways, it also featured a top notch stellar cast of old pros and extremely talented newcomers (many of whom we would soon be seeing LOTS more of) and the beautiful original music by the Sherman Brothers, the greatest songwriters that ever worked for Disney. With the songs sung by one of most beautiful voices of all time, the great Julie Andrews, Mary Poppins is entertainment at it's best.
While created primarily as a 'Family Film' there is something about 'Mary Poppins' that resonates with ALL age groups and speaks to me differently now at age 59 than when I first saw it in 1964 at the Northgate Cinema in Seattle. It is fun for the entire family and has plenty of Re-Watch-ability built right in.
With that said, this review will be focusing on the video and audio portions of the Blu ray presentation, and not the film itself.
'Mary Poppins" looks REALLY GOOD on Blu Ray. It is not perfect and simply can not be due to the sheer amount of old school optical effects that are achieved at the expense of both clarity and perceived picture resolution. I honestly did not except too much from this transfer and was happily surprised throughout the presentation.
I really must say that the work that went into this transfer must have been enormous. Almost all the dirt and debris has been cleared way along with print damage like scratches, etc. Color timing looks very good, perhaps the color saturation level is just a bit on the light side of things, but overall it is very natural looking. Contrast and Brightness levels are very good and the film looks spectacular in motion. Nice and smooth.....
The problem areas of this transfer all revolve around the special effects of the time which were mostly achieved optically, by printing multiple layers of negative onto a composite piece of film. By the time all the elements are inserted and printed, you might be looking at 4 or 5 generations and you have lost clarity with each one.
I was frankly shocked by how well Disney has handled this title. I was not expecting things to turn out as well as they did. However......... You can pretty much guess each time the film will dissolve (fade) into another scene as you are then at at least 2 layers and things will be noticeably "blurrier". Also, during much of the animation scenes with the human actors, you will notice the rotoscoping around the live actors and at times it is sloppy looking. This is NOT from the current Blu Ray transfer, but from the original effects process. Honestly, the film has been polished and cleaned up to the point where it only really slips badly visually a few times. For me, the worst looking segment was during the room cleaning sequence. Not ALL of it, just parts. If you have a critical eye, you will notice the weak spots immediately but soon realize they are perfectly acceptable within the framework of the full movie. MOST of it is great so there is enough wiggle room for those rather weaker looking moments.
No overuse of edge enhancement/sharpening or DNR can be seen. Technically this is a top notch transfer. Decent bit rate and no visible encoding artifacts that I could spot. Hats off to the team that accomplished this!
Still, I am truly only mentioning all this for those who buy the disc and then are bitterly disappointed that 'Mary Poppins" doesn't look "Perfect" on Blu Ray. The simple reason is IT CAN'T look perfect since it never WAS perfect. But Marty G is saying right now that this is the VERY BEST he has ever seen 'Mary Poppins" look on home video.
ON a scale of 1 to 5, I would say the Video quality 'Mary Poppins" is an average of 3.3/4 and at time hits 4.5 while at other times sinks down to perhaps 3.0. The visuals aren't all that consistent at times, but only someone who is really looking for it will notice it much.
OK, so the picture is pretty darn good, how about the sound?
The audio on 'Mary Poppins" is where this disc REALLY shines. The musical numbers especially just come to life in DTS HD-Master Audio 7.1 Surround. I was disappointed that the original Stereo mix is only presented in Dolby Digital but the re-purposed surround mix is quite good and I went with it. Decent surround activity and even some sub involvement, this is a lively mix that belies the age of the source elements. Nice job!
The original production sound lacks a bit in the dialogue department. Oh , you can hear everything, but it at times has a weak and canned sound to it. The techniques and limitations of the day are to blame I am sure. The music itself is wonderfully reproduced as are all the vocals. Foley and Ambient effects are nicely mixed to take advantage of the surround format and I found myself quite satisfied with the audio on this Blu ray disc.
Special features abound on this disc and the Supplements are quite extensive. Most are in SD, while a few are at least in wide screen with a 14 minute HD quasi-commercial (basically) for the new 'Saving Mr. Banks' film. Honestly though, the special feature are so numerous I don't have the time or space to write about all of them. Basically,. They are for the most part quite good and will interest all who love the film to begin with. Just the movie alone on Blu Ray is well worth the price, but the addition of this plethora of extras puts the icing right on top of the cake. Yes, you guessed it, they are Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious !! I had to say that once! (sorry)
'Mary Poppins' is a true classic that will entertain and delight for many years to come. This Blu Ray presentation gives you the very best rendering of both the video and audio available. While not perfect, it is a great film with a very ambitious Blu Ray transfer that SHOULD delight most fans. Looks very good, sounds even better! I had a huge smile on my face all during the screening. It's an amazing achievement!
