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Saving Mr. Banks May 13, 2014

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Writing & Writers.

We enjoyed Saving Mr. Banks, the semi-true account of how Walt Disney obtained the movie rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers.

An arduous journey to say the least.

Travers did NOT want Mary Poppins, her no-nonsense nanny, to do anything as frivolous as singing.

Or dancing.  Or laughing.  Or flirting.

And she didn’t approve of casting Julie Andrews as Ms. Poppins or Dick Van Dyke as Bert.

Travers didn’t like the idea of animated penguins dancing, and she abhorred made up words like  “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.” 

Getting Mary Poppins to fly off the pages and onto the big screen was an uphill slog fraught with tension between Travers and Disney Studios.

But it was worth it!

Aah . . . that’s better! 





1. Pix Under the Oaks - May 13, 2014

We just watched Saving Mr. Banks a couple of weeks ago. I fell asleep but CH enjoyed it. I think I just got really weary of Travers and nodded off.. 🙂

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

BFF didn’t like the first part of the movie and started to wander off (probably around the time you nodded off). He ended up staying and enjoyed the movie quite a bit.

I loved seeing the flashbacks which explained the WHY of Travers and Mary Poppins.

2. Judson - May 13, 2014

This was a great movie … enjoyed it thoroughly. When I was a teen I worked in a movie theater and “Mary Poppins” had a two week run (most movies only stayed 3-4 days back then) so, I had practically every line memorized. But I never realized the back story behind the movie. Both sad and inspiring. It literally ruled her entire life.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

Working in a movie theater would have been a great job to have as a teen!

I loved Mary Poppins with a passion and enjoyed singing all the songs. At the top of my lungs! I read several Mary Poppins’ books ~ they are not quite so light-hearted. I understand the concern Travers must have felt about having her dignified nanny Disney-fied. I’m glad Disney succeeded in bringing Mary Poppins to the big screen . . . where she found so many new fans.

3. wisejourney - May 13, 2014

Saw the movie with my son and its lovely isn’t it and insightful too

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

The flashbacks give a glimpse of how Mary Poppins came to be ~ although Travers’ aunt reminded me more of Nanny McPhee.

4. Jill Weatherholt - May 13, 2014

I haven’t seen the movie yet…it’s on my list.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

At first, Travers seems rather disagreeable and odious. If you keep watching, you’ll begin to understand what shaped her and how Mary Poppins was born of her imagination.

An interesting movie, especially for writers.

5. Kate @ Did That Just Happen? - May 13, 2014

I can’t wait to see it! I’m intrigued!

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

It’s not a constant thrill ride, but it is thought provoking ~> about how experiences shape us. And where inspiration comes from.

6. William D'Andrea - May 13, 2014

As a writer who has published two novels, I do have daydreams about both of them being made into movies; hopefully blockbusters, from which I would receive a reasonable amount of royalty payments. However, I also wonder just how faithful the screenplays would be to the original sources. If I did have objections, I would certainly let everyone know about them.

Nevertheless, as someone living on social security payments and food stamp credits, I don’t see myself refusing to accept the royalty payments, no matter how bad the production turns out to be.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

Step One: Sell the Movie Rights.

Good luck!

7. suzicate - May 13, 2014

Did not know this!

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

I’ve read that this behind-the-scenes peek is not 100% accurate, but it made for a fascinating film.

Mary Poppins (in the books) is a bit more prim, proper, and austere than her Julie Andrews persona. Both have their merits.

8. Don - May 13, 2014

Would to to see it – looks good. Thanks Nancy.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

It’s interesting, Don ~ starting out in Australia, moving to England, and then bouncing over to the US.

9. Three Well Beings - May 13, 2014

I really enjoyed this movie, too, Nancy! I was so fascinated to learn about all the tension between Travers and Disney, and after we saw the movie I read a bit more about her. She was quite a fascinating woman. She was a very complicated and in some ways troubled, but very independent woman! I think the aspects of the movie that concerned her father were really interesting. Good movie. I hope your mention of it today reminds others that it’s worth the time!

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

I did some reading up on her after seeing the movie too ~ the movie definitely took a few liberties with her story, but that’s what “creative license” is all about, right?

I found it fascinating. I also enjoyed the back story to Peter Pan about J.M.Barrie’s life.

