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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Saving Mr. Banks


Emma Thompson is superb as Mary Poppins author PL Travers as she tries to resist Walt Disney's transformation of her famous creation.

Anyone who has seen and loved Mary Poppins as much as I have knows one thing for certain.

"Mary Poppins" is NOT about the kids.

For all its riotous scenes of young Jane and Michael having tea parties on the ceiling and jumping through chalk pavement pictures, it's the uptight Mr Banks who is the real target of Poppins's attentions, as she seeks to break him out of his "bank-shaped cage" and reconnect him with what really matters – his family.

No wonder the enduring Disney classic ends with Mr Banks himself leading everyone in a tear-jerking chorus of Let's Go Fly a Kite.

After all, it was his story all along.

This is the central thrust of Saving Mr Banks, a lovely, sentimental and quietly insightful account of the making of Mary Poppins that traces the roots of Helen Lyndon Goff''s most famous creation to the author's personal paternal past.

Flitting between her childhood in Australia and her later life in London, we see Helen Lyndon Goff being both enchanted and traumatised by her banker father Travers, an alcoholic dreamer with an ebulliently infantile streak whose first name she significantly adopts as a nom de plume.

Positing Rachel Griffiths's sternly haired, pointy-toed "Aunt Ellie" as a potential role model for Poppins herself, the film paints its inspirational back story with broad pop-psychology strokes, drifting between credible biography and fanciful invention with the dexterity of revellers on a Jolly 'Oliday cheerfully dancing with animated penguins.

The meat of this tale takes place in California, where Tom Hanks's tough but avuncular Walt Disney is attempting to convince Emma Thompson's brilliantly snippy "Mrs Travers".

-- "It is so discomforting to hear a perfect stranger use my first name" --

to sign over the rights to her most treasured creation.

Having promised his children that he would bring "our beloved Mary" to the screen, Walt finds himself being snubbed, scolded and generally sniped at by the author who repeatedly says that "Mary Poppins – never just 'Mary' – is not for sale!".

Yet for all her objections to his "silly cartoons", Travers needs Walt's "cold heartless money" (as Bert would say), and thus the two are locked together amid the fairy castles of Disneyland to resolve their differences, with the help of the Sherman brothers, whose gorgeous songs get an equally tough time from the tight-lipped tyrant.

Cue a succession of hilariously exasperating "creative" meetings in which Travers airily dismisses some of the most sublimely inspired sequences of musical-fantasy cinema with the air of a stern school ma'am striking a red pen through the homework of an irksome pupil.

A real-life audio recording of one of those meetings played during the end credits reveals that Thompson isn't over-egging the snippiness in the slightest.

 Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and PL Travers (Emma Thompson) in Saving Mr Banks. Photograph: Fran Ois Duhamel

That Travers never actually reconciled herself with the Disneyfication of Poppins (she vetoed any further films) doesn't matter.

Saving Mr Banks wants us to take the truth with a spoonful of sugar, and The Blind Side director John Lee Hancock juggles the affectionate and the abrasive with ease, creating a scrumptious confection with a soft heart, a tart edge and just the right amount of reality.

This being a Disney production, one might assume that history had been duly whitewashed, but the original screenplay (which was on the 2011 "black list" of hottest scripts) was written without House of Mouse involvement, and once on board their only major stipulation was to insist that Walt did not smoke on screen.

He does however drink and drive a hard bargain, with Hanks confidently portraying the steely resolve behind the twinkling smile and welcoming arms, reminding us that Disney's passion for a Poppins movie was underwritten by the power to make it happen, to get his own way in the end, whether Travers liked it or not.

As for Thompson, who did such a great Scary Mary turn in the Nanny McPhee films, she is sheer perfection in the complex role of "Mrs PL", never allowing the author to descend into crotchety caricature, constantly suggesting a strain of melancholia behind the biting, control-freaky hautiness.

As always, her comic timing is impeccable (she plays the script like Paganini played the violin), but what makes her performance soar is the precisely choreographed physicality.

The tiniest stretch of the lip, an arch angling of the head, the folding of her arms – somewhere between aggressive and defensive.

For all the terse quips and personal reserve, Thompson dances her way through Travers's conflicting emotions, giving us a fully rounded portrait of a person who is hard to like but impossible not to love (although the Shermans may have begged to differ).

Travers actively disliked Disney's movie, but no matter.

Ultimately, they didn't make it for her.

On the other hand, as a diehard Thompsonite who considers Mary Poppins one of the 10 best movies ever made, they appear to have made Saving Mr Banks for me.

And I loved it.

Can Tom Hanks rescue Walt Disney from Saving Mr Banks?

The actor delivers another charmer, but this story about Mary Poppins is more atrocious than supercalifragilisticexpialidocious

What Saving Mr Banks tells us about the original Mary Poppins

 The Guardian Film Show: Saving Mr Banks, Carrie and Jeune et Jolie – video review
Saving Mr Banks – review
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Saving Mr Banks: trashing Mrs Travers?
 Saving Mr Banks - watch Tom Hanks in the trailer for a film about the making of Mary Poppins
 Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson at Saving Mr Banks premiere - video
Saving Mr Banks: London film festival – first look review
Oscar predictions 2014: Saving Mr Banks
Saving Mr Banks trailer hits web – with Tom Hanks starring as Walt Disney

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Saving Mr Banks – review
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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

SAVING MR. BANKS -- Helen Lyndon Goff


An Unbeliever in Disney World
‘Saving Mr. Banks,’ With Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson

“Saving Mr. Banks,” released by Disney, is a movie about the making of a Disney movie (“Mary Poppins”), in which Walt Disney himself (played by Tom Hanks) is a major character.

It includes a visit to Disneyland and, if you look closely, a teaser for its companion theme park in Florida (as yet unbuilt, when the story takes place).

A large Mickey Mouse plush toy appears from time to time to provide an extra touch of humour and warmth.

But it would be unfair to dismiss this picture, directed by J. L. Hancock from a script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith, as an exercise in corporate self-promotion.

It’s more of a mission statement.

It also revisits a proud moment in the company’s history.

The making of “Mary Poppins,” at the time (the early ’60s) the most expensive live-action film Disney had produced, and eventually one of the most lucrative and beloved.

More precisely, “Saving Mr. Banks” recounts the consummation, in business and creative terms, of Walt Disney’s long courtship of Helen Lyndon Goff , the creator of Mary Poppins, played with spirited fussiness by Emma Thompson.

Fans of the book and the earlier movie will know that Banks is the father of the children cared for by Mary Poppins, but even those entirely innocent of her previous literary and cinematic incarnations — if such people exist — will find this movie accessible and enjoyable.

That is part of the Disney brand, of course: fun for everyone, with a spoonful of therapeutic medicine to help the sugar seem nutritious.

The best parts of “Saving Mr. Banks” offer an embellished, tidied-up but nonetheless reasonably authentic glimpse of the Disney entertainment machine at work.

Mrs. Travers, as she insists on being called, is a starchy, grouchy Londoner whose books have stopped selling.

At the urging of her agent, she submits to the ordeal of a first-class flight to Los Angeles, a suite at the Beverly Hills Hotel and daily limousine service to Burbank, where she is plied with cookies, snack cakes, Jell-O squares and, when she insists on it, tea.

None of this Southern California hospitality — or the friendliness of her driver (an unusually sunny Paul Giamatti) — melts Mrs. Travers’s determination to protect her creation from Disney’s whimsy.