Highly recommended by ME, Marty G!
on January 4, 2009
Is there really much new to say about this classic Disney film that helped launch the movie career of Julie Andrews? Probably not, but for the handful of people who haven't seen this film, this DVD is a must-buy. Strangely enough, Disney is not releasing a Blu-ray version just yet, so this edition will have to tide over video buffs until that occurs. The 1964 classic is based on the books of P. L. Travers, with a few Disney liberties thrown in. Travers' nanny, Mary Poppins, is somewhat more harsh and unpleasant in the books than in the film version. However, it is obvious that she is hiding a heart of gold inside and that she truly does love the children she takes care. Two of the children did not make the transition from the book, but they are definitely not missed. Julie Andrews is able to bring out the many facets of Mary Poppins without compromising the character, and of course her voice is legendary. The Sherman Brothers whipped up some of their most memorable tunes including "Jolly Holiday," "Spoonful of Sugar," and "Let's Go Fly a Kite."
In a nutshell, the story is about a magical nanny who swoops in to take care of the Banks children, Jane & Michael, and also help their father realize what he is missing by ignoring them the way that he does. Along the way she treats the children to adventures with a street performer/chimney sweep, Bert (Dick Van Dyke) as well as her Uncle Albert (Ed Wynn) who loves to laugh. One of the most memorable and touching sequences is the "Feed the Birds" numbers, with veteran actress Jane Darwell making her final screen appearance. One of Walt Disney's favorite songs, it is sure to bring a tear to many eyes.
For those that have Mary Poppins (40th Anniversary Edition), here's what's missing on this edition:
* Deconstruction of a Scene: Jolly Holiday & Step in Time sequences are examined thoroughly.
* "I Love to Laugh" Game (not a big deal for me!)
Here are the extras that ARE included:
* Disney on Broadway (All New to DVD)
- "Mary Poppins from Page to Stage": The story of Mary Poppins from book to Broadway as the creative team and cast prepare to take the long running show on tour. A very well-done documentary on the stage production of "Mary Poppins," detailing almost every aspect of the production that began in London. Especially interesting is how P.L. Travers did not want any "Americans" involved in the stage production, as she was truly not happy with what Disney did with her books. This feature takes you all over the globe: interviews with the 2 leads are held in NYC at Sardi's restaurant; an interview with one of the Sherman Brothers is filmed in Beverly Hills; interviews with the stage productions composers George Stiles & Anthony Drewe are held in England (they did a fantastic job of blending their compositions seamlessly with the Sherman Brothers' songs from the film). You'll also hear from Bob Crowley, the scenic and costume designer, detailing how he came up with the sets (inspired by the book's illustrations) and changes he made for the touring production. All in all, a very fascinating extra!
- "Step in Time": The Broadway cast of Mary Poppins performs the number "Step in Time" from the show. This is a nice glimpse into the stage production. Although it doesn't quite have the pizzazz of the filmed number (what a tough act to follow), the choreography, sets, and costumes work together to create a fantastic production. Especially effective is the use of costumes and make-up to create the illusion of the chimney sweeps are in black and white, making Mary Poppins in her red dress stand out even more.
- Step in Time - Downloadable MP3 featuring the Broadway cast of Mary Poppins singing "Step in Time," featuring Ashley Brown as Mary Poppins and Gavin Lee as Bert.
- Video Intro By Scenic & Costume Designer, Bob Crowley
- Bob Crowley's Design Galleries: Concept art, costume designs, set designs and set models for the Broadway musical
* Audio Commentary: with stars Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice and songwriter Richard Sherman. There are a few archival comments included from Walt Disney and others. Fantastic track that really adds to the enjoyment of the film. Especially interesting is the "Feed the Birds" number, where Sherman talks about Mary Poppins instilling social responsibility into the children by planting the idea of feeding the birds with tuppence, thus setting off the important string of events at the end of the film. It is refreshing to hear that so many years later, both Andrews & Van Dyke (as well as Dotrice) still have a fondness for this film and the experience of making it.
* Poppins Pop-Up Fun Facts: View fun-filled facts about the creation of the movie during viewing. Mirrors some of the information from the commentary track, but still enjoyable to learn some of the behind-the-scenes info as you are watching the movie.
* "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins": The definitive behind-the- scenes look at how this unique and beloved film came into being.
* Movie Magic: A look at the special effect techniques used to bring the magical world of Mary Poppins to life. This one is interesting, but appears to be geared more towards the young ones and early teens. Doesn't really go very deep.
