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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:

Backstage Disney

* 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).
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on January 22, 2014
The 2013 movie "Saving Mr. Banks" offers some insights into Walt Disney's difficult dealings with P.L. Travers, the deeply damaged and damaging, tortured and tormented author of the "Mary Poppins" books. As "Saving Mr. Banks" is a different movie, I won't go into it here. But, given Disney's prolonged difficulties with the prickly Mrs. Travers, it is a minor miracle that the movie "Mary Poppins" turned out to be an uplifting masterpiece, full of healing, hope and, yes, magic. Yes, Mrs. Travers HATED Disney and the movie. Well, Travers and her protestations be damned! The rest of the world embraced it. The 2013 Blu-Ray release looks Supercalifraglisticexalidocious, even though the Blu-Ray format and technology does reveal some of the movie-making magic tricks. But, fantasy does require a healthy, happy suspension of disbelief. And, after 50 years, "Mary Poppins" holds up remarkably well.
Mrs. Travers' "Mary Poppins" books are a whimsical collection of quaint and magical short stories. But those hoping, possibly demanding, for a literal adaptation are seriously deluded. The books have NO plot. Mary Poppins comes and goes arbitrarily. The screenplay by Don Degradi and Bill Walshe gives "Poppins" a plot and a purpose. There is definitely a reason for Mary Poppins to arrive and a reason for her to leave. In between her arrival and departure, there is a profound emotional journey for audiences of all ages.
True, there is more vinegar than sugar in Mrs. Travers' Mary Poppins. In a 1964 interview, Julie Andrews explained her approach to the character, "At first, I thought I would play Mary Poppins very stiff and exactly like the books. But that didn't seem very human... so I finally decided to mix a bit of warmth in with it." Apparently, Mrs. Travers was adverse to any suggestion of warmth whatsoever. As portrayed by Julie Andrews, Mary maintains her aura of enigmatic mystery. She is a nanny on a mission; with a no-nonsense demeanor, crisp and efficient, employing clever amounts of reverse psychology in her dealings with children and adults.
Mrs. Travers did vehemently object to Disney's casting of Dick Van Dyke as Poppins' platonic pal Bert. Her objections on this point are partially valid. As an American in a British cast, Van Dyke, with an awful Cokney accent, stands out as the only "non authentic" actor in the cast. Still, Van Dyke has excellent chemistry with Andrews, playing Bert with an appropriate sense of childlike enthusiasm and wonder. He is also excellent in the exuberant musical numbers by Robert and Richard Sherman. Perhaps to make up for his questionable casting as Cockney Bert, versatile Van Dyke also plays Mr. Dawes, the extremely elderly Senior Officer at the bank where Mr. Banks is employed.
Mary Poppins literally flies down into the Banks household, and just in time. The atmosphere is complete chaos since Katie Nanny (Elsa Lancaster) quit. Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns) seems a warm and loving mother, but she is preoccupied with her political involvement with the Suffergettes. She humorously tells her maid (Hermione Baddley) after returning home from a meeting, "Ellen, put these things away. You know how the cause infuriates Mr. Banks." Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson) is harried and weary from his job at the bank. Quickly employing herself as the new nanny, Mary Poppins and her friend Bert take Jane and Michael (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) on magical adventures; including a Jolly Holiday inside one of Bert's sidewalk chalk drawings, and a tea party on the ceiling with Mary's giggling Uncle Albert (Ed Wynn). Mr, Banks is infuriated to hear of this ridiculous nonsense. Using her trademark reverse psychology, Mary Poppins suggests that he take the children with him on a trip to the bank. This sets the events in motion that will save Mr. Banks, making him a real, emotionally connected father. Her mission accomplished, Mary Poppins flies away, in unsentimental fashion.
The movie was, and remains, an outstanding critical and commercial success; nominated for 13 Academy Awards; winning Best Special Effects, Best Song ("Chimm Chimm Cherrie") and Best Musical Score for Robert and Richard Sherman, and Best Actress for Julie Andrews. The only person who did not share in the success was Mrs. Travers, who never allowed herself to. Cold as ice and emotionally damaged and unreachable, Mrs. Travers always hated Disney and wouldn't allow a moment of happiness to shine through her embittered heart.
The Blu-Ray includes all The Special Features from previous DVD releases. The only section I do not like is the "Page To Stage" section; about the Broadway adaptation with Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee as Mary Poppins and Bert. Mary Poppins may also be in books and on stage. But the film remains Mary Poppins best and most magical medium; for only on film does Mary Poppins truly soar and fly into into all of our hearts.
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on March 12, 2004
...she's calling to you.
In my mind, this movie is the reason why Disney is great. The rest of them - however good many of them may be - don't hold a candle (on the water) to this wonderful Disney masterpiece. This is easily my favorite Disney movie ever and one of my favorite movies of all time.
One of the things I love most about this movie is the fact that there's plenty of entertainment here for children; but there's also a lot of humor for adults. So, when the children grow up, they can have just as much, if not more, appreciation for the film. I love the way the satire starts out. Mrs. Banks comes home from her Sister Suffragettes Rally, shouting and singing for women's rights and equality with men
("Though we adore men individually,
We agree that as a group
They're rather stupid.").
Then Mr. Banks comes home from work singing about the pleasures of being a man in this age in England:
"It's grand to be an Englishman in 1910.
King Edward's on the throne;
It's the age of men!
I'm the lord of my castle!
The sovereign!
The liege!"
I still love the thought of a house which sports a naval cannon deck on top. And I have to confess when I was a child I did try the finger snap to see if it would get my room clean. (It didn't work, so I just grew up in a messy room.)
The fantastic acting performances by Julie Andrews (who received the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress - back in the days when the person who won was usually the person who deserved to win), the children, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynnis Johns, Jane Darwell (though her part was very small), and the rest - cannot be overstated. I have already said that this is Disney's best film. Well, it is also boasts the finest acting ever in a Disney film.
I highly recommend purchasing this in the Widescreen format. You will see a lot more of the picture than in the standard format. Unfortunately, the widescreen version is out of print (you can still buy them used; that's how I got mine); and it looks like the standard version may also be going out of print soon. Hopefully, that means there will be a special deluxe edition with both formats, documentaries, commentaries, etc. coming out soon.
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VINE VOICEon January 4, 2014
I was always a Mary Poppins fan as a child, but thanks to the new Saving Mr. Banks movie I've been re-obsessing myself with her. To prepare myself for a full Mary Poppins experience, I read the original books, watched Saving Mr. Banks, and finally popped in the new Blu Ray transfer of this iconic movie. Combined, the grandeur of Mary Poppins had me in tears. There is something about her, both Disney's and Travers' versions of her, that embodies imagination and seems to be both the essence of jollity and the earnestness of tragedy. Having read the books, I understand why Travers did not want her Poppins to receive the Disney treatment, but unlike her, I believe the adaptation was a brilliant work of art that added dimension to the books rather than take them away.