“I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons,” she declares.

Walt, aware that he does not yet have the rights to “Mary Poppins,” grants her script approval.

She proceeds to torment the screenwriter Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and the songwriting team of Richard and Robert Sherman (Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak) with objections about everything from casting to costumes to the grammar of the screenplay.

The audience, meanwhile, is treated to stripped-down, in-progress versions of songs from “Mary Poppins,” notably the infectious “Let’s Go And Fly a Kite.”

But this is not just the tale of how the happy artisans of Hollywood and their boss soften the heart of an uptight Englishwoman.

It is that, of course.

Ms. Thompson has no peer when it comes to British stiffness, and Mr. Hanks is a master of evocative facial hair, American regional accents and earnest likability.

His Missouri twang, mellowed by the California sun, is as friendly and reassuring as the real Walt Disney’s used to be every Sunday night when he introduced his television broadcast.

Usually preceded by an off-screen cough — a premonition of the lung cancer that would kill him a couple of years after the “Mary Poppins” premiere — Walt is less a mogul than a kind and reliable daddy.

He dotes on his intellectual properties (the mouse, the park, the picture) as if they were his children.

He wants to adapt Mrs. Travers’s novel to keep a promise to his daughters.

As it turns out — as we discover long before Walt does — the author’s own daddy issues are at the heart of her reluctance to play nice in the Disney creative sandbox.

“Saving Mr. Banks” toggles between 1961 Burbank and a dusty village in Australia more than half a century before, when the future P. L. Travers was a little girl named Helen Goff (Annie Rose Buckley), nicknamed Ginty by her beloved father (Colin Farrell).

An impish, imaginative fellow, he is also a hopeless alcoholic, barely able to hold onto his job managing a bank, and causing his poor wife (Ruth Wilson) no end of worry.

Hancock (“The Blind Side”) integrates the two plots — the charming backstage comedy and the Down Under family melodrama — as smoothly as he can.

As is often the case in movies structured this way, though, the elements distort rather than illuminate each other.

The tale of Ginty and her dad is thick with dubious sentiment and leavened with glimmers of sensitive wisdom, but the light it casts on the grown-up Mrs. Travers is harshly literal.

The film asks us to believe that she is at once an astute storyteller and an emotional automaton entirely lacking in psychological insight.

It also indulges in the common biographical fallacy of grounding adult creativity in childhood misery.

A Spoonful of Sugar for a Sourpuss

Walt and Mrs. Travers have that in common, and Walt, in a late, decisive conversation, explains that their job as storytellers is to “restore order” to the chaos of life and infuse bleak realities with bright, happy colours.

Imagination, in other words, is a form of repression.

Joy is a kind of denial.

Mary Poppins may have had a different idea.

She is, on the page, committed to solving problems rather than wishing them away.

But the Disney version has proved more powerful, more seductive and, it almost goes without saying, more profitable.
“Saving Mr. Banks” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Briefly glimpsed smoking, and scenes of death and illness.
Saving Mr. Banks

Directed by John Lee Hancock; written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith; director of photography, John Schwartzman; edited by Mark Livolsi; music by Thomas Newman; production design by Michael Corenblith; costumes by Daniel Orlandi; produced by Alison Owen, Ian Collie and Philip Steuer; released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. Running time: 2 hours.

WITH: Emma Thompson (P. L. Travers), Tom Hanks (Walt Disney), Paul Giamatti (Ralph), Jason Schwartzman (Richard Sherman), Bradley Whitford (Don DaGradi), Annie Rose Buckley (Ginty), Ruth Wilson (Margaret Goff), B. J. Novak (Robert Sherman), Rachel Griffiths (Aunt Ellie), Kathy Baker (Tommie), Colin Farrell (Travers Goff) and Melanie Paxson (Dolly).

Wow! How do you make a movie about a Disney film that doesn't include all those, ahem, "product placements" you mentioned? (and did you really have to "look closely" to see that huge map of Florida?).

Yes, in the words of Woody Allen, "no matter how cynical you are you can't keep up," but Scott is certainly on the cutting edge of cynicism here.

I know it's an anathema for a critic to be viewed as being "taken" by a movie, but if there ever was a film to just sit back, relax and enjoy it's Saving Mr. Banks.

On another note (no pun intended), the songs of Robert and Richard Sherman for Mary Poppins have inexplicably never been held in the same regard as those of other great American musicals (Oklahoma, West Side Story, etc.) as they deserve, perhaps owing to some dusty snobbiness of hearing them for the first time in film rather than live on stage.

Hopefully Saving Mr. Banks will "restore order" where this is concerned.

I haven't seen the movie but I read the script.

I laughed in some places and cried in some places and I very much enjoyed it.

It is a psychological piece on Travers.

I also read a review of the book the movie was based on.

Travers views on the movie were complicated.

After all she had script approval so one can't say that it was totally different from what she expected.

She got royalties on the gross of the movie which was a pretty good deal someone worked out for her.

"Thank you for your Rating" says the NYTimes, but I realize that checking one circle can't actually convey a correct mental/emotional/physical response to this holiday offering.

In future, I beg the Movie Review section to offer perhaps 5 more circles to the left of Poor. How about -1 = Gagging. -2 = fixed stare, -3 = early on-set dementia, -4 = cerebral aneurysm, -5 = spontaneous destruction of pre-frontal cortex.

We watched the screener and if it's the same irritating dreck being shown on hundreds of screens beginning this Friday, I can only advise: save yourselves.

Wait until it's on DVD which should be in mid-January so you can take frequent bathroom and gin breaks.


You know how you can watch something and think it's really not very good, poorly written perhaps, or the characters aren't persuasive, or the direction seems loose, but it does have moments of clarity, of style, of creative intent, and, with a few little fixes, it could be really OK?

Please know this: "Saving Mr. Banks" is not that movie.

It is stupid, and I mean that in the purest sense of the word.

Puerile. Inane. And as an homage to Mr. Disney, it is Dopey.

The characters have the depth of a Richard Petty cardboard stand-alone in a liquor store.

If only they were as silent.

Between Ms. Thompson's nasal gnatterings and Mr. Disney's forced bonhomie one has no recourse but to dive for the exit.

If you feel you really want to give your money over to see this monstrosity I can only suggest you take an aisle seat near the back. You will leave sooner than you can imagine.

To any of the flinty comments above I would reply (and ask).

What do you make of the taped evidence produced at the end of the film?

Did anybody stay for the credits?

That reveals the underlying reality.

This film includes some hard scenes, quite realistic, such as Travers Goff dying of influenza. So let's not think that there's no dark side to this picture (it's displayed in digital form, if nobody noticed), however fanciful certain scenes might be. I had not expected to be moved--but I was.

The film "Mary Poppins" I find a little cloying now (as a child I found it a great film musical). And it won Julie Andrews a well deserved Oscar after Jack Warner rejected her for the quite sincere but miscast Audrey Hepburn.

So let's hear from the cynics above how they view the death on screen of a child's father, and how that might affect a young child. This picture has a lot to say about how authors cathartically turn their own hard experience of life into tales that children love to read. Actually, that makes for pretty good cinema.

Who chooses to echo "Saving Private Ryan" for any other film, but especially something with such a lightweight subject matter. Was there some underlying, earlier property with that title?