* The Gala World Premiere: Footage from the Red Carpet. What a feast this is; a few different rolls of film (mixing bw and color) have been edited together to recreate as much as possible of this magical evening. See Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Mary Tyler Moore, Ed Wynn, Cesar Romero, and so many more classic stars. Even Walt & his wife are on hand (it even appears that Walt is gently chastising the costumed Mickey character at one point).
* Dick Van Dyke Make-Up Test for his role of the elder Mr. Dawes. On the commentary track, Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks) admits that during filming, she was not told that Dick Van Dyke was playing the elder Mr. Dawes. She thought it was just some old smelly man who was close to death!
* Trailers, Ads and More from the Original Release and Reissue of the Film
* Mary Poppins Still Art Galleries
Music & More
* Disney's Song Selection: Sing along to "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and any of the film's other memorable songs as the lyrics pop up on screen. Each song can be selected separately or while watching the film.
* Magical Musical Reunion: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and songwriter Richard Sherman reminisce about making Mary Poppins and the music that makes it so special.
* A Musical Journey with Richard Sherman: A delightful magical journey through some of the film's locations with co-composer Richard Sherman, who reveals surprising secrets about the music of Mary Poppins along the way.
* Bonus Short: "The Cat That Looked at a King": Live action and animation based on a chapter from P.L. Travers' sequel "Mary Poppins Opens the Door." Julie Andrews hosts this short done in the style of the whimsical chalk drawings from the movie "Mary Poppins." Vocal talents of Sarah Ferguson, Tracey Ullman, and David Ogden Stiers.
* Deleted Song: "Chimpanzoo": A reconstruction of a song that did not appear in the movie using original storyboard and concept art, accompanied by a new rendition of the song performed by co- composer Richard Sherman. Personally, I agree with the deletion of this number!
Specs: Video is original aspect ration of 1:66:1, and audio is 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound with French & Spanish language tracks & subtitles. The picture, as in the 40th release, is fantastic. Colors bright, image sharp. The 5.1 mix is fantastic, especially during the musical numbers--all of your speakers will get full use! I read another review on here that only seemed to get front-speaker action, but I clearly heard music and effects loud and clear from my rear speakers, giving a very nice surround effect.
There are also sneak peaks into the next Tinker Bell installment as well as other upcoming DVD/Bluray releases (Monsters Inc and Pinocchio this Spring and Beverly Hills Chihuahua).
on November 25, 2004
Mary Poppins may be =the= stand-out live-action movie that Disney has ever produced. Or will ever produce.
All the songs are very memorable. Who out there does not find themselves humming or even singing along with the likes of "Chim-Chim-Cheree" or "Spoonful of Sugar"?
Julie Andrews will always be remembered for her role as Mary Poppins, and Dick Van Dyke absolutely shines as Bert the Chimney Sweep. Van Dyke also plays the senior officer of the bank - and has his very best scene where he realizes that the punchline - "A wooden leg named Smith" - is funny. Andrews won an Academy Award for Mary Poppins, and the movie also won Best Visual Effects, and Best Music Score, as well as Best Song ("Chim Chim Cher-ee").
The scene where "I love to laugh" is particularly poignant. Ed Wynn died not long after the release of Mary Poppins, and shows some of his best comedy style in this scene. Very laughable.
The story is top-notch and has a wonderful moral without being too "preachy". It was a very good adaptation from the original novel, and it's a shame Disney never did any of P L Traver's own sequels to Mary Poppins.
The animated bits are a little flat by today's standards, but they add a wonderful whimsey to a stellar production. Highly recommended to any family with children. A must-buy for Disney fans.
This is the far better, two-disc, 40th anniversary edition that not only restores everything to digital quality, but adds a second disc of deleted scenes (and a song!), commentary, and many other cool new features. Look for the new 40th anniversary DVD edition - it's worth waiting for!
It's just supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
on December 6, 2004
"Mary Poppins" is one of that select group of films that can truly be called 'Classic', a project conceived in love and filled with so much child-like wonder that it will never grow old or 'out-of-date'. Certainly the crowning achievement of Walt Disney's remarkable career, the "Mary Poppins" 40th Anniversary Special Edition is simply magnificent!
Based on P.L. Travers' tales of a magical nanny who arrives to bring families closer, the rights to the stories had been pursued by Disney since 1938, but Travers had seen what studios had done to other authors' works, and withheld her approval unless she could maintain some creative control. Years of negotiations only whetted Disney's desire to make a definitive, truly 'special' film, and by 1960, despite the box office failure of another fantasy-themed 'pet' project, "Darby O'Gill and the Little People", he was more confident than ever in the story's potential, bringing together a remarkable array of talent, including songwriting brothers Richard and Robert Sherman, production head Bill Walsh, and the brilliant artist Peter Ellenshaw to 'visualize' 1910 London through his matte paintings.