As for the Blu Ray itself, I found the transfer to be exquisite. There's no question that the movie has never looked or sounded this fantastic on home media before. The half-animation half-live action sequences were even more magical than I remember as a child. I was afraid the added HD would reveal some of the '60s special effects, but actually they still boggle my mind even by today's standards. The soundtrack includes some of the best songs from any musical, ever.

OVERALL: The story and back-story of Mary Poppins is nearly as incredible as the film itself. It's a miracle the film was ever made, but were it not for Travers' disagreeable critiques and prolonged refusal to sell the rights, there's no doubt in my mind that the movie would not have been nearly as good as it was. The improved special effects, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, the Sherman Brothers, Walt himself, who must have realized that his own death wouldn't be far off - it was a symphony of extraordinary talent that happened to come together and create one of the masterpieces of cinema. And were it not for Poppins, it is unlikely that we would have Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music. For art lovers, all this history is positively juicy. If you've seen this movie before, even if it was years ago, I definitely recommend reading the books and watching Saving Mr. Banks before re-watching, but either way, Mary Poppins is a classic and will be cherished by everyone.
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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.
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on May 4, 2016
Previous review was negative because of pan and scan. turns out it was the failings of the Amazon Fire stick. movie is fine. Fire Stick sucks. it's in the garbage now.