As this review ends on a sly note hinting at the real lowdown on LOTS more questionable Disney lore: read "The Disney Version: The Life, Times, Art and Commerce of Walt Disney" by Richard Schickel. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Disney_Version.

At least this movie isn't a musical.

Perhaps someone can take the story to Broadway as a musical comedy.

After that, Disney Co. can re-adapt that show for the silver screen.

..the Disney version always wins! The true story is just as fascinating but this is a Disney film. So enjoy it as a film, not truth.

Agree about the accent. Mr Hanks is somewhere in the southwest with a strange lilt to his voice, rather than mid west.

It's a shame also he couldn't have trained the timber of his voice. I can still hear Mr Disney's distinctive voice on his weekly Disneyland show, which none of us kids ever missed in the '60's. His presence was not broad. While Tom Hanks is a wonderful actor, but he misses the characterization of Walt Disney and is far too contemporary for the role.

This is a well-meaning movie, and Emma Thompson's character is meant to be a stiff-backed Brit.

But no Brit was ever this stiff-backed without being a complete sociopathic, narcissistic, miserable human being at the same time.

I had to stop watching.

No amount of paternal alcoholism justifies being such an abrasive, dismissive egotist.

It wasn't just with the Disney folk, whose treatment of her creation she feared would cheapen it; she was a miserable, insufferable person with everyone she encountered. I completely lost interest.

Haven't seen this; don't intend to.

It looks unfortunately very like the awful "Hitchcock," with its facile pseudo-psychology, its klunky re-enactments, and its inappropriate star-driven casting.

Such projects would be negligible, except that I fear that they have the effect of depriving us of what could be challenging, insightful portraits of the creative process.

It's ironic that portrayals of artists who have often touched a nerve of truth in their work are so frequently marred by these sorts of simplifying, saccharine misrepresentations.

Uncle Walt was hardly around the studio when "Mary Poppins" was being made and never took P. L. Travers to Disneyland.

Thank God for the film to improve on reality which is a big reason we love movies!

There is a deep flaw in the movie's script. The struggle between Travers and Disney is repeatedly interrupted by long flashbacks to her childhood in Australia. Just as the story gets some momentum, it veers back to yet another scene of her alcoholic father. We need to be told once, but the screenwriters repeat this over and over again.

And the numerous flashbacks are clumsily inserted. It's no "Citizen Kane." The film's Australia is obviously California.

The Tom Hanks version of Walt Disney never convinces for a minute. It's just Tom Hanks in a wig with a strange accent that doesn't come near Walt's. They got the tie right. (Smoke Tree Ranch, for you Disney geeks.)

The true story of Walt's long haul to make "Mary Poppins" is fascinating. It was told much better in The New Yorker several years ago. Find that version.

This movie is like rubbing salt into a wound.

It is no secret that Travers despised the way Disney "Disneyfied" her story and absolutely forbid the Disney team that created the movie from ever being involved in any other Mary Poppins related endeavor.

Instead of just letting old dogs lie, the Old Dog just has to lie and not only saccharanize the original story, but then sugarcoat the story of putting the original story to screen. What I would really like to see is a documentary on how both movies were made (i.e, the shear breadth of shameless corporate self-propoganda).

SAVING MR BANKS -- Traversiana -- Helen Lyndon Goff


Forget the Spoonful of Sugar: It’s Uncle Walt, Uncensored
‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Depicts a Walt Disney With Faults

BURBANK, Calif. —

In the film “Saving Mr. Banks,” a comedic drama about the turbulent making of “Mary Poppins” in the 1960s, Walt Disney acts in a very un-Disney way.

He slugs back Scotch.

He uses a mild curse word.

He wheezes because he smokes too much.
The real shocker?

Walt Disney Studios made the film.

“Saving Mr. Banks,” which stars Tom Hanks as the mustachioed founder of the Walt Disney Company and Emma Thompson as the cantankerous novelist Helen Lyndon Goff, is a small movie that cost less than $35 million to make.

But its existence says something big about Disney.

Despite its well-earned reputation for aggressively managing its image, it can get out of the way and let film makers lead.

“Wow, this was so not the battle I anticipated,” said Alison Owen, the independent producer behind “Saving Mr. Banks,” which also pokes fun at Disney’s sometimes-syrupy brand of entertainment.

“Disney behaved impeccably.”

Every studio is controlling, but Disney, with its vast merchandise and theme park divisions, has a particular reputation in Hollywood — fairly or not (and the studio argues not) — for having a more narrowly focused and synergistic approach to filmmaking.

In recent years the studio has made some headway in courting leading live-action writers and directors, but some still self-edit.

Disney will never make this movie, so let’s not even try.

Those involved in “Saving Mr. Banks,” which closed the London Film Festival, were nervous even after the script was successfully lobbed over the Disney transom.

Would the company try to turn the film into a type of corporate video?

“I was a bit afraid because we wanted to be honest about Walt,” said the director, John Lee Hancock, who chose the film as his follow-up to “The Blind Side” (2009).

“I imagined the moment when Disney would say, ‘Sorry, we like him better as a god than a human.’

To their credit, they were smart enough and brave enough to realize that a human Walt was not only a better character, but was easier to love.”

Hancock gently added, “Sometimes somebody else can tell you more about your father than you can.”

“Saving Mr. Banks,” which did not arrive in theaters until Dec. 13 was already generating serious Oscar buzz, in particular for Ms. Thompson.

It got its start at Disney one evening in November 2011.

Sean Bailey, the studio’s president for production, received a call from a lieutenant, Tendo Nagenda.

There was a script, written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith outside the Disney system, that required immediate attention.

It was very good, Nagenda advised, but it also potentially touched a third rail: Walt Disney was a lead character.

“It very quickly went all the way to the top,” Mr. Bailey said, referring to Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chairman and chief executive.

The company swiftly considered all of its options.

One of them was to buy the script simply to park it, so that the movie’s portrayal of Walt Disney never reached theaters.

“Do we buy it defensively?” Mr. Bailey said in an interview, describing the discussions at Disney headquarters here.

“Do we say we’re not going to buy it, but it could be difficult for you if you take it anywhere else?

Or do we buy it and make it?”

Mr. Iger, who has made balancing Disney’s heritage with innovation one of his hallmarks, asked what the studio saw in the script.

Boring into Disney bedrock was worth the risk, the movie team responded, because the project hit on multiple themes.

On its surface, “Saving Mr. Banks” is about the lengths Walt Disney went to for “Mary Poppins.”

But it also serves as “an exploration of storytelling, why storytelling matters in the world, and how storytelling can change people’s lives,” Mr. Bailey said.

It is also about coming to terms with one’s past, he added.

Mr. Iger signed off and went an unusual step further, personally calling Mr. Hanks to ask him to consider the Disney role.

“We have never depicted Walt before, so you can imagine how much trust was needed,” Mr. Bailey said.

Hanks and Disney’s studio chairman, Alan F. Horn, in turn went to meet with Diane Disney-Miller, Walt Disney’s sole surviving child.

A spokeswoman for Miller, who is 79, said she was unavailable for an interview because of “medical issues.”

But she might be pleased.

For years, Miller has worried that her father has become too much of a corporate mascot, even going as far as to open a museum aimed at depicting his human side.

My kids have literally encountered people who didn’t know that my father was a person, Miller, who with her husband, Ronald, has seven children, said at the museum’s opening.

It will be a busy couple of months for her father, who died in 1966.