With Travers' grudging approval, casting began. While American stage and TV star Dick Van Dyke was an odd choice to play a Cockney chimneysweep, he was a gifted mime and physical comedian, and had such a wholesome exuberance that Disney knew British audiences would forgive his shaky accent. Popular British actors Glynis Johns and David Tomlinson would play the preoccupied parents, with Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber (from "The Three Lives of Thomasina") as the neglected children. Veteran stars Ed Wynn, Elsa Lanchester, Reginald Owen, Arthur Treacher, and Jane Darwell (as the Bird Woman, in her last screen appearance), headed the strong supporting cast.
But it was the casting of Julie Andrews, in her first film, as Mary Poppins, that truly 'made' the film! Passed over by Jack Warner for the movie version of her stage hit, "My Fair Lady" (he opted for Audrey Hepburn), Disney caught her performance in "Camelot" on Broadway, knew, instantly, that she was the right 'Mary', and approached her for the role. "But I'm pregnant," she told him. "No problem," he replied. "I'll wait!"
And thus a Classic was born!
A multiple 1964 Oscar winner (including 'Best Actress' for Andrews, who got to share the stage with her "Lady" costar, Rex Harrison, who won 'Best Actor'), the film was a major hit, worldwide, and quickly achieved the legendary status it holds today.
For it's 40th Anniversary, Disney's heirs have put together a spectacular package; along with the digitally-remastered film (it looks and sounds SUPERB!), a second disc of additional features includes a joyous reunion of stars Andrews and Van Dyke (who both seem ageless!); reminiscences of Robert Sherman, who sings a cute ditty cut from the final film; a fascinating 50-minute "behind-the-scenes" documentary about the production; featurettes on how the FX were achieved in several key scenes; and much, MUCH more! As the owner of several "Special Edition" Disney DVDs, I can honestly say, THIS is the BEST, yet!
With the holidays fast approaching, I can't think of a finer gift to give, or to get!
on February 13, 2003
In 1964, Walt Disney Pictures, under the directorship of Robert Stevenson, released what became a timeless, musical, fantasy called "Mary Poppins". Starring Julie Andrews as the mysterious & magical Mary Poppins, the film is a fictional account of a dysfunctional family living in London circa 1910. The father, George W. Banks (David Tomlinson, who played Emelius Browne in "Bedknobs and Broomsticks" in 1971), is obsessed with his job at a prestigious Fidelity Fiduciary Bank and with maintaining a professional atmosphere at all times at home. The mother, Winifred Banks (Glynis Johns, whose film career began in 1938), is preoccupied with demonstrating as a suffragette and maintaining a clean home. Their young children, Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber, who died at the young age of 21 in 1977), are allowed minimal time with their parents, who prefer to have a nanny look after and raise their children for them. Unfortunately, Jane and Michael rarely like any of their nannies, who regularly quit after the children do something mischievous to each of them. Also working for Mr. & Mrs. Banks are the maid Ellen (Hermione Baddeley, who played Mrs. Cratchit in the 1951 classic "Scrooge") and the cook Mrs. Brill (Reta Shaw, who played in "Pollyanna" in 1960 and "The Ghost & Mr. Chicken" in 1966), neither of which have the time or the desire to look after Jane and Michael.
Following the departure of yet another nanny, George decides to hire an appropriate nanny himself. Jane and Michael write their own advertisement for a nanny, but George regards their innocent description as rubbish as he intends to find a nanny that will uphold his every professional expectation. Mysteriously, the children's advertisement, that George tossed out, comes to Mary Poppins. When a very lengthy line of perspective nannies are seen at the Banks' front door early one morning, all of them are blown away by a strong wind. Coming down from the sky via an umbrella is the magical Mary Poppins. Expecting a rush of perspective nannies to race through the door, only Mary Poppins waits to enter the Banks' home. George interviews Mary, but he is quickly confused by her wit and unexpectedly hires her. From that point on, nothing is quite the same in the Banks home and the children get a nanny that not only fulfills their expectations, but becomes something much more to them. Along the way, the children are also introduced to several interesting people, including the handyman Bert (Dick Van Dyke, who starred in his own 1961 TV show and starred in "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang"), Uncle Albert (Ed Wynn, who also played the toy-maker in "Babes in Toyland" in 1961) and the bird woman (Jane Darwell).
Many of the songs in the film are well known by people who have never seen the film, including:
* "Sister Suffragette" (4.5/5, Glynis John). Winifred calling for the rights of women to be able to vote.