****
review for the amazon digital version. The pan & scan Amazon uses to cut the film down results in faces cut in half while they are talking. the video quality is ok, but losing the important information in a frame is unforgivable. luckily Disney lets you watch a digital copy on any account you link to a Disney anywhere account and Google didn't cut faces in half.
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on November 7, 2001
This is great because it's in widescreen. The images are clear, the colours are bright, and this has the look of a restored version (or at least a good print). The R & R Sherman songs never date and you will find modern children all over England and America singing along to Chim Chim Cheree and A Spoonful Of Sugar just as their parents did. David Tomlinson is both stuffy and loveable as Mr Banks, and Glynis Johns is wonderfully scatty as his wife. The two children are probably the least irritating in cinema history and were something of a casting coup for Disney, when compared with the horrid child actors in most of their output. But it is Dick Van Dyke who makes the film the fun it is. You can imagine, say a Petula Clark or a Diana Rigg as Mary Poppins, but only Van Dyke could play Bert the way he does. Leave aside the dodgy accent, and you're left with a great song and dance man who could carry the film even without the co-stars. The one disappointment is that there aren't any extras on this disc (I don't call scene selection a feature!).
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on December 4, 2008
This 40th edition of MARY POPPINS is worth it! Of course the movie is gloriously restored and stuff and is a must have for anyone who loved the book and the movie.

The real prize is the second disc that features lots of extras like:

***1:32-Minute = Deleted song with story board "Chimpanzoo"

***17:20-Minute = Reunion with Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, & songwriter Richard Sherman

***20:50-Minute = Musical Journey w/Sherman explaining the process of writing the songs for MP with the Sherman brothers and includes some songs that weren't used in the movie

***50:40-Minute = The Making Of Mary Poppins with Andrews, Van Dyke, Sherman and others from the cast like Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks) and Karen Dotrice (Jane Banks) and others with audio recordings of suggestions from author P.L. Travers

***7:05-Minute = Movie magic featurette explaining the special effects and set design + animatronics used in MP

***13:00 & 4:50-Minutes Each = Deconstruction Of A Scene "Jolly Holiday" and "Step In Time" shows the composites of the live action shots plus the backgrounds for the two musical scenes

***1:00-Minute = Dick Van Dyke Make-up Test

***17:45-Minute = The Red Carpet Premiere from Grauman's Chinese Theater, with text intro explaining the television special of the event. Fun look at Hollywood in the swinging 60s with stars and glamour!

***6:25-Minute = Premiere After Party in the parking lot of Grauman's. However, the audio is from a radio broadcast but the footage is really cleaned up and pristine for being shot on a 16mm camera.

***9:35-Minute = Bonus Short "The Cat That Looked At A King" from Mary Poppins Opens the Door (Mary Poppins) with Julie Andrews and Tracey Ullman as the voice of the cat. This was done recently and is an animated short where Andrews and two children watch the story after jumping into the picture (like in the movie MP).

***Trailers, Still Gallery and a game

All those goodies make this 40th edition of "Mary Poppins" worth buying!
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon October 28, 2001
"Mary Poppins." Many film critics call it the best Walt Disney movie ever made... the crowning achievement from a studio that has brought us such timeless classics as "Fantasia," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," "Bambi," "Beauty and the Beast," and "The Lion King." For my money, Mary Poppins tops `em all! This fabulous musical comedy, starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, and Glynis Johns, and based on the best selling British children's books written by P.L. Travers, ranks as one of the two best children's movies ever made. (The other being "The Wizard of Oz.")

