Friday, July 11, 2014

Project Disney- Mary Poppins

Project Disney: The plan is to tackle all of the Disney films, re-reading the classic stories and tales that inspired many of them and to look at how the changes the filmmakers made, the new elements they introduced and the essential elements they kept. We will, of course, be talking about the films as movies as well, saying why we enjoy them and what some of our favorite moments are, but our focus will be on looking at them as adaptations. For the films that are not drawn from any one work we’ll be looking at some of the possible literary influences that we see in the stories. I am participating in Project Disney inspired by Picture Me Reading!

Most of my Project Disney posts have been animated features.  This one is part animation part live action and is based on a book series so I wanted to add this movie in.  I read the book Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers for this Project Disney though there is an entire series of books and I would like to read them all.  I was quite surprised by the book series, Mary Poppins is quite different to me then the movie.She is tough.. very stern.  I don't even picture her smiling in the book.  The book, Mary Poppins doesn't sing, she is all about her looks, never says "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".. so Disney did a really good job of making her very magical.

Original Mary Poppins book art

As you may know..... Mary Poppins is about a group of children who need a Nanny and can't seem to keep one.  So in floats Mary Poppins.  The family of the children is a wonderful family.  The dad, Mr. Banks, has a much more predominant role in the film then in the book.  In the book he is just constantly working and barely home.  The house that looks like a boat at the start of the film is in the book.  I loved to read about it and all the neighbors would look and stare at it.

What I really love about the film is that though... at times it strays from the novel.. it does give little hat tips to the book.  That little dog who was at the door???  He has a big role in the one of the chapters of the book where Mary Poppins relates to his owner what he is saying.  The book also has four children not two.  Though Jane and Michael are present the twins who are babies John and Barbara are not present in the film at all.  Though I can see this was a good choice by Disney because most of the time in the book Mary is just pushing them around in their stroller.

Music in this film is spot on and really it's too bad the book can't sing at me.  I just kept thinking about the music while reading.  Mary does give the children a spoon full of sugar the first day she meets them.  Watching the film now I can see the CGI is kind of a mess.  The scenes are clearly fake, though a child would never know this.

I especially love "The Day Out" chapter/scene.  This is where Bert draws chalk drawings and they are able to enter the art and become part of it.  This has a big difference in the book.. Mary and Bert are alone and go on a date together.  It is really a sweet gesture because Bert doesn't have enough money to take Mary on a date so they enter chalk art and go on a date there.  I was also very surprised that this is the only chapter in the book that includes Bert.  The children never get to meet him. This was always my favorite part of the film.  I thought it was so magical.. perhaps because I love art and have always imagined being able to enter a piece of art.

In the film when Uncle Albert is laughing and can't get off that ceiling that is also in the book and is pretty much the same.  Though I didn't love this part in the book it is kind of funny in the film.  One of my favorite parts of the film is when we get to look into the snowglobe and see the woman feeding the birds.  In the book they visit this location one day while shopping.  Though Mary Poppins acts like it is nasty and just awful.  In the movie it is just magical and sad at the same time for me.  I love birds and I just think it is so special that the woman wants to feed them.  Clearly she is homeless and makes that her mission in life.  Just beautiful .. and the song is so touching to me.


Really that is where the similarities from book to movie end.  There are a lot of other chapters in the book that talk about other adventures the children have with Mary. There really is no big plot throughout the whole book. It appears the sequels are the same too.  They go to a zoo at night and see humans in cages instead of animals. It was an odd chapter in the book.  There is an entire chapter about a cow who can't stop dancing.

Julie Andrews is so perfect for the film.  Her voice is beautiful and well she is beautiful.  She looks like such a proper lady to me.  I would really love to be just as much of a lady as she is in real life. Let's be honest... this is a fantastic film. 

I have always wanted to read this book series.  It was quite short and pleasant.  Yes Mary Poppins was different then I expected.  In the movie she is always smiling and what not.  I would really like to see the Broadway show of this.  I think it would be fun to see this live.  Have any of you been to the Broadway show?? 