An unrelated Disney film project, the new animated short film “Get a Horse,” arrives in November attached to the full-length feature “Frozen” and uses his old voice recordings for Mickey Mouse’s lines.

But while “Get a Horse” is an overt celebration of the studio’s heritage, “Saving Mr. Banks” at times lampoons the company’s style.

“I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons,” Ms. Thompson’s character says of Mary Poppins.

No, she says, a visit to Disneyland would not change her mind; in fact, she would be “sickened” to visit that “dollar-printing machine.”

And in one scene that has gotten big laughs in early screenings, Ms. Thompson’s cranky writer arrives at her hotel for meetings with Walt Disney to find her room stuffed with balloons, caramel corn and toys.

Shoving a stuffed Mickey Mouse into a corner, she snaps, “You can stay there until you learn the art of subtlety.”

Life imitated art last year when Ms. Thompson arrived for filming and found that Disney had done the same thing to her hotel suite. “Believe it or not,” Mr. Bailey said with a twinkle in his eye, “we do have a sense of humor.”

Helen Lyndon Goff


Mary Poppins is a fictional character and the protagonist of H. L. Goff's "Mary Poppins" and all of its adaptations.

A magical English nanny, she blows in on the East Wind and arrives at the Banks', home at Number Seventeen, Cherry Tree Lane, London where she is given charge of the Banks children and teaches them valuable lessons with a magical touch.

Julie Andrews, who played the character in the film adaptation, won the Academy Award for Best Actress.

British film magazine Empire ranked Mary Poppins (as played by Andrews) the 41st greatest movie character.

A quintessential English nanny, Mary Poppins is slightly stern but loving woman, who uses magic and self-control to take care of the Banks children.

She is usually identifiable by her sensible hat and parrot umbrella which she brings with her wherever she goes on outings.

She is loving and kind towards the children, but can be firm when needed.

She is "practically perfect in every way."

In the film version, she is a young woman, with an air of grace and elegance about her.

Mary Poppins in H. L. Goff's' book is strict and no-nonsense, asserting her unusual brand of discipline over the FIVE Banks children in her charge.

Mary Poppins is very VAIN and is ALWAYS admiring herself in the mirror and other reflections.

Mary Poppins CONSTANTLY scolds the children for their bad behaviour, especially when they point out the magical things she does, for she constantly denies she is anything but a prim and proper lady.

Mary Poppins only shows her gentler side around her friends, among them Bert, a Matchman, Mrs. Corry, and Nellie-Rubina.

Mary Poppins has many relatives, each with their own super-natural or otherwise eccentric nature, at least one of whom appears in each book.

Mary Poppins appears to be well known to every sort of magical entity (sorcerers, talking animals, etc.) that appear in the books, some of whom love her dearly and others of whom are quite terrified of her.

Some characters, most notably an impudent jackdaw seen in the first two books, call her "The Great Exception," meaning, among other things, that Mary Poppins is the only human being who has retained the magical secrets infants possess (such as the power to communicate with animals) until they grow up and forget about them.

Some of Mary Poppins's adventures occur in London, others in strange realms which later writers might identify as magical dimensions.

In literary terms, she might be described as a character who exists in every conceivable fantasy genre (gothic, mythic, urban, etc.) at once.

There are many strange people and phenomena in the world, but only Mary Poppins is familiar with them all.

Mary Poppins in the Disney film, as portrayed by Julie Andrews, is also stern but at the same time more gentle, cheerful, and nurturing of the two Banks children of whom she is in charge.

Mary also has a friendship with Bert, a jack-of-all-trades who is quite at home with Mary's brand of magic.

She also is LESS VAIN and selfish, and far more sympathetic towards the two children than the nanny in the original stories.

In both the West End and Broadway versions of the stage musical, the Mary Poppins character is more deliberately mysterious than in the movie version.

She is stricter with the children (who are also naughtier than their book and movie counterparts) but she only wants them to become the best they can be.

Mary Poppins in the stage version is also more aware of Bert's feelings towards her.
Actresses who have played Mary Poppins:

Julie Andrews, in the Disney film and in all English Merchandise.
Mary Wickes, in an episode of the television series Studio One in 1949.
Natalya Andrejchenko (acting) and Tatyana Voronina (singing), in the 1983 Soviet movie.
Juliet Stevenson, in the BBC Radio adaptation of the novel.
Laura Michelle Kelly, in the original London and Broadway productions of the stage musical.
Ashley Brown, in the original Broadway and original US tour productions of the stage musical.
Scarlett Strallen, in the London and Broadway productions of the stage musical.
Bianca Marroquín, in the Mexican production of the stage musical.
Lisa O'Hare, in the London and UK tour production of the stage musical.
Caroline Sheen, in the original UK tour and US tour productions of the stage musical.
Rani Mukherjee, in the Bollywood film Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic.
Linda Olsson, in the Swedish production of the stage musical.
Noortje Herlaar, in the Dutch production of the stage musical.
Verity Hunt-Ballard, in the original Australian production of the stage musical.
Anne Hathaway, played the role (in tribute to Julie Andrews) in a short parody sketch at season 34, episode 4 of Saturday Night Live in 2008.
Steffanie Leigh, in the US tour and Broadway productions of the stage musical.
Rachel Wallace, in the US tour production of the stage musical.
Madeline Trumble, in the US tour production of the stage musical.
Victoria Summer as Julie Andrews, in Saving Mr. Banks


Neil Gaiman's short story "The Problem of Susan" mentions a posthumously (for P. L. Travers) published work Mary Poppins Brings in the Dawn, in which Mary Poppins was Jesus's nanny and was therefore herself not part of God's creation.

Mary Poppins appears in the third League of Extraordinary Gentlemen graphic novel, in the Black Dossier when it returns to Margaret Cavendish's Blazing World.

She later reappears in Century: 2009, where she defeats the Antichrist created by Oliver Haddo.

In this appearance, she and other characters hint that she may be a personification of God.

In the short story "El problema de la pequeña cliente," (The Problem of the Little Client) a Sherlock Holmes pastiche by Spanish writer Alberto López Aroca, included in the volume "Nadie lo sabrá nunca," (2005, ISBN 978-84-609-7429-1) the detective of Baker Street is hired by a little girl to find her missing nurse, Mary Poppins. In the story, set in Cherry Tree Lane, Bert also appears.

In a sequence of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games a small army of Mary Poppinses land on stage to fight and defeat the nightmares which were haunting children's dreams. The sequence is called "Second to the right and straight on till morning."
^ Jump up to: a b Joanne Shattock (1993). "The Oxford Guide to British Women Writers". p.430. Oxford University Press, 1993
Jump up ^ "The 100 Greatest Movie Characters". Empire. Retrieved 2 April 2013
P. L. Travers' Mary Poppins

BooksMary Poppins (1934)
Mary Poppins Comes Back (1935)
Mary Poppins Opens the Door (1943)
Mary Poppins in the Park (1952)
Mary Poppins From A to Z (1962)
Mary Poppins in the Kitchen (1975)
Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane (1982)
Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (1988)

CharactersMary Poppins
Mr. Banks
Mrs. Banks
The Banks children
Miss Lark
Admiral Boom
The servants

AdaptionsMary Poppins (film) (1964)
Mary Poppins, Goodbye (musical miniseries) (1983)
Mary Poppins (musical) (2004)

Songs"Sister Suffragette"
"The Life I Lead"
"The Perfect Nanny"
"A Spoonful of Sugar"
"Jolly Holiday"
"Stay Awake"
"I Love to Laugh"
"Feed the Birds"
"Fidelity Fiduciary Bank"
"Chim Chim Cher-ee"
"Step in Time"
"A Man Has Dreams"
"Let's Go Fly a Kite"

RelatedSaving Mr. Banks (2013)

Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Mary_Poppins_(character)&oldid=587588836"
Disney characters originating in film
Fictional nannies
Fictional characters introduced in 1934
Mary Poppins
Characters in British novels of the 20th century

TRAVERSIANA: Helen Lyndon Hoff


Helen Lyndon Goff
(1899-08-09)9 August 1899
Maryborough, Colony of Queensland
Died23 April 1996(1996-04-23)
London, England
Resting placeSt Mary the Virgin's Church, Twickenham, England
OccupationWriter, actress, journalist
GenresChildren's literature
ChildrenCamillus Travers Hone
(adopted son)

TRAVERSIANA -- Helen Lyndon Goff


Helen Lyndon Goff was born in Australia on August 9th 1899.

