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When stern banker and absent father Mr Banks (David Tomlinson) and Mrs Banks (Glynis Johns) who is busy with her suffragette cause, advertise for a nanny who offers the precision of a navy admiral to discipline their misbehaving children, they are surprised when magical musical nanny Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) drops down from the London skies at their 17 Cherry Tree Lane residence. Mary fits all the requirements that Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) have dreamed up in their hand-written ‘wish-list’ for their nanny. When Mary enters their lives, she uses not only her magic and charm to entertain and teach the children, but brings them closer to their parents.

Review by Louise Keller:
One of the most loved Disney movies that has delighted families since it was made in 1964, Mary Poppins, like its central character, is practically Perfect in Every Way. It received 13 Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best (Adapted) Screenplay, winning five for Best Actress Julie Andrews in her movie debut, Best Original Score, Best Song (Chim Chim Cher-ee), Best Editing and Best Special Visual Effects.

It’s an enchanting tale about a magical nanny who fulfils every child’s fantasy, with her cheery disposition and her ability to making chores seem like games. A non-stop adventure filled with delightful dance routines and unforgettable songs, Mary Poppins displays the seamless combination of live-action with animation. Timeless songs and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman (like Super-cali-fragilistic-expi-ali-docious, A Spoon Full of Sugar, Chim Chim Cher-ee and Feed the Birds) are beautifully integrated into the story, and we can sing-along on the DVD, as an optional extra.

Who could ever forget that scene when Jane and Michael read out their child-like requirements for a nanny? ‘If you want this choice position, Have a cheery disposition, Rosy cheeks no warts, No warts, play games all sorts, You must be kind and must be witty, Very sweet and fairly pretty, Take us on outings give us treats, Sing songs, bring sweets.’ I never tire of watching this delightful musical fantasy that embraces family values, wishes and dreams. 

For those who have not revisited Mary, you may be surprised to see how well this nanny who stands in a ballet position, slides up banisters, tidies room and carries her own bag of tricks in a carpet bag has aged. The DVD image positively glows with its bright colour saturation and the sound allows us to enjoy the music in full 5.1 Dolby digital reproduction.

There’s an interesting featurette revisiting the night of the Gala premiere at Sid Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, when the film’s stars as well as many of the glamorous stars of its day made an appearance. It was a gala event featuring an appearance by Walt Disney himself, who arrived surrounded by well-loved Disney characters. The featurette, The Movie Magic of Mary Poppins forms the backdrop of the making of the film, talks about stop motion animation, the wire work and how the live action was filmed with the animation, while the game ‘I Love to Laugh’ allows us to participate in a fun endeavour to stop Uncle Albert from laughing his way to the ceiling.

This is a treasure of a DVD that bears repeated viewing, and is guaranteed to delight audiences of all ages.

Published October 24, 2002

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(US - 1964)

CAST: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Jones, Hermione Baddeley, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, Elsa Lanchester, Arthur Treacher, Reginald and Ed Wynn

DIRECTOR: Robert Stevenson

RUNNING TIME: 134 minutes

PRESENTATION: Widescreen 16:9 transfer; Dual-layered format; Audio Dolby Digital 5.1

SPECIAL FEATURES: Sing along with the Movie; Featurettes: Hollywood goes to a Premiere; The Movie Magic of Mary Poppins; Game: I Love to Laugh;


DVD RELEASE: August 21, 2002 (Retail)

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