We've all seen this movie.
Or at least, my dears, I think we all have. If you haven't - well - you should. Because it's ...
No, I don't think this movie is practically perfect in every way. And no, I don't think it's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious either. I love this movie (because it's a movie one should love) but it's not my favourite. Stay tuned for reasons explained in heavy paragraphs.
First, how I got introduced.
I got introduced to Mary Poppins on my eighth birthday. Or it might have been seventh. And I remember crying. And no, not because I liked it. Because - come near, dear, so I can whisper it in your ear - I didn't like it.
Mary Poppins spoilt my eighth (or seventh) birthday.
I know. I should have sworn to loathe it for eternity, ay? But I'm glad I was sensible enough to know that it's very wicked to swear, even when it's a different kind of swearing. (Yes, I'm into Anne of Green Gables, as I usually am.)
But yes, indeed, I didn't enjoy that movie. I liked the bits where the nursery room got tidied up - I couldn't believe what I was seeing and wondered how they filmed it (because, I thought, it must be real, because it's been filmed!) and I also liked the bit where all the nannies get flown away by the wind - again, I was wondering how they managed to make the actresses fly - and I also liked Jane Banks' pink dress (ha).
But the rest - nope, my eight-year-old-self thought it terribly boring. I didn't understand what Mr Banks kept on singing about, why we needed to see Mrs Banks singing songs with the cook, I hated the bank-scenes (practically fell asleep there), thought the 'It's a jolly holiday' song far too long, didn't like the fact that Mary Poppins left in the end and hated all the 'Feed the Birds' scenes - the bird-woman really, really scared me. Oh yes, and somehow the fact that Mary Poppins sat on clouds really creeped me out.
So yeah, Mary Poppins spoilt my eighth birthday. Or seventh. Or whatever.
But it somehow changed. I remember watching it again - I was ten or something like that - and loving it. And that all my sentiments changed. And my sentiments haven't changed since then. I love this movie and that's not the end.
As I said, it's not my favourite. But we'll come to the things-I-don't-like-about-Mary-Poppins-list after I've talked about my favourite things.
My favourite character? Definitely, definitely, definitely Mrs Banks. Ha, you may be surprised. Yup, Mrs Banks is my favourite. She's unlike all the other mothers in movies. She's not really sensible perhaps, but she's quirky and funny and loveable. She's a weird mother - but in the best sense. And I love her unique, quirky little voice. She has such an unique personality.
She's an ardent suffragette, but extremely timid and sweet and obliging whenever her husbands around - contradicting her woman's rights beliefs. And true, she's not a perfect mother - always going out and stuff - but she cares for her children... she's just a special case. :D
Mrs Banks sings the first song in this musical. Well, after Bert's thingy, but that doesn't really count - 'Well done, Sister Suffragette' is the first real song in Mary Poppins. And Mrs Banks does it so well - and never fails to make me laugh!
First she comes inside, wearing her lovely blue and yellow (she wears a lot of yellow and it suits her so well) dress and a Suffragette ribbon, singing happily, enthusiastically and loudly about the woman's voting thing. 'Although we adore men individually - we agree that as a group, they're rather stupid.'
'Sister Suffragette' is definitely one of my favourite songs, and - of course - I've known the lyrics ever since I watched it... for the second time.
"Winifred, we should get the piano tuned."
"But, George, you don't play!'
"Madam, that is entirely beside the point!"
After Mrs Banks, my favourite character is probably her husband. The everything-according-to-tradition and everything-exactly-on-time and everything-as-it-always is Mr Banks. His song 'A British Bank' is hilarious and he sings it like no-one ever will be able to.
And the way he gets 'saved' in the end... when he changes... when he makes the kite... and gets the 'wooden leg' joke... and appreciates the long, invented word (supercal... etc.)... and when he kisses his wife and goes singing 'Let's go Fly a Kite' on the roads with his happy family. Mr Banks is a lovely character... he terribly funny in the beginning and terribly nice in the end.
Oh, and he has the most hilarious facial expressions. David Tomlinson did the best job ever. Yes, even that mustache looked good - even though Mrs Travers didn't want the facial hair.
Jane and Michael were adorable! Just adorable!
Jane first. She had the sweetest little voice, sang 'The Perfect Nanny' beautifully, cried so well, made the most delightful puppy eyes and had she sweetest little frocks and ribbons. Darling dolly.
Michael. Oh Michael. He was so funny - like his dad, he has the most hilarious facial expressions. He was so cute and had the most funny remarks. 'I put that bit in.'
If I would make a list of the 'ten cutest movie kids' I'd put Michael (and Jane, too, probably) in it.