She was an English novelist, actress and journalist.

In 1933, Goff began writing her series of novels about the mystical and magical English nanny "Mary Poppins". 

Goff's books have been adapted many times, including the 1964 film starring Julie Andrews and the Broadway musical originally produced in London's West End.

Helen Lyndon Goff was the daughter of an unsuccessful bank manager (later demoted to bank clerk) Deptford (South London)-born Travers Robert Goff.

Helen Goff's mother was Margaret Agnes Morehead, sister of Boyd Dunlop Morehead, who was Premier of Queensland from 1888 to 1890.

T. R. Goff's job took the family to Allora in 1905, where he died of influenza two years later, aged only 43.

Following this, Helen Goff and her mother and sisters moved to Bowral, New South Wales in 1907, and lived there until 1917.

 Helen Goff boarded at Normanhurst in Sydney during the Great War.

 Helen Goff began publishing her poems while still a teen-ager and wrote for "The Bulletin" and "Triad" while also gaining a reputation as an actress.

 Helen Goff soon adopted the stage name "Pamela Lyndon Travers".

Helen Goff toured Australia and New Zealand with a Shakespearean touring company before leaving for England in 1924.

In England, Helen Goff dedicated herself to writing under the pen name "P. L. Travers".

In 1931, Helen Goff moved out of a rented flat in London that she shared with her friend Madge Burnand, and the two set up home together in a thatched cottage in Sussex.

It was in this thatched cottage in Sussex, in the winter of 1933, that she began to write the novel "Mary Poppins".

Travers greatly admired and emulated J. M. Barrie, the author of the novel "Peter Pan", which bears many structural resemblances to the Mary Poppins series.

Indeed, Goff's first publisher was P. L. Davies, Barrie's adopted son and widely regarded as the model for Peter Pan.

In 1925 while in Ireland, Goff met the poet George William Russell (who wrote under the name "Æ") who, as editor of The Irish Statesman, accepted some of her poems for publication.

Through Russell, Goff met W. B. Yeats, Oliver St. John Gogarty, and other Irish poets who fostered her interest in and knowledge of mythology.

 Hoff had studied the Gurdjieff System under Jane Heap and in March 1936, with the help of Jessie Orage, she met the mystic George Gurdjieff, who would have a great effect on her, as well as on several other literary figures.

While appearing as a guest on BBC Radio 4's radio program Desert Island Discs, Hoff revealed that the name ‘Mary Poppins’ originates from childhood stories that she contrived for her sisters, and that she was still in possession of a book from that age with this name inscribed within.

Published in London in 1934, "Mary Poppins" was Hoff's first literary success.

Sequels followed (the last in 1988), as well as a collection of other novels, poetry collections and works of non-fiction.

 From 1939 to 1945, Hoff lived in New York where she worked for the British Ministry of Information.

It was there that Roy Disney first contacted Hoff about selling the "Mary Poppins" character to the Disney studio for film use.

After the war, Hoff became "Writer-in-Residence" at Radcliffe Hall, Harvard and Smith Hall. 

Hoff returned to England, making only one brief visit to Sydney in 1960 while on her way to Japan to study Zen mysticism.

However, in the early 1970s, flush with more royalties from the Mary Poppins film, Hoff spent about two years with the native American Hopi Indian reservations on some personal research.

The Disney musical adaptation was released in 1964.

Primarily based on the first novel in what was then a sequence of four books, it also lifted elements from the sequel Mary Poppins Comes Back.

Although an adviser to the production, Hoff disapproved of the dilution of the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins's character, felt ambivalent about the music, and so hated the use of animation that she ruled out any further adaptations of the later Mary Poppins novels.

At the American film's star-studded premiere (to which she was not invited, but had to ask Walt Disney for permission to attend), Hoff reportedly approached Disney and told him that the animated sequence "had to go".

Disney responded by walking away, saying as he did, "Pamela, the ship has sailed".

Enraged at what she considered shabby treatment at Disney's hands, Hoff would never again agree to another Poppins/Disney adaptation, though Disney made several attempts to persuade her to change her mind.

So fervent was Hoff''s dislike of the Disney adaptation and of the way she had been treated during the production that when producer Cameron Mackintosh approached her about the stage musical when she was into her 90s, she acquiesced on the condition that only English-born writers (and specifically no Americans) and no one from the film production were to be directly involved with the creative process of the stage musical.

This specifically excluded the Sherman Brothers from writing additional songs for the production, even though they were still very prolific.

However, original songs and other aspects from the 1964 film were allowed to be incorporated into the production.

These points were stipulated in her last will and testament.

 Although she never married, she had relationships with both men and women.

 She had a sexual relationship with Madge Burnand, and certainly one with Jessie Orage.

At the age of 40 Travers adopted a baby boy from Ireland named Camillus Hone.

He was one of seven grandchildren of Joseph and Vera Hone, Joseph being W. B. Yeats' first biographer.

Camillo was one of twins, but Hoff refused to take his twin brother Anthony Merluzzo or any of their other siblings.

She selected Camillo based on advice from her astrologer.

Anthony remained with his grandparents.

Neither boy was aware of the other twin's existence until the age of 17, when Anthony Hone appeared unannounced at Hoff''s London home.

Hoff was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1977.

She died in London reportedly of an epileptic seizure delirium.

Her adopted son Camillo died in London in November 2011.

