Film #169: Mary Poppins (1964)

Director: Robert Stevenson
Language: English
Length: 134 minutes
Watched: 13 November 2015

I’ve always quite liked this movie, and I’m glad to report my position on that hasn’t changed.

It’s nice to come at a movie with fresh eyes. This time when I watched it, Mr Banks’ redemption arc was much clearer than it ever had been before – perhaps I’ve started to recognize that kind of thing in my own life. It was also clearer to me that Dick Van Dyke played the old bank owner – while the makeup still flummoxes me, he’s quite distinctively gangly when you see him from afar.

The film is also longer than I remember – it’s famous, of course, for the few big setpieces, like the animated section in the middle, which I should applaud for its technical achievement, or the whole chimney sweep thing, but there were a lot of other scenes that are easy to forget, like the one where they have dinner on the ceiling with the laughing man. If I remember correctly, it’s lifted from the book, where it makes more sense, but here it’s kind of non sequitur. So it doesn’t gel as well with the other sections, I guess – also, everything after the animated section seems morose by comparison.

I also never really noticed before how strict Mary Poppins actually is, too. She seems to hide it behind the magic stuff. And I also noticed this time how Bert is in every scene – even when there’s no need for it. He seems to know every character. It’s weird!

Anyway, still love it.

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