Mary Poppins a musical written by Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi, was based on P. L. Travers’s book series of the same name. The movie blends live-action with animation to tell the story of Mary Poppins, a nanny who visits a dysfunctional family in London and employs her unique brand of lifestyle to improve the family’s home life.
The film’s songs were written and composed by the Sherman Brothers who also wrote and/or worked on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Jungle Book, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, Charlotte’s Web, and The Aristocats. Julie Andrews, starring as the titular character, got her first Oscar nomination (and win) for the movie which received 13 nominations overall and four other wins including Best Picture.
Although Andrews didn’t star, Poppins received a follow-up with last year’s sequel Mary Poppins Returns starring Emily Blunt.
How to Stream ‘Mary Poppins’ – Exclusively on Disney+
Mary Poppins is one of the fan-favorite Disney original movies that will be streaming exclusively on Disney’s new subscription streaming service, Disney+.
You can sign up for a 7-day free trial of Disney+ HERE, which will allow you to stream Mary Poppins and hundreds of other movies and shows on your computer, phone, tablet, smart TV or streaming device. If you extend past the free trial, the service costs $6.99/month. You may also opt for this discount bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.
- 1. Sign up for Disney+ here
- 2. Go to Disneyplus.com or download the Disney+ app on your device
- 3. Log in using your information
- 4. Search for “Mary Poppins”
- 5. Tap on Mary Poppins
- 6. Tap the PLAY button
Disney+ also boasts a vast library of Disney-owned movies and series — plus several new original series coming soon. The service includes unlimited downloads so you can watch offline whenever and wherever you want. The list of compatible devices and smart TVs includes iPads, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Amazon Fire TV, Android, Chromecast, Roku, PS4, and Xbox One.
‘Mary Poppins’: Overview
Release Date: August 27, 1964
Creators: Writers Bill Walsh and Don DaGradi; Director Robert Stevenson
Starring: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, and Glynis Johns
Synopsis: In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father.
How Long Is ‘Mary Poppins’?
Mary Poppins has a runtime of 139 minutes.
‘Mary Poppins’ Plot
In 1910 Edwardian London, Jane and Michael, the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with the prospect of a new nanny. They are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins who whimsically hires herself and convinces the kids’ father, George Banks, that it was originally his idea. Embarking on a series of fantastical adventures with Mary and her Cockney performer friend, Bert, the siblings try to pass on some of their nanny’s sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents. Can the charming Miss Poppins be the answer this family needs?
‘Mary Poppins’ Cast
Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins
Mary Poppins is a magical and loving woman who descends from the clouds in response to the Banks children’s advertisement for a nanny. She is firm in her use of authority but gentle and sweet as well. The character was changed from the original books which saw Mary as a strict and pompous caretaker. Poppins is one out of Andrews’ three Oscar nods; the other two nominations she received were for The Sound of Music and Victor Victoria.
Dick Van Dyke as Bert/Mr. Dawes Senior
Van Dyke plays two separate characters in the film. He’s Bert, a cockney jack-of-all-trades and Mary Poppins’s closest friend, who is completely used to her magical shenanigans. It is implied that their playful interactions have gone on for quite some time and that this kind of story has repeated many times before. Bert has at least four jobs throughout the film which include a one-man band, a pavement chalk artist, a chimney sweep, and a kite seller. Van Dyke can also be seen as Mr. Dawes Sr., the old director of the bank where Mr. Banks works. The movie’s end credits read “Navckid Keyd” for this character, an anagram of “Dick Van Dyke.” The letters unscramble to reveal Van Dyke’s real name shortly after.
David Tomlinson as George Banks
George Banks is Mary Poppins’ employer and father to Jane and Michael. He works at the Dawes Tomes Mousley Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank in London and is described as a driven and disciplined man. Tomlinson also starred in Bedknobs and Broomsticks which was also directed by Robert Stevenson.
Glynis Johns as Winifred Banks
Winifred Banks is the easily distracted wife of George Banks and the mother of Jane and Michael. She is a member of Emmeline Pankhurst’s “Votes for Women” suffragette movement. The character was originally named Cynthia, but this was changed to the more English-sounding Winifred. One year prior, Johns starred in her own TV series named, Glynis, where her character attempted amateur detective work.
Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks
Jane is kind, friendly, and caring, but when paired with her brother Michael, she can be quite rambunctious. By the time of the film’s opening, the two had gone through six nannies in the past four months. Dotrice cameoed in the movie’s sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, as “Elegant Woman.”
Matthew Garber as Michael Banks
When Mary arrives, it seems Michael isn’t nearly as bad as it’s implied. Like his sister, he can be stubborn and mischievous, but also very friendly and playful. The actor sadly died of pancreatitis at the age of 21. Before his death, Garber starred in two other movies, The Three Lives of Thomasina and The Gnome-Mobile, both with his Poppins co-star Dotrice.
‘Mary Poppins’ Songs and Soundtrack
Mary Poppins‘ soundtrack is just under an hour long with all tracks written by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, with music adapted and conducted by Irwin Kostal.
Some of the most popular songs from the movie include:
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – The song is included in the movie’s chalk-drawing animated sequence just after Mary Poppins wins a horse race. When she’s mobbed by reporters asking her leading questions and commenting that she probably is at a loss for words, Mary suggests that there’s at least one word appropriate for the moment.
“A Spoonful of Sugar” – The uptempo track is sung by Mary Poppins as she instructs Jane and Michael to clean their room. According to Mary, even though a task is daunting, it can still be fun with a good attitude.
“Chim Chim Cher-ee” – This song won the 1964 Academy Award for Best Original Song. It’s also marked as one of Andrews’ favorite Disney songs of all time.