Her Works include:

"Mary Poppins", London: Gerald Howe, 1934

"Mary Poppins Comes Back", London: L. Dickson and Thompson Ltd., 1935

I Go By Sea, I Go By Land, London: Peter Davies, 1941
Aunt Sass, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1941
Ah Wong, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1943

"Mary Poppins Opens the Door", London: Peter Davies, 1944
Johnny Delaney, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1944

"Mary Poppins in the Park", London: Peter Davies, 1952
Gingerbread Shop (1952)
Mr. Wigg's Birthday Party (1952)
The Magic Compass (1953)

"Mary Poppins From A-Z", London: Collins, 1963
The Fox at the Manger, London: Collins, 1963
Friend Monkey, London: Collins, 1972

"Mary Poppins in the Kitchen", New York & London: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1975
Two Pairs of Shoes, New York: Viking Press, 1980

"Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane", London: Collins, 1982

"Mary Poppins and the House Next Door", New York: Delacorte Press, 1989

"Stories from Mary Poppins" (1952)

Moscow Excursion, New York: Reynal & Hitchcock, 1934
About the Sleeping Beauty, London: Collins, 1975
What the Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol and Story (1989)


 P.L. Travers. Patricia Demers, Twayne Publishers, 1991, 141 p.
Out of the Sky She Came: The Life of P.L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins Valerie Lawson 1999

A Lively Oracle: a Centennial Celebration of P. L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins. Ellen Dooling Draper and Jenny Koralek, editors. (New York: Larson Publications, 1999).
Mary Poppins She Wrote. Lawson,V., Aurum Press, 2005. ISBN 1-84513-126-6


 ^ a b c d Picardie, Justine (28 October 2008). "Was P L Travers the real Mary Poppins?". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
^ Lawson, Valerie (1999). Out of the Sky She Came. Hatchette Australia.
^ [1]
^ Lawson, Valerie (2006). Mary Poppins, she wrote. Simon & Schuster. p. 185. ISBN 0-7432-9816-0.
^ Roy Plomley (May 21, 1977). "Desert Island Discs - P L Travers". http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4.
^ Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature (2005) Bernice E. Cullinan, Diane Goetz Person. Continuum International Publishing Group. p.784 ISBN 9780826417787 Retrieved: Nov 2012
^ Jodie Minus, "There's something about Mary", The Weekend Australian, 10-11 April 2004. p.R6
This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (April 2012)

External links[edit source | editbeta]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to: P. L. Travers
Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: P. L. Travers

P. L. Travers at Find a Grave
Edwina Burness, Jerry Griswold (Winter 1982). "P. L. Travers, The Art of Fiction No. 63". The Paris Review.
Gurdjieff by P.L. Travers, from Man, Myth and Magic: Encyclopedia of the Supernatural 12 vol., (London: Purnell, 1970–1971) reprinted on the International Gurdjieff Review web site.
Finding aid to Papers of P. L. Travers in State Library of New South Wales (pdf file).
Becoming Mary Poppins: P. L. Travers, Walt Disney, and the making of a myth. (Caitlin Flanagan, The New Yorker, 12 December 2005)
Secret Life of a Letter to the Editor, (Valerie Lawson, Columbia Journalism Review, February 2006)[dead link]
[2] Mark Bostridge on P.L. Travers and Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

BooksMary Poppins (1934)
Mary Poppins Comes Back (1935)
Mary Poppins Opens the Door (1943)
Mary Poppins in the Park (1952)
Mary Poppins From A to Z (1962)
Mary Poppins in the Kitchen (1975)
Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane (1982)
Mary Poppins and the House Next Door (1988)

CharactersMary Poppins
Mr. Banks
Mrs. Banks
The Banks children
Miss Lark
Admiral Boom
The servants

AdaptionsMary Poppins (film) (1964)
Mary Poppins, Goodbye (musical miniseries) (1983)
Mary Poppins (musical) (2004)

Songs"Sister Suffragette"
"The Life I Lead"
"The Perfect Nanny"
"A Spoonful of Sugar"
"Jolly Holiday"
"Stay Awake"
"I Love to Laugh"
"Feed the Birds"
"Fidelity Fiduciary Bank"
"Chim Chim Cher-ee"
"Step in Time"
"A Man Has Dreams"
"Let's Go Fly a Kite"

RelatedSaving Mr. Banks (2013)

NameTravers, PL
Alternative names
Short descriptionAustralian writer
Date of birth9 August 1899
Place of birthMaryborough, Queensland, Australia
Date of death23 April 1996
Place of deathLondon, England
index.php?title=Special:CentralAutoLogin/start&type=1x1&from=enwiki" alt="" title="" width="1" height="1" style="border: none; position: absolute;" />
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=P._L._Travers&oldid=568833875"
1899 births
1996 deaths
Australian children's writers
Australian fantasy writers
Australian novelists
Australian women novelists
Australian women poets
Australian women writers
British children's writers
British fantasy writers
English women novelists
English women poets
English women writers
Officers of the Order of the British Empire
People from Maryborough, Queensland
Writers from London
Writers from Queensland
Mary Poppins
20th-century Australian novelists
20th-century British novelists
20th-century women writers



"Saving Mr. Banks" is a 2013 British historical comedy-drama film directed by J. L. Hancock from a screenplay written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith.

Centered on the development of the film "Mary Poppins", the film stars Emma Thompson as author P. L. Travers, with supporting roles from Colin Farrell.

Taking its title from the father in Travers' story, the film depicts the Travers's fortnight-long briefing in 1961 Los Angeles as she is persuaded by Disney, in his attempts to obtain the screen rights to her novels.

Produced by BBC Films, Saving Mr. Banks was shot entirely in the Southern California area; primarily at the Walt Disney Studios, where a majority of the film takes place.

The film was released theatrically in the U.K. on November 29, 2013, and in the United States on December 13, 2013.

It was met with positive reviews, with praise directed towards the acting, screenplay, and production merits.

Directed by John Lee Hancock

Produced by Alison Owen, Ian Collie, and Philip Steuer

Written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith

Starring Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, and Colin Farrell

Music by Thomas Newman

Cinematography by John Schwartzman

Editing by Mark Livolsi

Studio: BBC Films

Release date: October 20, 2013 (BFI London Film Festival)

 Running time
125 minutes[1]

 United Kingdom
Language: English

$35 million[2]

Box office: $15,447,000[3]

The film centers on the life of Travers, shifting between 1906 with her childhood in Queensland, Australia and the 1961 negotiations with Walt Disney.

While in California for pre-production, Travers thinks back to her difficult childhood in Australia, most especially to her father, the inspiration for the role of the story’s patriarch, Mr. Banks.

Emma Thompson as Pamela "P. L." Travers, author of Mary Poppins.[10]
Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, filmmaker and producer of the film.
Colin Farrell as Travers Robert Goff, Pamela's ill-tempered and alcoholic, yet loving father.
Ruth Wilson as Margaret Goff, Pamela's mother
Paul Giamatti as Ralph, Pamela's chauffeur.[14][15]
Rachel Griffiths as Aunt Ellie, Margaret's sister
Bradley Whitford as Don DaGradi, co-writer of the 1964 film.[9]
Jason Schwartzman as Richard M. Sherman, composer/lyricist who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Robert.[16]
B. J. Novak as Robert B. Sherman, composer/lyricist who co-wrote the film's songs with his brother Richard.[16]
Kathy Baker as Tommie, a trusted studio executive[9][13]
Melanie Paxson as Dolly (Dolores Voght Scott), Walt Disney's secretary
Annie Rose Buckley as a young P. L. Travers, Helen Goff, nicknamed "Ginty".
Ronan Vibert as Diarmuid Russell, Pamela's agent[17]

Dendrie Taylor, Victoria Summer, and Kristopher Kyer appear in minor, non-speaking roles as Lillian Disney, Julie Andrews, and Dick Van Dyke, respectively. [17][18]

Australian producer Ian Collie produced a documentary film on P. L. Travers, entitled The Shadow of "Mary Poppins".

During the documentary's production, Collie noticed that there was an obvious biopic there and convinced Essential Media and Entertainment to develop a feature film with Sue Smith writing the screenplay.

The project attracted the attention of the BBC, which decided to finance the project, and Ruby Films' Alison Owen, who subsequently hired Kelly Marcel to co-write the screenplay with Smith.[20]

Marcel's drafts removed a subplot involving Travers and her son, and divided the story into a two-part narrative; the conflict between Travers and Walt Disney, and her dealings with her childhood issues.