Where to begin? This is such an extraordinary movie!! It has everything that a great kid's movie should have: a wonderful story that teaches strong family values; a brilliant cast; absolutely stunning special effects (even by today's standards); and wonderful music. Here are just a few of the things I like best about "Mary Poppins:"

THE ACTING is absolutely brilliant! Julie Andrews won a Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Mary Poppins. She imbues her character with the reserve so prevalent in British society during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. At the same time, she manages to convey a wonderful sense of joy, kindness, and compassion toward the children. Dick Van Dyke is superb as the carefree chimney sweep ans jack-of-all-trades, Bert. His relaxed comic style is perfectly matched to his character. And, while his Cockney accent doesn't quite deliver the goods accurately, it's nevertheless pretty good. (By the way, look for Mr. Van Dyke in a secondary role in this film. I won't tell you which one... but it's unlikely you'll miss him!) David Tomlinson is the third stand-out member of this fabulous ensemble cast. He's practically perfect as the pompous, stuffy martinet of a father, George Banks. Other cast members are excellent as well, especially Glynis Johns as Winifred Banks; and Ed Wynn in his hilarious role as the laughing man, Uncle Albert.

THE WRITING: Screen writers Bill Walsh and Don Da Gradi adapted "Mary Poppins" from the series of British children's books authored by P.L. Travers (1899-1996) This is a tender story that addresses many family issues that were as problematic at the beginning of the twentieth century as they are today: responsibility, accountability, and the proper role of parents in the rearing of their children. In the Banks household, we find a family with many of the same problems that afflict today's families: two parents, each focused on their own interests, each so busy with their own lives that they have precious little time to forge and maintain loving bonds with their children. What are the possible consequences for the children? How can these problems be addressed and solved? The beauty of this story is that it's done in a way that's easy for kids, even younger ones (I'd say ages six and older) to understand and learn from.

THE MUSIC: All of the music and lyrics in "Mary Poppins" are original... composed by Richard Sherman and his brother Robert. This film has some of the best songs ever to appear in a movie! Each song is in itself a classic: "A Spoonful of Sugar;" "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious;" (I think that's how it's spelled!); "Feed the Birds" (my personal favorite); Academy Award-winning "Chim Chim Cher-ee;" "Step in Time;" and "Let's Go Fly a Kite" are but a few of the magical, sometimes whimsical, but always "practically perfect" songs that make this film such a wonderful musical experience.

And then there's THE MAGIC... the special effects! In its day, "Mary Poppins" was on the "cutting edge" of movie-making technology. Examples of these (what were then) ultra-modern special effects: this was one of the first films to use miniature robotics for animation. (That robin that lands on the window sill during "A Spoonful of Sugar" is a miniature robotic bird!) And, of course, this is also one of the first films to combine real-life actors and animation extensively (the entire sequence with Mary, Bert and the children inside the sidewalk chalk picture.) These special effects may seem a bit tame when compared with today's computer-generated graphics, but make no mistake: they're still eye-popping!

Go beyond all the glitz and glitter of the film, and you'll find at the heart of "Mary Poppins" a simple story about family, with important lessons for all of us - children and adults alike - on how we can make our homes better and happier places to live.

By today's standards, "Mary Poppins" may seem a little old-fashioned, even dated. But it's still a great kid's movie! With a well written, touching story, superb music, and outstanding special effects, it's at once brilliantly funny, poignant, joyous, carefree, and just plain marvelous entertainment. It earns my highest recommendation.
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on February 19, 2014
MARY POPPINS [1964/2013] [50th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Copy] Walt Disney’s Crowning Achievement! Celebrate The 50th Anniversary Of A Disney Classic!

‘Mary Poppins’ was released on 27th August, 1964 to universal acclaim. Released from the Walt Disney Vault in celebration of its 50th Anniversary Edition, this beloved classic shines like never before on Blu-ray with an all-new digital restoration. ‘Mary Poppins’ is a film experience your family will enjoy over and over again. “Practically Perfect In Every Way” Mary Poppins flies out of the windy London skies and into the home of two mischievous children. With the help of a carefree chimney sweep named Bert [Dick Van Dyke], the spirited nanny turns every chore into a game and every day into a “Jolly Holiday.” Share the music; share the magic, share the joy of ‘Mary Poppins’ with a whole new generation for the first time on Disney Blu-ray.