Don't you think Michael looks like Cosmo Brown in 'Singin' in the Rain'? Like, a miniature version? Just me? Okay, then. :-)
Now, charming as Dick van Dyke was, he wasn't my favourite character. His accent. Yeah, his accent. Dick van Dyke really, really faked that Cockney accent. I mean, it wasn't a Cockney accent. It was just an American accent with some rough grammatical errors and unaccented syllables here and there.
So yeah, his accent.
Dick van Dyke could have asked Julie Andrews for some Cockney-accent-ideas, as she was quite the professional one in that matter, as she performed My Fair Lady on stage and played the wild 'liza Dooli'l.
But for the rest, Dick van Dyke made a nice Bert. A kind fellow, a jolly fellow, a cheeky fellow. He's the sort of person that cheers up the whole room by entering it. He's the sort of person that all the children adore... Bert was good. I liked him, honestly, I did. :-)
But yeah. That accent.
Julie Andrews made the perfect Mary Poppins. Very pretty, very strict, very musical, very magic, very sparkly, very practical. Seriously, it's all I can say about her performance. It was just the way it should be.
And her clothes! As you probably know, I adore her white 'Holiday' outfit sooo much! That swishy, frothy, delicious feeling! Those endless petticoats and that red corset waist thingy! That white, floating hat! And the darling little parasol! And her red and white shoes!!! Yup, super, super pretty.
I also love all her other costumes, but that white one... best ever. Not very historically accurate... you know, it's not touching the floor and all that jazz... but then Mary Poppins herself isn't historically accurate either, so it's nothing. Doesn't matter.
Oh, and I loved Mary Poppins' eyes. Just, I do. Julie Andrews has those lovely, big, snappy eyes. I love them. :-)
See what I mean? It deserves years of gushing, right? It's supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Whiiich, brings me to the next thing. The songs!
This is a musical, so (obviously) the songs play a great part in this movie. As I mentioned earlier, I love 'Sister Suffragette' because, well, Mrs Banks and just plain fun-ness. I also love Mr Banks' song, 'British Bank' - the way he sings that song, man, the way! I can laugh out loud just thinking of it! His precision! Heehee!
I also really like 'Spoonful of Sugar' and 'Supercal... etc' because both of them are just so merry and happy and toe-tappy. I love happy, toe-tappy songs. Mary Poppins has loads of happy songs... the Sherman brothers really are good at making happy musicals. Bravo, you two.
But my favourite song of all is:
With tuppence for paper and strings,
You can have your own set of wings,
With your feet on the ground you're a bird in flight,
With your FIST holdin' tight (ba-ba-ba-bam)
With the string of your kite....
Oh-wo-wow! Let's go fly a kite,
Uwuwup! To the highest height,
Let's go fly a kite and send it soaring...
Uwuwup! To the atmosphere...
Uwuwup! Where the air is clear,
Oh, let's go... FLY A KITE!
Yes, that one. I'm a little addicted to that song. Sing it in my sleep, I do.
Which brings me to the ending.
Oh dear, that Mary Poppins ending. Why does it make me cry every time? I watch this movie every year - and I always shed some tears during the 'Let's go Fly a Kite' scene - just because, you know, the family is so happy and toe-tappy and it's my favourite song. And then Mary Poppins leeeaves.
And so. I've finished my review. Now comes zee reasons. For why I don't think Mary Poppins a real favourite. Why I don't think it's like perfect.
~ Firstly (which is the main, biggest reason), the long part in Bert's paper picture. You know, it's rather nice when the go though the animated flowers and fields and sing about how jolly this holiday is... but then we have the penguin-thing, the fox-thing, the horse-thing... and it's goes on and on and yeah, it bores me, that part. It's just not my thing... real people talking to animated people and foxes and... yeah. I just don't like that part.
~ Secondly, the Bank business. Okay, it doesn't bore me quite as much as it did when I was eight (yes, yes, yes, or seven) but still - all those old men and that old Dick van Dyke with his walking stick and stiff legs singing a rather dull song to convince Michael to put that wretched little tuppence in the bank. I mean. It's just too long. If they would've made that bit a little shorter, I'd have loved it.
~ Now, I love to laugh, but the 'I love to Laugh' song was so silly. It's almost embarrassing to watch. 'And squeak - heh! - as the squeakelers do.' What's a squeakeler? Do you know? Tell me then. I bet you don't. They should have un-made that word up.
~ That bomb. I mean, why? Who on earth has a bomb on his roof?
~ And finally, I'm going to say this: The 'steppin' time' bit. Again, if it had been shorter it would have been splendid. But it was too long and I got tired of all those chimney-sweepers. I do hope you aren't all really angry. :-)
But yes, in the whole, I heartily recommend this movie. It's funny, lovely, happy and will make you cry in the end. It's completely suitable and you should see it (which you probably have, right?). Oh, and there's so many quotable quotes.
Have you seen Mary Poppins?
What did you think of it?