Marcel's version, however, featured certain intellectual property rights of music and imagery which would be impossible to use without permission from The Walt Disney Company.

"There was always that elephant in the room, which is Disney, Collie recalled.

"We knew Walt Disney was a key character in the film and we wanted to use quite a bit of the music. We knew we’d eventually have to show Disney."

In July 2011 while attending the Ischia Film Festival, Owen met with Corky Hale, who offered to present the screenplay to R. M. Sherman of the Sherman Brothers, music composers of Mary Poppins.

Sherman read the screenplay and gave the producers his support.[21] Later that year, Marcel and Smith's screenplay was listed in Franklin Leonard's Black List, voted by producers, as one of the best screenplays that were not in production.[22]

In November 2011, The Walt Disney Studios' president of production, Sean Bailey, was informed of the existence of Marcel's script.[2]

Realizing that the screenplay included a depiction of Walt Disney, Bailey conferred with the company's executives, including Disney CEO Bob Iger[23] and studio chairman Alan Horn, the latter of whom referred to the film as a "brand deposit,"[24] a term adopted from Steve Jobs.[25]

Together, the executives discussed the studio's potential choices; purchase the script and shut the production down, put the film in turnaround, or co-produce the film themselves.

Iger approved the film and subsequently contacted Tom Hanks to consider playing the role of Walt Disney, which would become the first ever depiction of Disney in a mainstream film.[2]

Hanks accepted the role, viewing it as an opportunity to play somebody as world shifting as Picasso or Chaplin".[26]

Hanks took several visits to The Walt Disney Family Museum and interviewed some of Disney's former employees and family relatives, including his daughter Diane Disney Miller.[27][28]

In April 2012, Emma Thompson entered final negotiations to star as P. L. Travers, after the studio was unable to secure Meryl Streep for the part.

Thompson described the role as the most difficult one that she has played, elaborating that Travers was a woman of quite eye-watering complexity and contradiction."

She wrote a very good essay on sadness, because she was, in fact, a very sad woman.

She'd had a very rough childhood, the alcoholism of her father being part of it and the attempted suicide of her mother being another part of it.

I think that she spent her whole life in a state of fundamental inconsolability and hence got a lot done.

I thought the script was a fair portrayal of Walt as a mogul but also as an artist and a human being.

But I still had concerns that it could be whittled away.

I don't think this script could have been developed within the walls of Disney—it had to be developed outside.

I'm not going to say there weren't discussions, but the movie we ended up with is the one that was on the page."

 With Walt Disney Pictures onboard, the production team were given access to Travers' audio recordings of herself, Disney, the Shermans and co-writer Don DaGradi that were produced during the development of Mary Poppins, in addition to letters written between Disney and Travers between the 1940s and 1960s.[19][21]

Initially, director John Lee Hancock had reservations about Disney's involvement with the film, believing that the studio would edit the screenplay in their favor.

However, Marcel admitted that the studio specifically didn't want to come in and sanitize it or change Walt in any way."[19]

Although the filmmakers did not receive any creative interference from Disney regarding Walt Disney's depiction, the studio did request to omit any on-screen inhalation of cigarettes,[32] both due to Disney's policy of not directly depicting smoking in films issued under the Walt Disney Pictures banner, and to avoid an R rating from the MPAA.

 Principal photography began on September 19, 2012.[14][35]

Although some filming was originally to be in Queensland, Australia,[9][36] all filming took place in the Southern California area, including the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, Disneyland Park in Anaheim, Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia, and the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.[36][37]

For the Disneyland sequences, scenes were shot during the early morning with certain areas cordoned off during the park's daily operation, including Sleeping Beauty Castle, Main Street U.S.A., Fantasyland, and the Astro Orbitor attraction,[38] while the park's cast members were hired as extras.[39]

Production designer Michael Corenblith had to ensure that post-1961 attractions did not show up on camera and that storefronts on Main Street were redecorated to appear as they did in the time period.[40][41]

Corenblith also had to recreate Disney's office, using photographs and a furniture display from the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library as references.[21][42]

To recreate the original film's premiere at the Chinese Theatre, set designers closed Hollywood Boulevard and redressed the street and theater to resemble their 1964 appearances.[42]

Emma Thompson prepared for her role by listening to Travers's own recordings conducted during the development of Mary Poppins, and also styled her natural hair after Travers', due to the actress's disdain of wigs.[43]

To accurately convey Walt Disney's Midwestern dialect, Tom Hanks listened to archival recordings of Disney in his car and practiced the voice while reading newspapers.[44][45]

Hanks also grew his own mustache for the role, which underwent heavy scrutiny—with the filmmakers going so far as to matching the same dimensions as Disney's.[46][47]

Jason Schwartzman and B. J. Novak worked closely with Richard M. Sherman during pre-production and filming, with him describing the actors as "perfect talents" for their roles as Richard and Robert B. Sherman.[48] Filming was completed on November 22, 2012.[49][9][50]


Saving Mr. Banks (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Soundtrack album by Various artists

December 10, 2013


1:09:18 (Deluxe Edition)

Walt Disney

Thomas Newman chronology

Side Effects
(2013) Saving Mr. Banks
(2013) The Good Dinosaur

Professional ratings

Review scores



Walt Disney Records released the film's soundtrack on December 10, 2013.[51][52][53] The film's original score was composed by Thomas Newman.

Saving Mr. Banks (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)






1. "Chim Chim Cher-ee (East Wind)" Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Colin Farrell 1:04
2. "Travers Goff" Thomas Newman 2:06
3. "Walking Bus" Thomas Newman 2:10
4. "One Mint Julep" Rudy Toombs Ray Charles 1:31
5. "Uncle Albert" Thomas Newman 1:34
6. "Jollification" Thomas Newman 1:18
7. "The Mouse" Thomas Newman 0:57
8. "Leisurely Stroll" Thomas Newman 1:34
9. "Chim Chim Cher-ee (Responstible)" Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Jason Schwartzman, B. J. Novak, and Emma Thompson 0:26
10. "Mr. Disney" Thomas Newman 0:35
11. "Celtic Soul" Thomas Newman 1:20
12. "A Foul Fowl" Thomas Newman 2:04
13. "Mrs. P. L. Travers" Thomas Newman 1:16
14. "Laying Eggs" Thomas Newman 1:08
15. "Worn to Tissue" Thomas Newman 0:54
16. "Heigh-Ho" Frank Churchill, Larry Morey The Dave Brubeck Quartet 2:11
17. "Whiskey" Thomas Newman 1:21
18. "Impertinent Man" Thomas Newman 0:38
19. "To My Mother" Thomas Newman 3:44
20. "Westerly Weather" Thomas Newman 1:58
21. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Jason Schwartzman, B. J. Novak, and Emma Thompson 0:05
22. "Spit Spot!" Thomas Newman 1:49
23. "Beverly Hills Hotel" Thomas Newman 0:38
24. "Penguins" Thomas Newman 1:18
25. "Pears" Thomas Newman 0:55
26. "Let's Go Fly a Kite" Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman Jason Schwartzman, B. J. Novak, Bradley Whitford, Melanie Paxson, and Emma Thompson 1:55
27. "Maypole" Thomas Newman 0:59
28. "Forgiveness" Thomas Newman 2:00
29. "The Magic Kingdom" Thomas Newman 1:05
30. "Ginty My Love" Thomas Newman 3:12
31. "Saving Mr. Banks (End Title)" Thomas Newman 2:12