FILM FACT: Awards and Nominations: 1965 Academy Awards®: Win: Best Actress in a Leading Role for Dame Julie Andrews. Win: Best Film Editing for Cotton Warburton. Win: Best Visual Effects for Eustace Lycett, Hamilton Luske and Peter Ellenshaw. Win: Best Original Song "Chim Chim Cher-ee" for Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Win: Best Score for Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman. Nominated: Best Picture for Walt Disney and Bill Walsh. Nominated: Best Director for Robert Stevenson. Nominated: Best Adapted Screenplay for Don DaGradi and Bill Walsh. Nominated: Best Cinematography in Color for Edward Colman. Nominated: Best Art Direction in Color for Carroll Clark, Emile Kuri, Hal Gausman and William H. Tuntke. Nominated: Best Costume Design in Color for Tony Walton. Nominated: Best Sound Mixing for Robert O. Cook. Nominated: Best Adaptation or Treatment Score for Irwin Kostal. 1965 Golden Globe® Awards: Win: Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical or Comedy for Dame Julie Andrews. Nominated: Best Motion Picture in a Musical or Comedy for Bill Walsh, Robert Stevenson and Walt Disney. Nominated: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical or Comedy for Dick Van Dyke. Nominated: Best Original Score for Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman. 1965 Grammy Awards: Win: Best Recording for Children for David Tomlinson, Dame Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Ed Wynn, Glynis Johns, Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Win: Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or Television Show for Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. 1965 New York Film Critics Circle: Nominated: Best Actress for Dame Julie Andrews. 1965 Directors Guild of America Award: Nominated: Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Motion Pictures for Robert Stevenson. 1965 Writers Guild of America Award: Win: Best Written American Musical for Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." ‘Mary Poppins’ is widely considered to be one of the greatest films of all time and Walt Disney's "crowning achievement". It was the only film of Disney's to garner a "Best Picture" nomination at the Oscars in his lifetime.

Cast: Dame Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Reta Shaw, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, Reginald Owen, Ed Wynn, Jane Darwell, Arthur Malet, James Logan, Don Barclay, Alma Lawton, Marjorie Eaton, Marjorie Bennett, Andrew (Dog) (uncredited), Frank Baker (uncredited), Robert Banas (uncredited), Marc Breaux (voice) Art Bucaro (uncredited), Daws Butler (voice) (uncredited), Cyril Delevanti (uncredited), George DeNormand (uncredited), Harvey Evans (uncredited), Paul Frees (voice) (uncredited), Bill Lee (voice) (uncredited), Junius Matthews (voice) (uncredited), Sean McClory (voice) (uncredited), Dal McKennon (voice) (uncredited), Alan Napier (voice) (uncredited), Marni Nixon (voice) (uncredited), J. Pat O'Malley (voice) (uncredited), George Pelling (voice) (uncredited), Thurl Ravenscroft (voice) (uncredited), Richard M. Sherman (voice) (uncredited) and Ginny Tyler (voice) (uncredited)

Director: Robert Stevenson

Producers: Bill Walsh and Walt Disney

Screenplay: Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi and P.L. Travers (based on the "Mary Poppins" books)

Composer: Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman

Cinematography: Edward Colman

Video Resolution: 1080p [Technicolor]

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

Audio: English: 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, English: 5.1 Dolby Digital, English: 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo [Original Theatrical Mix], French: 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish: 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish

Running Time: 139 minutes

Region: Blu-ray: All Regions and DVD: NTSC

Number of discs: 2

Studio: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

Andrew’s Blu-ray Review: “Wind's in the east, mist comin' in. Like something is brewin,' about to begin. Can't put me finger on what lies in store. But I feel what's to happen, all happened before.”

Adapted from a series of books by P.L. Travers, “Mary Poppins” was one of the last projects personally supervised by Walt Disney. Directed by Robert Stevenson, written by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, and with music and lyrics by Richard and Robert Sherman, this musical is a fantastical, comedic romp about a magical English Nanny who flies into a needful family's life when the wind changes.