The official tracklisting for the film’s soundtrack is as follows:
1. “Overture” (Instrumental) – Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman
2. “Sister Suffragette” – Glynis Johns
3. “The Life I Lead” -David Tomlinson
4. “The Perfect Nanny” – Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber
5. “A Spoonful of Sugar” – Julie Andrews
6. “Pavement Artist” – Dick Van Dyke
7. “Jolly Holiday” – Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke
8. “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” – Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke
9. “Stay Awake” – Julie Andrews
10. “I Love to Laugh” – Dick Van Dyke, Ed Wynn, Julie Andrews
11. “A British Bank (The Life I Lead)” – David Tomlinson, Julie Andrews
12. “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)” – Julie Andrews
13. “Fidelity Fiduciary Bank” – “Navckid Keyd”, Bankers, David Tomlinson
14. “Chim Chim Cher-ee” – Dick Van Dyke, Julie Andrews, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber
15. “Step in Time” – Dick Van Dyke and Cast
16. “A Man Has Dreams” – David Tomlinson, Dick Van Dyke
17. “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” – David Tomlinson, Dick Van Dyke, The Londoners
‘Mary Poppins’ at the Box Office
‘Mary Poppins’ Reviews – What the Critics Said
Mary Poppins holds a 100% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes out of 50 critics’ reviews posted on the site. Most reviews rave over the film’s dazzling special effects, catchy songs, and Andrews’ legendary performance and vocal work.
In The Hollywood Reporter‘s original 1964 review, James Powers wrote, “Mary Poppins is a picture that is, more than most, a triumph of many individual contributions. And its special triumph is that it seems to be the work of a single, cohesive intelligence.” He continued, “The question is not: Have you seen Mary Poppins? The question will be: How often have you seen Mary Poppins?”
“Van Dyke and Andrews have great chemistry together, but it’s really her interaction with the children and the magic of the story and the visual effects that charm audiences,” said James Plath for Family Home Theater.
Van Dyke was also the source of much praise. “Van Dyke’s energy is prodigious (especially when he leaps around with a gang of sooty chimney-sweeps on the London rooftops) and the songs are classics,” wrote Martin Chilton of The Daily Telegraph UK.
‘Mary Poppins’ Trailer
The description for the trailer reads: “In turn of the century London, a magical nanny employs music and adventure to help two neglected children become closer to their father.”
‘Mary Poppins’ Trivia: 5 Fast Facts
1. Walt Disney Really Wanted Julie Andrews As the Titular Character
Walt Disney was so determined to cast Julie Andrews that he offered to delay the filming of Mary Poppins if Andrews was cast as Eliza Dolittle in the film version of My Fair Lady. Audrey Hepburn ended up winning the role of Eliza in the latter, so both movies began filming concurrently.
2. Author P.L. Travers Never Forgave Walt Disney for What She Thought Was a Disrespectful Adaptation of Her Novels.
Unfortunately, Travers, the author of the original Mary Poppins books, hated Disney’s adaptation and reportedly wept at the 1964 premiere…and they weren’t tears of joy. Though the movie did save her from bankruptcy (she received $100,000 and five percent of the movie’s gross earnings), she felt it deleted Poppins’ stern edge that she so diligently crafted. She never forgave Disney.
The relationship between the two was so strained by the end of production that Disney didn’t even invite Travers to the movie’s premiere; she weaseled an invitation out of an assistant.
The 2013 film Saving Mr. Banks, starring Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers, retold the story about the complicated relationship between the writer and producer. He was a relentless optimist, while she held a pragmatic realism to her work.
3. Despite the Hardships Stemming from the Film, Travers Co-wrote A Film Sequel
Travers co-wrote a screenplay for a Mary Poppins film sequel along with writer Brian Sibley using sections of her books that went unused in the first movie. The sequel, titled Mary Poppins Comes Back, was written in the ’80s but ultimately failed to go into production thanks to casting issues and troubles sprung from Disney’s new management.
“Since she died, Pamela’s been painted as an old dragon but it’s not true,” said Sibley during a BBC News interview in 2013. “I’d go round for tea on a Sunday and she was great company. Writing with her turned out to be an eccentric experience but that was because she remained proprietorial about Mary Poppins. But why shouldn’t she be? It was her creation. Though Pamela, who was very spiritual, would probably have said that the character had been given to her.”
4. Dick Van Dyke Wanted To Play Mr. Dawes So Badly He Paid Disney $4,000 To Play A Second Part
When Dick Van Dyke read the script, he’d already been cast in the role of Bert. But, the actor found the part of the Mr. Dawes Sr. so hysterical he lobbied Walt Disney for the role and offered to play it for free. Some sources say the actor was forced to donate to Disney’s film school, CalArts, in order to secure the second role, but the actor told 20/20 otherwise.
“You know, when they made me up as the old man in the old one, I had to go to Walt [Disney] and ask him for the part, he didn’t give it to me. I said, ‘I’ll do it for nothing.’ Actually, I had to give him $4,000 dollars. I had to pay him to do the part,’ the veteran actor recalled.
5. Many Other Actors Were Considered for Van Dyke and Andrews’ Roles
Before Van Dyke was officially hired, Danny Kaye, Fred Astaire, Jim Dale, and Cary Grant were considered for the role of Bert. Travers, wanting the project to remain 100 percent British, suggested actors like Richard Burton, Alec Guinness, Richard Harris, Rex Harrison, Ron Moody, Laurence Olivier, Peter O’Toole, and Peter Sellers.
For the role of Mary Poppins, Disney considered Mary Martin, Bette Davis, and Angela Lansbury considering the colder characterization from Travers’ books. Andrews was first considered after a wowing appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show where she did excerpts from Camelot, the Broadway show she was appearing in at the time.
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