* "The Life I Lead" (5/5, David Tomlinson). George describing his life and what a British home should be.
* "The Perfect Nanny" (4.5/5, Karen Dotrice & Matthew Garber). Jane & Michael telling what they want in a nanny to their parents.
* "A Spoonful of Sugar" (5/5, Julie Andrews). Mary encouraging the children to clean their rooms upon her arrival.
* "Pavement Artist (Chim-Chim-Cheree)" (5/5, Dick Van Dyke). Bert's carefree life.
* "Jolly Holiday" (4.5/5, Dick Van Dyke). Bert describing how wonderful it is to be with Mary Poppins again within the sidewalk chalk painting.
* "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" (5+/5, Julie Andrews & Dick Van Dyke). A word you use when you don't know what else to say.
* "Stay Awake" (5/5, Julie Andrews). A lullaby to Jane and Michael.
* "I Love To Laugh" (4.5/5, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Ed Wynn). Uncle Albert is visited who is suffering from incurable laughter.
* "A British Bank (The Life I Lead") (5/5, David Tomlinson & Julie Andrews). Mary telling George that he'll be taking the children to the bank with him.
* "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" (5/5, Julie Andrews). Mary describing the life of a poor woman who enjoys feeding birds.
* "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" (5/5, Dick Van Dyke and David Tomlinson) Mr. Dawes Sr. (also played by Dick Van Dyke), the CEO of George's bank, sings praises to the British banking system with George to Jane and Michael.
* "Chim-Chim-Cheree" (5/5, Dick Van Dyke). Bert describing the carefree life of chimney sweep.
* "Step in Time" (4/5, Dick Van Dyke). Song and dance upon the sooty rooftops of London.
* "A Man Has Dreams" (4.5/5 Dick Van Dyke and David Tomlinson) George singing his woes to Bert.
* "Let's Go Fly a Kite" (4.5/5, David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns). George & Winifred spending time with Jane and Michael.
It is not surprising that so many children and adults alike love "Mary Poppins". It's catchy songs and fantastic situations propel the audience into a magical world of laughter and love that can be watched many times while never becoming tiresome. It also made Julie Andrews a household name with her unforgettable performance as Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews went on to play leading roles in "The Americanization of Emily" (1964), "The Sound of Music" (1965), "10" (1979) and "Victor/Victoria" (1982).
I highly recommend the purchase of "Mary Poppins" on DVD, where it can be fully appreciated in its widescreen format. I rate this DVD with 5 out of 5 stars.
FIRST an important note: Amazon has a policy of grouping ALL reviews of ALL formats of a film together. This means that reviews posted five years ago are grouped in the 800+ reviews on now for this title. I always recommend that, when reading Amazon reviews, you 1) look at the product that the reviewer is commenting on (it’s listed) and also the date of the review. (You can sort by “newest first”. With that said, on to my review of the 50th Anniversary RESTORED Blu-ray Combo.
Disney repackagings it’s classic films about every 10 years for their “Anniversary Editions”. They usually add a new “special feature” or two and repeat the ones from prior editions. For the first Blu-ray release of MP they went the extra step and digitally remastered the film. They did an amazing job on it and, even on a basic HD flat screen TV – the images are super sharp and the colors brilliant.
There were two reasons to release this “Special Edition” now (three, if you consider that it’s Christmas gift time). One is the 50th anniversary of the film’s release (which is stretching it a bit since the 50th won’t come until next year (2014). The other is the December 2013 release of the Disney feature film “Saving Mr. Banks” about the making of MP. And, trust me, Disney did not miss this opportunity to cross-market both films. The “Exciting New Content” on this 2013 package includes “Becoming Mr. Sherman” an new 11-minute featurette with actor Jason Schwartzman (who plays composer Richard Sherman in SMB) chatting with the real Richard Sherman. I can already see this being a “bonus” on the SMB DVD when it is released in 2014. This is followed by the 2 1/2 –minute “trailer” for SMB. The other “Exciting New Content” is the “Mary-oke” which shows the animated lyrics to four songs on the screen so you can sing along.
All the other bonues (and there are many) are carried over from prior editions and titled “Classic Bonuses”. These include a 48 minute feature on bringing MP to Broadway (with the full 7-minute production number of “Step In Time”), a 50-minute “Making of” the film featurette, A 9-minute Pl> Travers story told by Julie Andrews and a full length commentary with Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman. Considering that the film runs 2 ¼ hours, this means that there is over SEVEN-HOURS (!) of entertainment on this BD.