10. CMrok93 - May 13, 2014

Made me tear-up by the end, which really surprised me. Not because I don’t expect to cry at movies, but because this one did so well with making me do so. Good review.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

I found it a movie well worth watching ~ which is not always the case. I loved seeing fragments of Mary Poppins coming to life in the flashbacks ~ although Travers’ aunt looked more like Nanny McPhee to me than Mary Poppins. Oh, well, pish posh! 😎

11. jannatwrites - May 13, 2014

I want to see that movie! I’ve waited so long, it is probably on Netflix by now, or will be soon! (See how much money I save in theater tickets? 🙂 )

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

It is out on Netflix . . . we save money on theater tickets too!

In fact, we’ve only been to one first run movie in 5 years (my dentist gave me two tickets). We saw Harry Potter on the BIG screen. There’s a $1 second run movie theater in town. We went to it once too.

Mostly, we enjoy watching movies from home where we can press pause for snacks, bathroom breaks, Tigger, etc.

12. Val Boyko - May 13, 2014

This is so good to get the low down … and so many wonderful insights! Thanks Nancy. I’ll watch it with lots of interest.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

Yay! Hope you enjoy, Val. I found it a very watchable film.

13. 2e0mca - May 13, 2014

I’m not entirely convinced that Mary Poppins was worth it… But I know lots of people have enjoyed the film. I guess it was overshadowed for me by My Fair Lady which (despite being only 8 at the time, I enjoyed more – must’ve been Rex Harrison’s voice 😉

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

I should rent My Fair Lady. I was too young to enjoy it when released ~ but I’ve always loved the songs. I’ve seen snippets of it now and then but don’t think I’ve ever seen it straight through.

Thanks for the tip!

14. I am J - May 13, 2014

Now I’ve added this to the list of movies I want to see. Until reading your post, it hadn’t caught my interest at all. I do think Emma Thompson, however, is a fantastic actress and I always like Tom Hanks so I’m sure they make it good viewing. Thanks for the heads-up.

nrhatch - May 13, 2014

Emma Thompson is superb as Travers. And Paul Giamatti as the limo driver is fantastic too. As is Hanks as Disney.

Great cast all the way around.

15. barb19 - May 13, 2014

I can’t wait to see this movie, because I lived in the town where Pamela L Travers was born – Maryborough in Queensland, Australia.
Her father worked in a bank and the family lived upstairs, where Travers was born. The bank is still there on Kent Street and a statue of Mary Poppins stands outside. The town celebrate Mary Poppins Festival each year, a week-long celebration, it’s quite the event. I wrote about it 3 years ago on here http://passionateaboutpets.wordpress.com/2011/06/20/mary-poppins-festival/
Apparently, Travers didn’t like Australia and when she went to London, she had no intention of coming back- and I don’t believe she ever did!

nrhatch - May 14, 2014

Thanks so much for sharing that link. I enjoyed that post then and now! Chim Chim In Ee!

The movie is peppered with flashbacks to her childhood life. I wonder if they’ll show it at this year’s Mary Poppins Festival?

barb19 - May 14, 2014

I’m glad you didn’t mind me putting that link in my comment Nancy, don’t want to appear pushy.
I might do a follow-up post on this year’s festival!

nrhatch - May 14, 2014

Not at all pushy, Barb . . . I love to get links to relevant stuff.

As soon as you mentioned the post, I remembered reading it, but I needed that memory refresher for the initial recall.

16. diannegray - May 13, 2014

I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s a must watch for me! I got goosebumps just watching the trailer 😀

nrhatch - May 14, 2014

It’s a fascinating film about writers and how their words take on a life of their own once released into the world. It’s hard to wrestle the genie back into the bottle once its had a taste of freedom.

17. Behind the Story - May 14, 2014

I remember when Mary Poppins came to Seattle. The line curled around the block. Two great movies.

nrhatch - May 14, 2014

I’ve seen Mary Poppins a time or two as an adult ~ I still love it and all the songs. “Let’s Go Fly A Kite!”

18. Patricia - May 14, 2014

I saw the movie the other night. She seemed a sad angry woman. I wonder how much of the movie was truth. I was never a Mary Poppins movie fan but of course I have seen it. As for Saving Mr. Banks it was ok… I like everything Tom Hanks does. Well, except for Cloud Atlas…that was three hours of awful.

nrhatch - May 14, 2014

I’ve never heard of Cloud Atlas. Sounds like I didn’t miss much.

19. My Light Bag - May 15, 2014

How funny! I’m not surprised she couldn’t imagine her character doing something she never originally created her to do. The film is great though. I sometimes randomly sing songs from it as I go about my day!

nrhatch - May 15, 2014

Walt Disney teases her by saying, “This from the writer whose nanny has a talking parrot head umbrella.”

The songs are classics for good reason. “I Love To Laugh!”

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