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40th Anniversary Edition
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Experience the extraordinary animation, dazzling special effects, and award-winning music of Walt Disney's MARY POPPINS in this fully restored and remastered 2-Disc 40th Anniversary Edition! Join the "practically perfect" Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) for a "Jolly Holiday" as she magically turns every chore into a game and every day into a whimsical adventure. Along the way you'll be enchanted by unforgettable characters such as the multitalented chimney sweep Bert (Dick Van Dyke). Unpack Mary's magical carpetbag full of bonus features, including an all-new animated short, games, and a never-before-heard deleted song. You won't need "A Spoonful Of Sugar" to love every moment of this timeless Disney classic!
By the end of 2004, fans had become weary of re-releases of previously available DVDs. Often these new DVDs were stuffed with fluff. This 40th anniversary edition of Mary Poppins, the third DVD release in six years, is a welcome exception, with a second disc stuffed with excellent extras and a vivid new print and sound presentation of the film. The commentary track is an excellent combination of new tracks (including Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews having a jolly time) along with archival materials. There's a 50-minute documentary older kids will enjoy as much as their parents, and the created-for-kids "Movie Magic" is a treat. The red carpet footage of the world premiere has been seen in previous releases, but here it's been restored with eye-popping color. A standard type of featurette--deconstructing a special-effects sequence--is reborn here with a simplistic approach: we switch back and forth from the final print of two musical numbers with rehearsal footage, animation, etc. The final results are far more watchable--and entertaining--than their usual DVD counterparts. Superlatives go around with this disc that includes a total reconstruction of the sound that picks up "lost" complexities not heard but never overpower this gem. There's even more archival material (including some remarkable meetings with author P.L. Travers) on the new CD soundtrack that also boasts the never-before-available complete score. --Doug ThomasSee all Editorial Reviews
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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.
Just watch the movie! No real need to give a synopsis or pick apart the cast or the way it differed from the original books. It is a fun, well written, well cast, well directed and worth watching.
Great package as you get DVD, Blu-ray, and digital copies of the film.