You may already own a copy of the earlier edition and not need the “Classic Bonuses” again. And the “Becoming Mr. Sherman” bonus is really an infomercial for SMB (which I’m looking forward to seeing next week), but if you have a Bluray player, I feel it’s worth upgrading to this new edition, if only to enjoy the new crisp images from the latest restoration. (Then give your older edition to someone who has yet to experience the magic of this film.)
I’ll end by saying that the film is not just for children. There are moments of humor that only an adult will notice and – until I watched it again yesterday – I didn’t realize how little dialogue there is in the film; it’s mostly songs and production numbers! This film is not only timeless, but ageless too.
I hope you found this review both informative and helpful!
A fantastic and magical family film, "Mary Poppins" continues to be a Disney classic that would win five Academy Awards and would be remembered for being a film that combined Disney's cartoon animation and real characters, the film debut of Julie Andrews but most of all, the spectacular chemistry and musical dance numbers featuring songs that continue to be classics.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
Mary Poppins was digitally restored and remastered in this 45th Anniversary Special Edition. Although an older film, the remastering does look good for a film of its time. Granted, I would love to see how this film would look on Blu-ray but for DVD, the video looks very good.
As for audio, the film's music and the dialogue comes out quite clear on my home theater. Audio is presented in either Dolby Digital 5.1 or Original 2.0 Theatrical Mix. The film sounds wonderful via Dolby Digital 5.1. Music really comes alive but I didn't really notice all channels being utilized for those who were wondering but I did notice certain instruments being used in my front left and right channels of my stereo system which was nice. But this is pretty much a dialogue and music-driven film and both come out quite clear.
This 45th Anniversary Edition of "Mary Poppins" is absolutely loaded with special features. Included are:
* Audio Commentary--Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice and Richard Sherman recall the making of Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke did a commentary one one day, Karen Dotrice (plays the daughter in the film) and film and songwriter, Richard Sherman did a commentary on the following day. Both commentaries are spliced together and done quite well. What I found so fantastic is that Julie Andrews has not watched the complete film since the premiere back in 1964, so this was her first time watching it completely since then. And to hear these talents just commenting on different parts of the film and what they remember of doing those scenes was just nostalgic and informative. What a great commentary!
* Poppins Pop-Up Fun Facts--Select this option and fun-filled facts about the creation of this classic film pop up during viewing.
* Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins--The definitive behind-the-scenes. This 50+ minute featurette takes a look at how this unique and beloved film came into being. Featuring interviews with the cast and learning so much about the film. A great featurette.
* Movie Magic--A look at the special effect techniques used to bring the magical world of Mary Poppins to life. For 1964, to combine both animation and live action film together and create this magical world was a technical marvel. So, this featurette was also great to watch!
* The Gala World Premiere--Footage from the Red Carpet. This was aired on television as a one hour special but the footage had been lost. Several minutes (not the complete version) of the archived film of this premiere was found in two countries, a black and white version and color and it was pieced together to create the 17+ minutes of footage from the red carpet premiere.
* Dick Van Dyke Make-Up Test - How Dick Van Dyke was made to look like the very old bank owner with make up and all.
* Trailers, Ads and More from the Original Release and Reissue of the Film - From the original 1964 trailers, TV spots, Julie Andrews theater greetings and the re-issue trailers from 1974 and much more.
* Mary Poppins Still Art Galleries - A lot of art was created for this film. So, these are the still art galleries.
Music & More
* Disney's Song Selection--The whole family can sing along to "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and any of the film's other memorable songs as the lyrics pop up on screen. Each song can be selected separately or while watching the film.
* Magical Musical Reunion--Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and songwriter Richard Sherman reminisce about making Mary Poppins and the music that makes it so special. A fantastic featurette especially to see them sing once more. Fantastic!
* A Musical Journey with Richard Sherman --A delightful magical journey through some of the film's locations with co-composer Richard Sherman, who reveals surprising secrets about the music of Mary Poppins along the way. Another fantastic featurette with Richard Sherman revealing some tidbits about the songs used for the film and how Walt Disney reacted to some of the songs.
* The Cat That Looked at a King--Live action and animation bring a chapter of P.L. Travers' Mary Poppins Opens the Door to life! Julie Andrews takes viewers into a magical animated world created in the style of the whimsical chalk drawings in Mary Poppins. This segment is about 10 minutes long.
* "Chimpanzoo"--A reconstruction of a song that did not appear in the movie using original storyboard and concept art, accompanied by a new rendition of the song performed by co-composer Richard Sherman.
Backstage Disney: Disney on Broadway
* Mary Poppins from Page to Stage --First a beloved children's book, then a classic movie and now a smash hit Broadway musical! Fans can follow the story of Mary Poppins from page to stage as the creative team and cast discuss the creation of the musical production and preparations for the upcoming North American tour*.
