Saturday, April 23, 2011

Let's Go Fly a Kite

Of all his studio's movies, the one Walt Disney himself felt was his crowning achievement was "Mary Poppins." I would never have guessed that.

Having not seen it on a big screen, I was among those who spent the cool, gray morning watching  it at the Bowtie and trying to figure out what it was about this movie that swelled Walt's chest. Maybe I should have had a mimosa first before trying to do a film analysis.

So here goes.

Maybe it was its topicality, focusing on first wave feminism at a time when second-wave feminism was a very hot topic.

Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they're rather stupid.

Maybe it was the combination of physical and verbal humor provided by both real action figures as well as animated characters, a robotic bird and a talking umbrella. Probably pretty impressive stuff, circa 1964.
Kindly do not attempt to cloud the issue with facts.

Maybe it was because it was nearing the end of the large-scale musical era and this was one big musical extravaganza. Characters broke into song from the first moments of the film to the very end where Mary Poppins floats away, umbrella in hand, chorus rising behind her. And the chimney sweep scene atop the rooftops of London is a dance-lover's delight.

That's a piecrust promise. Easily made, easily broken.

Maybe it was just that he was glad to finally get the damn thing made. Supposedly it took two and a half years to get all the songs written. It took over a hundred glass and matte paintings to recreate the London skyline of 1910, although there were frequent disconcerting switches from day sky to night sky throughout the entire film. Or were we not supposed to notice?

Gone off his crumpet, that's what he's done. Dotty as you please.

Coming in at two hours and twenty minutes the film was probably longer than it would be if it were made today. But I'm willing to bet that it also couldn't have the charm of the original if remade now.
I have to admit, seeing the wires that pull the characters up in the air was actually kind of endearing. In a 1964 kind of way, of course.
My guess is that Walt Disney never even noticed them.


  1. what??!!? no lunch after the movies?? your slipping, girl!

  2. I never noticed any of them either! And anyone that knows me will not be surprised by this.

  3. Don't be silly, Anon! Lunch afterwards at Xtra's. Had a Nantucket Nexus salad (grilled shrimp, Gorgonzola, pecans, craisins, Granny Smith apples, red onions and cucumbers over maixed greens) but didn't like any of the dessert choices.

    Darien, If you saw it on the big screen now, you might. I don't want to make presumptions about you, but maybe...