Practically perfect in every way, Mary Poppins [Dame Julie Andrews], arrives in London to help the Banks family. Children Michael and Jane are mischievous terrors who have gone through six nannies in the last four months. Worse, they have no real relationship with their overly stuffy and strict father, Mr. Banks [David Tomlinson]. With the assistance of her chimney sweep / street artist friend, Bert [Dick Van Dyke], Mary Poppins introduces Michael and Jane to a wondrous world where laughing makes you float, where you can jump into an animated world via sidewalk art, and where chimney sweeps perform elaborate dance numbers on rooftops.

As Mary Poppins changes the world and people around her, Mr. Banks fights to stay stuck in his stuffy ways. Englishmen and bankers must be formal and precise, but Mary Poppins' silly words and infectious spirit slowly breaks down the father, allowing him to see the joys in fully engaging in the lives of his children. A classic film that combines just about every technology innovation developed at Walt Disney Studios... where should we begin our analysis today?

I don't know about you, but simply hearing the 'Mary Poppins' overture on this Blu-ray's main menu instantly makes me feel like a child again. Memories sprang up of tuning in the 'Wonderful World of Disney' on Sunday evenings during the Michael Eisner era where he, in the tradition of Mr. Walt Disney, introduced us to a catalogue of wonderful family films. As a child, these television broadcasts, combined with theatrical re-releases, made the entire Walt Disney catalogue feel new.

Looking at the film today I saw so many new details that my younger-self had never noticed or remembered. As a self-diagnosed story addict, we could have a chat about how little actually happens in the film, or how, during the animated sequences, Michael and Jane simply disappear for great swaths of time to allow Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke to (rightfully) take centre stage. But you know what, our modern conventions, our development process of "rules" could never allow for such a production to be made today.

'Mary Poppins' is a deceptively simple story on purpose. Mary Poppins comes to London and changes one family's life by helping a man become a better father, right? Many family films have a variation on this age old tale. But why? Because in simplicity, in a story anyone can follow, the filmmakers jam packed this classic film with so many genre-bending sequences. Tangents, all of them, designed to slap smiles on our faces as wide as Uncle Albert's and then, at the end, to pull our heart strings when Mary Poppins departs, having succeeded, but seemingly destined to face the world alone.

Basically, 'Mary Poppins' is the perfect film to watch with your family and friends of all ages. In addition to amazing children alike and allowing you to remember your own childhood days (assuming you've been a youngster sometime in the last 50 or so years), 'Mary Poppins' boasts a wonderful sense of innocence and nostalgia that represents, to me at least, a lot of what Walt Disney created in all of his films and theme parks. Walt Disney wanted us to experience the world, if only for a short time, the way most of us only can at the beginnings of our lives. He wanted us to marvel at the wonder of it all. He wanted us to believe in silly things, to laugh and enjoy whatever moments we can without worry. Mary Poppins might not be real? But the film 'Mary Poppins' is best described as a magical experience.

We should probably also talk about what a technological marvel the film truly is. Disney's team of filmmakers assembled a project that truly wouldn't be rivalled, visually, until 'Star Wars' blew audiences' minds. Shot entirely on sound stages, 'Mary Poppins' extends its universe with gorgeous matte paintings, similar to those used in 'Citizen Kane,' and numerous instances of optical compositing. To combine live action and animation, something Disney had been doing since his first silent version of 'Alice in Wonderland' which they used the Sodium Vapour Process, aka the "yellow screen process" to create a traveling matte so actors could dance around in just about any background. It was so amazing at the time 'Mary Poppins' premiered; it went on to win an Academy Award® in 1965. More than the visual effects, the animation itself is gorgeous and there are numerous practical effects with floating people and animatronic animals and that truly make one of the true technological marvels of 1960s Hollywood. By the way, watch all of the Credits to the very end, as you will hear the actual voice of P. L. Travers, who taped all the recordings and telling how the author of “Mary Poppins” should be portrayed on the film and P. L. Travers seems somewhat cordial during these particular excerpts from her recordings, but her rigidness can still be detected in the tone of her voice. For those two short weeks in 1961, Walt Disney pulls out all the stops. Armed with imaginative storyboards and chirpy songs from the talented Sherman Brothers, Walt Disney launches an all-out onslaught on P. L. Travers, but the prickly author doesn't budge. He soon begins to watch helplessly as P. L. Travers becomes increasingly immovable and the rights begin to move further away from Walt Disney’s grasp.