* Step in Time--The Broadway cast of Mary Poppins performs the never-before-filmed number "Step in Time" from the show.
* Step in Time - A downloadable MP3 featuring the Broadway cast of Mary Poppins singing "Step in Time," featuring Ashley Brown as Mary Poppins and Gavin Lee as Bert.
* Video Intro By Scenic & Costume Designer, Bob Crowley
* Bob Crowley's Design Galleries--Concept art, costume designs, set designs and set models for the Broadway musical
"Mary Poppins" is definitely a true classic. The film was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar and eventually winning five academy awards for Best Actress, Film Editing, Music Score, Music Song for "Chim-Chim-Cheree" and Special Visual Effects".
It's hard to believe that in 1964, there were two major musicals being created "Mary Poppins" and "My Fair Lady", "My Fair Lady" which eventually went to Audrey Hepburn and "Mary Poppins" going to the unknown actress Julie Andrews. It was probably a blessing that Julie Andrews wasn't cast for "My Fair Lady" since "Mary Poppins" really jumpstarted Andrews career and eventually winning her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Of course, actor Dick van Dyke was popular with his television series "The Dick Van Dyke Show" but these two talents and their musical performance were well done. I was quite impressed by how both would nail their dances and have them in sync and Julie Andrews would comment how the most difficult part of the film was syncing their mouths to the song and making sure their foot would match for that moment.
This film back in 1964 introduced a family film with state of the art technology at that time. Real life actors working together with animated humans and animals, the actors flying around and most importantly, the music that came from this film. Classics such as "A Spoonful of Sugar", the award winning song "Chim-Chim-Cheree", "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" and "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)", to name a few. But what I discovered by watching the special feature was how important it was for Walt Disney.
"Mary Poppins" by P.L. Travers was created back in 1934 and for 20 years, Walt Disney would try unsuccessfully to get the rights for the film. But he eventually managed to and while on one hand, really making sure the cast and the staff were well taken care of, it was quite surprising to know how much P.L. Travers actually detested the film (she wanted the animation to be eliminated). So, there are interesting tidbits including audio that appears on the special features of Travers showing her discontent as an adviser to the film. So, you get to learn more about this through a featurette on the DVD. But it shows you how much Walt Disney really wanted "Mary Poppins" and how he tried so hard to get the rights to it. But you really learned how much love went into the creation of this film and how much Walt Disney wanted this film to be loved.
Just interesting details of how special he wanted this film, from giving people a chance such as signing Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman (the Sherman Brothers) to a contract to write and compose music for "Mary Poppins" (and future Disney films), casting an unknown Julie Andrews which Walt Disney loved her performance in "Camelot". Disney wanted her to be Mary Poppins and despite her being pregnant at the time, he waited for her until after she gave birth to become part of the film. Another tidbit was while meeting with Julie, Walt Disney met her husband at the time, Tony Walton (a costume and set designer) and eventually giving him a chance to work on "Mary Poppins" (who also eventually inspired the Sherman Brothers for the music of "Winnie the Pooh"). And my favorite tidbit, of Walt Disney casting well-known actress from the early 1900's Jane Darwell in the "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)" in what would be her final role, which was his way of giving her a special thank you to her for her accomplishments in film. These are just among the few interesting tidbits from behind-the-scenes that one will learn through the various featurettes included on the DVD.
As for the DVD version, there has been four previously released versions of "Mary Poppins" on DVD. When Disney released the 40th Anniversary "Mary Poppins" on DVD back in 2004, it was hard to imagine how Disney could top that with the 45th Anniversary edition. Surprisingly, Disney managed to pull of another spectacular release with the 45th Anniversary edition with even more special features than the original.
The new feature added to the 45th Anniversary edition of the DVD features the all-new "Mary Poppins: From Page to stage" which includes a fantastic documentary on the making of the Tony Award winning musical produced with Cameron Mackintosh. Despite P.L. Travers really disliking the Walt Disney film, "Mary Poppins" was eventually given a musical treatment after P.L. Travers gave Cameron Mackintosh the OK but of course with certain guidelines in her will and testament before her death.
The primary guideline was that a musical could be created with the understanding that only English born writers and no one from the original film production could be involved with the creative process of the musical. The musical was a great hit in the UK but when it came to doing the musical in the US, this is where things definitely gets interesting and Disney manages to create a lengthy featurette on the process of creating the musical in the US, also a featured performance of a "Step in Time", an opportunity for people to download the MP3 and also a chance for people to see Bob Crowley's designs for the musical.
The original film will always be magical and in the hearts of those who truly were captivated by it but this musical was amazingly done. The costumes, the stage setup, the designs, everything looked spectacular and sure enough, the musical received rave reviews in the US as well.