Be sure to check out my other Project Disney:
Snow White
Peter Pan
Treasure Planet
Sleeping Beauty
The Great Mouse Detective 
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Princess and the Frog
Beauty and the Beast
Lady and the Tramp
Alice in Wonderland
The Rescuers
The Rescuers Down Under
Oliver and Company
The Little Mermaid
101 Dalmatians
Fantasia 2000
The Jungle Book
The Emperor's New Groove
The Sword in the Stone
The Aristocats
The Lion King
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Robin Hood
The Black Cauldron 
Lilo and Stitch  
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Make Mine Music
Fox and the Hound
Melody Time 


  1. Gosh, I haven't seen the movie in forever. That's cool there were some similarities between the book and movie. I'd like to see the musical too!


  2. I love this movie! I saw the traveling Broadway production a couple years ago and wasn't a fan. I wonder though, if I read the book, I might like it more. Our community theatre has this as their closing show next season. Perhaps I better pick up a copy of MP next spring and get reading!

  3. The musical would be sooo fun! I need to keep an eye out and see if it comes to my town. I know Beauty and the Beast is coming to my town this year. So I will for sure stop by and watch that show.

  4. I thought I heard that the Mary Poppins Broadway show didn't use the music from the film either?? Is that true? I did hear the show also takes from other books instead of just the first one, so that could change the feel of the show too for those expecting to see stuff from the movie.

  5. It was so a long ago, I don't recall. I know there were some songs from the movie and some new ones. I'll have to check out the cast recording for some clues. :)

  6. I do want to rewatch the movie and I've been wanting to watch Saving Mr. Banks about the makings of the movie. I read the book last year and much to my surprise I really didn't care for it. I think the strangeness and kind of randomness of the stories didn't work for me. This is one of the few instances where I've liked a movie better than the book. I love your project Disneys! They always give me something to think about!

  7. I've never been a fan of Mary Poppins, but it's cool to see this one as part of your Disney Project!

  8. Mary Poppins! This is one of my favorite films - it's magical and whimsical and really beautiful. I've never read the books though, but i have heard some things about it, and your post makes me think I'll be a bit disappointed that Mary is not as adorable as Julie Andrews makes her. :) I would like to read the book though to find out. It is interesting that Walt Disney put such a different spin to the story after he went through so much trouble to get the rights. I would have thought he wanted to adapt the story as it was. I need to watch Saving Mr. Banks to understand better I'm sure. Have you seen Saving Mr. Banks?

    Oh and Feed the Birds is my favorite song from the film - i can't help but tear up a little when I see the scene!

    I saw the Broadway show a little while ago - it does use the music from the film as well as some new songs. My favorite of the new songs in the stage show is "Practically Perfect" but on the whole I like the film more than the stage version. I think Mary in the stage show is a little more like the book - she seems a bit sterner and more sarcastic. And there's one scene that was weird with the toys I think, it was sort of a trippy scene and not really fun.

  9. I really love the Disney film but ohhh, do I hate the book. I was just so frustrated about how mean Mary Poppins was. Like the vain-ness was okay and fit with the book/film, but the pure meanness really bothered me. :( Have you seen Saving Mr. Banks? THAT is a brilliant, brilliant film, although I heard it's not very true to P.L Travers life. But whatever. It was awesome. x)

  10. I have always wanted to read the book series! I saw the biopic recently about the making of the movie and I gather the author was very humorless as well and didn't like how Mary was depicted in the film!

  11. Interesting that Disney made MAry Poppins a little more fun in the movie! Never even knew there were books... wow. This is a pretty popular movie in our house, so it was fun to read this. And yes- what an awesome musical this would be. Great post!

  12. After seeing the movie "Saving Mr. Banks" I would have guessed the book was very different. Have you seen it? Its about how Disney convinced the author to let them make the movie. She definitely didn't like the fun or singing at first. It would be a nice supplement to the Mary Poppins book and film.

  13. Duh.. I did try to google it before I typed my comment but I was googling the wrong thing! I googled the soundtrack this time and got my answer. There are 4 songs in the musical that were in the film.