'Mary Poppins,' thanks to Walt Disney's collaboration with dozens of talented writers, singers, dancers, animators, actors and crew members, is everything Walt Disney did well... all in one project. For those reasons, and many more, it's not only an excellent film to watch and enjoy as often as you please, it's also a really important film for its breakthroughs and as a crowning masterpiece just before the death of one of Hollywood's most influential storytellers and that of course was the brilliant and prolific Walt Disney.

Blu-ray Video Quality – 'Mary Poppins' [50th Anniversary Edition] rides up the bannister onto Blu-ray with a resplendent 1080p encoded image, framed in the film's original 1.66:1 aspect ratio. Digitally restored for high definition, 'Mary Poppins' looks absolutely fantastic on Blu-ray. Grain levels are intact and filmic. Colour reproduction is bright, bold, and accurate and especially the fanciful cartoon sequences. Contrast is dynamic, and black levels, like the bankers' suits and hats, are decidedly dark. But none of those highlights compare to overall image resolution and detail. Human faces and other clothing textures are impressive. You'll see individual hair follicles, wrinkles, and even makeup effects on the Senior Mr. Dawes. And finally, as far as I could tell, I didn't see a tuppence worth of dirt, scratches, or other damage. For minor quibbles to discuss, this is some minor ringing around characters in a few shots, and many special effects shots and composites, including the opening title sequence, suffer noticeable resolution drops and grain spikes. Understandable, given the compositing techniques of the day, is not a big problem, overall.

Blu-ray Audio Quality – 'Mary Poppins' dances and sings its way on to Blu-ray with a robust English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix. We have what appears to be an expanded version of the near-field mix created a decade ago. Dialogue and singing voices literally take centre stage and are always clear and vibrant. The film's score nicely films out the multichannel soundstage. And there are even a few wonderful moments, like exploding fireworks during "Step in Time," where all eight channels spring to life with active, almost-aggressive panning and thundered surround sound. In terms of "faults," it's a little quieter than some mixes, simply in terms of what levels I usually set my receiver, and the centre channel might be a little hot compared to the stereo mix. And as we would expect from similar era soundtracks, the dynamic range is a wee bit limited, but that's okay. Alternate audio tracks include 5.1 Dolby Digital mixes in English, French, or Spanish, as well as the "Original Theatrical Mix" in the 2.0 Dolby Digital Stereo mix. I can't speak, personally, to how "original" this mix is, but the stereo track is also quite good and doesn't sound noticeably compressed and it even matrixes well in Dolby Pro Logic II. Post Script: The only thing that truly bothered me about this release was Menu and Sub Menu functionality. To access various language tracks and Special Features, must one endlessly hunt for choices along horizontal lists that aren't very functional. For example, if you click past the last item, you end up at the beginning and have to click all the way through again. Further, getting back to the Main Menu itself can be a bit of a chore. Surprising in this day and age, but if anyone from Walt Disney Home Entertainment is reading this; I would personally suggest avoiding this particular menu structure in favour of something more versatile.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature: Becoming Mr. Sherman [1080p] [14:00] Goes behind-the-scenes of director John Lee Hancock's ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ which stars Tom Hanks as Walt Disney and Emma Thompson as "Mary Poppins" author P. L. Travers. Actor Jason Schwartzman sits down with Mary Poppins' Richard M. Sherman to discuss the classic film's music and lyrics. Richard M. Sherman in turn shares his memories of ‘Mary Poppins' troubled pre-production and discusses Jason Schwartzman's portrayal of him in John Lee Hancock's film.

Special Feature: Mary-Oke [1080p] [Dolby Digital Stereo] [8:00] Sing along with "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Step in Time" and "Chim Chim Cher-ee" with this karaoke-style feature.