So, you really get all the fantastic special features from the 40th Anniversary including the bonus short animation "The Cat That Looked at a King" which stars Julie Andrews (and can be considered a short sequel) plus the new bonus features from the musical on this 45th Anniversary Edition.
Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment managed to successfully pull of another spectacular release for the 45th Anniversary Edition. This is the definitive version to own! Highly recommended.
on June 11, 2009
Mary Poppins is one of my all-time favorites. Is fantastic film that is perfect in every way. the actors are excellent, the animation superb and the songs are unique. five years ago, Disney released a 40th Anniversary Edition DVD with 2 discs. It was one of the best DVDs editions that Disney had released with everything that we need to know about the movie besides the fantastic restoration of the film.
This January, Disney released a 45th Anniversary Edition. While some people like me will think that was too soon for another re-release, Disney as usual, wants to gain more profits. This new DVD has the same picture and sound than the original. Nothing is shinier, crispier or anything. Is exactly the same. Disc one holds the same bonus material as the 40th Ann. Ed. Disc Two presents us Disney on Broadway, a bunch of featurettes that shows us the new Mary Poppins musical. This is completely a waste. We are concern about the movie itself not the musical so this is unnecessary. The other bonus materials are the same that the ones in the 40 Ann Ed. But, in order to put this Broadway featurerette, Disney dropped some good material about the movie that are encountered on the previous DVD. This material is: a game (not such a loss), the deconstruction of a scene featurette that was fun but most important of all, the Party where it shows the party after the preimiere of the film in 1964. What a shame that they dropped this extras to put things that have nothing to do with the film. So this is a very unnecessary DVD so my suggestion is don't buy it, and if you haven't bought Mary Poppins on DVD yet, buy the 40th Anniversary Edition which is still available and is the same price of this new Edition.
on November 12, 2001
I was nine years old when Walt Disney produced the first movie I remember being a "must see": Mary Poppins. After seeing it numerous times as a child, I bought the new DVD - thought I might enjoy seeing it again and sharing it with my nieces and nephews.
Mary Poppins retains the same magic and wonder that I remember experiencing as a child. She still remains this enigma - who was she really? Where did she come from? What was really going on between her and Bert? The movie answers none of these questions - it just lets them float in the air like it's magical heroine. And that's part of its charm. The film seems to live by Mary's maxim: "I never explain anything".
Technically - the film holds up as well, even in this age of digital everything. I was amazed to learn (in the "Making of" documentary that's included on the CD) that the film was shot entirely on the Disney soundstages in Burbank. They never went on location; they never even went outside. London is "painted in" in a series of beautiful matte glass paintings. (If I remember correctly, even today, it is the largest number of glass background paintings ever used in a film.)
Julie Andrews, of course, is "practically perfect in every way" as Mary - a much more idiosyncratic character than the governess she famously played in "Sound of Music" a year later. And that clear soprano voice - never showy, always in character - just lifts the film. Dick Van Dyke is wonderful as Bert - though accents are clearly not his strong suit. But as a comic, a mime, a singer and a dancer he is charming as the Jack-of-all-trades friend of Mary.
The DVD looks great. It's letterboxed - but it wasn't shot in wide screen format - so you don't loose much on your TV screen. The colors are snappy and true. There is a new "Making of" feature, produced especially for the DVD hosted by Dick Van Dyke and featuring interviews with Julie, and some of the other technical team that are still around. There is some great home movie footage of the chimney sweep dancers rehearsing "Step in Time" outside in the California heat stripped down to their skivvies.
The one thing on the DVD I do NOT appreciated is a long series of promos for other Disney video releases that you can't cancel out of easily and skip to the film. I think it's rather shameless forcing kids to sit through those commercials to see their favorite movie.
All in all - a beautiful presentation of a classic film that adults and children can enjoy together.
on August 17, 2000
This is probably one of Walt Disney's best films, if not the best. It is the most excellent realized combination of live action and animation. It contains eternal charm, wit, and magic as it introduces us to the "practically perfect" nanny who brings profound change to the Banks family of London in the early twentieth century. Every song composed by Richard and Robert Sherman is pure magic. The believable visual effects, the heartfelt scripting, and the solid performances by Julie Andrews and the heart rendering Dick Van Dyke are truly eternal. Every element of production came together at their zenith to create a treasure of cinematic endearment. The DVD is excellent. The supplemental material is very good and nostalgic. One of the best films ever made. The superb cast also includes: David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, Ed Wynn, Hermione Baddeley, Reginald Owen and Jane Darwell as The Bird Woman. Director, Robert Stevenson is at his best.