  14. I agree with you here... I really did like the movie better then the book. I have to agree with the whole randomness of the stories. There really was no overall arc story. Which was a little odd. I am glad you love Project Disney!! I am a little sad that it is about to be over soon. I really don't have too many movies left. I am kind of sad and am not sure what I am going to do when it's over!

  15. Thanks... I wasn't sure if I was going to include it but I figure since it is based off a book series and this is a book blog that I would include it.

  16. I would recommend reading the book.. it really isn't that long and if you are interested in it you might as well. I haven't seen Saving Mr. Banks yet.. but I put it on hold at the library today, I am like number 200. I will probably come back and update this post once I watch it and add any information I learn from the movie.

    Feed the Birds is so touching to me. The song is just so beautiful. It makes me want to save all the animals and the homeless people. Though.. was she homeless?? Or does she just sit out at the chapel and feed the birds? Maybe she only looks homeless because why wear nice clothes when you know you will get bird poop on you??

    I am going to HAVE to see this Broadway show. I am going to keep a look out for it. It did come through my town once already but I didn't go and now I wish I would've gone.

  17. She was very vain... kept looking in the window reflections to see what she looked like. That surprised me. Though she does redeem herself later on when she gives her gloves to that star girl (demi-god??). I realize after all the comments I am getting on this that I probably should've watched Saving Mr. Banks before writing up this post!!

  18. I will be watching the biopic as soon as I can. I am glad to see you commenting on Project Disney. Are you going to continue to participate in it when you come back to blogging???

  19. I knew there were books.. but to be honest I thought they were more children's picture books. But then are more 6-9 year old books (though a parent would still have to read the book to their child I think). Such a fun movie.

  20. I had heard of that movie but didn't see it in the theater. Then I did get it from the library but wanted to wait till this particular Project Disney to watch it. Then I forgot to check it out prior to this post... so now I am on the waiting list at the library again. LOL~! I will not miss it now though. It would be fun to dig deeper into this whole Mary Poppins thing. ;)

  21. I wonder how much convincing Disney used to have to do to get books turned into films. Now-a-days I am sure if Disney asks for rights to a book people would just hand them over. Back then.. I am not so sure. I do think I would've enjoyed these books as a kid. I think since the stories were so out there and magical it would've been fun to read. Like putting the gingerbread star wrappers back in the sky to be stars again. I loved this quote.. were the gingerbread stars already stars that needed to be put back or were the wrappers turned into stars??? So cute.

  22. Oh, I'd forgotten that chapter! I need to read those books again.

  23. I can never express how much I love this movie. I find myself singing "Let's Go Fly a Kite" pretty often.

  24. I actually JUST saw the broadway show this past friday night! Course it was a smaller production done for Sacramento. It wasn't as big as say San Francisco or New York. Our theater does it in the round stage form which is still really great so there are no bad seats but the props are more minimal and changes the style in which they do the dances I think? I'm not sure but I adored it.

    I've never read the books and didn't realize there were any!

  25. This movie is fun. I also love that this is back when Disney used actors and voice actors more then once. They weren't always famous people. Like Uncle Albert is the Mad Hatter.

  26. OMG! This is good to know. I will look forward to when it comes to town. I know it came through once and to be honest I don't know why I didn't go and see it!!

  27. I loved this film..I really did. I like that Disney kept certain aspects of the book and agree just the twins was a better idea. Wonderful post Angela!

  28. I agree.. having more kids would probably just have made the movie a little bit messy. Mary Poppins would've had to keep track of all the kids and baby twins at that!

  29. This is my favorite Disney movie. By far. I saw the musical in London and loved it. I heard they changed a few things when it came to Broadway to appeal more to an American audience. Did you see Saving Mr. Banks. I know it wasn't totally realistic, but it was so wonderful and I sobbed.

  30. I am hoping to watch Saving Mr. Banks this evening actually. I got it from the library a few days ago. After all the comments about the Broadway show there is no way I will miss it when it comes through my town next time.