Classic DVD Bonus Features: The Blu-ray edition of ‘Mary Poppins’ also includes most every previously released bit of supplemental content from past releases. Extras include:

Audio Commentary: Commentary with composers and lyricists Richard and Robert Sherman and actors Dame Julie Andrews [Mary Poppins], Dick Van Dyke [Bert/Mr. Dawes Sr.] and Karen Dotrice [Jane Banks] here they all reminisce about the film and its production, commenting on the challenges they faced, the fun they had and the magic they helped make. The only downside is that all five participants aren't together in the same room; Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke cosy up, but Karen Dotrice and are paired up and recorded separately, while Robert B. Sherman is by his lonesome. It's only a small complaint, though. The carefully compiled track is entertaining and engaging no matter who's speaking, and Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are an absolute joy to listen to.

Special Feature: Disney on Broadway [480i] [55:00] Next up is a special documentary entitled: "Mary Poppins From Page to Stage," and here we have an overview of the film's Broadway adaptation with producer/President Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher and performers Ashley Brown [Mary Poppins] and Gavin Lee [Bert] and a 7 minute feature, "Step in Time," with Broadway composer George Stiles.

Special Feature: Backstage Disney [480i] [113:00] Eight additional spoonfuls of supplemental sugar are also available with the following special documentaries entitled: "The Making of Mary Poppins;" vintage red carpet features "The Gala World Premiere" and "The Gala World Premiere Party;" kid-friendly special effects mini-doc "Movie Magic;" two "Deconstruction of a Scene" features "Jolly Holiday" and "Step in Time;" a "Dick Van Dyke Make-Up Test" and a "Publicity" roundup with original trailers, re-issue trailers and TV spots.

Special Feature: Music & More [1080p and 480i] [52:00] Four music-themed retrospective extras: "A Magical Musical Reunion Featuring Dame Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke and Richard Sherman" [489i]. Deleted song "Chimpanzoo" [480i]. "Disney Song Selection" suite [1080p] [7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio], and a "Movie Sing-Along" track.

Special Feature: Bonus Short: The Cat that Looked at a King [2004] [480i] [10:00] In this live-action/animated short, Dame Julie Andrews leads two children into a chalk drawing and tells them the story of a talking cat, a knowledge-obsessed king and the arrogant ruler's neglected queen. Contributors to this bonus short are as follows: Dame Julie Andrews, Dylan Cash, Olivia DeLaurentis, Sarah Ferguson (voice), David Ogden Stiers (voice) and Tracey Ullman (voice). Directed by Peter Schneider. Produced by Baker Bloodworth, Gerard DiNardi and Yukari Kiso. Screenplay by Shirley Pierce (story adaptation) and P.L. Travers (book "Mary Poppins Opens the Door"). Music by Mark Watters. Cinematography by Kenneth H. Wiatrak.

Finally, without question, Walt Disney's ‘Mary Poppins’ has remained a perennial firm favourite during the last half-century, thanks in large part to Dame Julie Andrews' career-defining performance and the Sherman Brothers' memorable songs. The film holds its own some fifty years past its prime, Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are fantastic and fantastically fun, the songs are treasures in and of themselves, and the age of the production has little bearing on the end result. Fortunately, Disney's Blu-ray release is deserving of the title "definitive." The film holds its own some fifty years past its prime, Dame Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke are fantastic and fantastically fun, the songs are treasures in and of themselves, and the age of the production has little bearing on the end result. Fortunately, Walt Disney's Blu-ray release is deserving of the title "definitive." This 50th Anniversary Blu-ray is anchored by a fantastic A/V presentation, and a generous selection of supplemental materials, there aren't any downsides or drawbacks to be found. Add ‘Mary Poppins’ to your Blu-ray collection post haste, as it is an honour to have such a beautiful magical film added to my ever increasing Walt Disney Blu-ray Collection and reacquaint yourself with the magic of one of Walt Disney's most treasured classics, live-action or otherwise. Very Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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