Total length:

All songs written and composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

[show]Saving Mr. Banks (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – Two-Disc Deluxe Edition) (Disc 2)


A trailer for the film was released on July 10, 2013.[54]

Saving Mr. Banks held its world premiere at the London Film Festival on October 20, 2013.[55][56][57]

On November 7, 2013, Walt Disney Pictures held the film's U.S. premiere at the TCL Chinese Theatre during the opening night of the 2013 AFI Film Festival.,[58][59] the same location where Mary Poppins was premiered.[60]

The original film was also screened for its 50th anniversary.[61]

Saving Mr. Banks also served as the Gala Presentation at the 2013 Napa Valley Film Festival on November 13,[62] and was screened at the AARP Film Festival in Los Angeles, California on November 17,[23] as Disney is heavily campaigning Saving Mr. Banks for Academy Awards consideration.[23]

On December 9, 2013, the film was given an exclusive corporate premiere in the Main Theater of the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California.[63]

The film was released in the United States on December 13, 2013 in limited release and in wide release on December 20.[64] The film has been widely considered to be a front-runner to receive a Best Picture nomination at the 86th Academy Awards.[65][66][67][68][69]

Saving Mr. Banks received generally positive reviews from film critics, with major praise directed to the screenplay and acting, particularly Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks' performances.[23][70][71]

Film review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reports an 81% "Certified Fresh" approval rating from critics, based on 176 reviews with an average score of 7/10.

The site's consensus reads:

"Aggressively likable and sentimental to a fault, Saving Mr. Banks pays tribute to the Disney legacy with excellent performances and sweet, high-spirited charm."[72] Metacritic assigned the film a weighted average score of 66 (out of 100) based on seventeen reviews from mainstream critics, considered to be "generally favorable".[73]

The Hollywood Reporter praised the film as an "affecting if somewhat soft-soaped comedy drama, elevated by excellent performances."

The Reporter wrote that "Emma Thompson takes charge of the central role of P. L. Travers with an authority that makes you wonder how anybody else could ever have been considered."[74]

Scott Foundas of Variety wrote that the film "has all the makings of an irresistible backstage tale, and it’s been brought to the screen with a surplus of old-fashioned Disney showmanship...", and that Tom Hanks's portrayal captured Walt Disney's "folksy charisma and canny powers of persuasion — at once father, confessor and the shrewdest of businessmen."

Overall, he praised the film as "very rich in its sense of creative people and their spirit of self-reinvention."[75]

The Washington Post rated the film three out of four stars, writing: "Saving Mr. Banks doesn't always straddle its stories and time periods with the utmost grace.

But the film — which John Lee Hancock directed from a script by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith — more than makes up for its occasionally unwieldy structure in telling a fascinating and ultimately deeply affecting story, along the way giving viewers tantalizing glimpses of the beloved 1964 movie musical, in both its creation and final form."[76]

The New York Times' A.O. Scott gave a positive review, declaring the film as "an embellished, tidied-up but nonetheless reasonably authentic glimpse of the Disney entertainment machine at work."[77]

Mark Kermode awarded the film four out of five stars, lauding Thompson's performance as "impeccable", elaborating that "Thompson dances her way through Travers's conflicting emotions, giving us a fully rounded portrait of a person who is hard to like but impossible not to love."[78]

Michael Phillips felt similarly, writing: "Thompson's the show. Each withering put-down, every jaundiced utterance, lands with a little ping."

In regards to the screenplay, he wrote that "screenwriters Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith treat everyone gently and with the utmost respect."[79] Peter Travers also gave the film three out of four stars and equally commended the performances of the cast.[80]

Alonso Duralde described the film as a "whimsical, moving and occasionally insightful tale ... director John Lee Hancock luxuriates in the period detail of early-’60s Disney-ana".[81]

Entertainment Weekly gave the film a "B+" grade, explaining that "the trick here is how perfectly Thompson and Hanks portray the gradual thaw in their characters' frosty alliance, empathizing with each other's equally miserable upbringings in a beautiful three-hankie scene late in the film."[82]

Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times wrote that the film "does not strictly hew to the historical record where the eventual resolution of this conflict is concerned," but admitted that it "is easy to accept this fictionalizing as part of the price to be paid for Thompson's engaging performance."[83]

David Gritten of The Daily Telegraph described he confrontational interaction between Thompson and Hanks as "terrific", singling out Thompson's "bravura performance", and calling the film itself as "smart, witty entertainment".[84] Kate Muir of The Times also spoke highly on Thompson and Hanks's performances.[85] Joe Morgenstern of The Wall Street Journal, however, considered Colin Farrell to be the film's "standout performance".[86]

IndieWire's Ashley Clark wrote that the film "is witty, well-crafted and well-performed mainstream entertainment which, perhaps unavoidably, cleaves to a well-worn Disney template stating that all problems—however psychologically deep-rooted—can be overcome."[87]

Another staff writer labeled Thompson's performance as her best since Sense and Sensibility and stated that "she makes the Australian-born British transplant a curmudgeonly delight."[88]

Peter Bradshaw enjoyed Hanks' role as Disney, suggesting that, despite its brevity, the film would have been largely "bland" without it.[89]

The film received criticism from some critics.

The Independent gave the film a mixed review, writing: "On the one hand, Saving Mr. Banks (which was developed by BBC Films and has a British producer) is a probing, insightful character study with a very dark undertow. On the other, it is a cheery, upbeat marketing exercise in which the Disney organization is re-promoting one of its most popular film characters."[90]

David Sexton of the Evening Standard concluded that the film "is nothing but a big corporation boasting about its own marvellousness."[91]

Lou Lumenick of The New York Post wrote a negative review, criticizing the accuracy of the film's events, concluding that "Saving Mr. Banks is ultimately much less about magic than making the sale, in more ways than one."[92]

American history lecturer John Wills praised the film's attention to detail, such as the inclusion of Travers' original recordings, but doubted that the personal dynamics between Travers and Disney were as amicable as portrayed in the film.[93]

Saving Mr. Banks was named the sixth best film of 2013 by Access Hollywood. [94]




Date of ceremony


Recipients and nominees


Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards[95] January 10, 2014 Best Screenplay – International Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith Pending
African-American Film Critics Association[96] December 13, 2013 Best Film of the Year 8th place
Alliance of Women Film Journalists[97] December 19, 2013 Best Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
American Film Institute[98] January 10, 2014 Top Ten Films of the Year Alison Owen, Ian Collie, and Philip Steuer Won
Broadcast Film Critics Association[99] January 16, 2014 Best Picture Pending
Best Actress Emma Thompson Pending
Best Score Thomas Newman Pending
Best Costume Design Daniel Orlandi Pending
Golden Globe Awards[100] January 12, 2014 Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama Emma Thompson Pending
Houston Film Critics Society[101] December 15, 2013 Best Picture Nominated
Best Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Original Score Thomas Newman Nominated
IGN's Best of 2013 Awards[102] January 10, 2014 Best Movie Pending
Best Movie Actress Emma Thompson Pending
Las Vegas Film Critics Society[103] December 18, 2013 Top Ten Films 7th place
Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
Best Family Film Won
London Film Critics Circle[104] February 2, 2014 Supporting Actor of the Year Tom Hanks Pending
British Actress of the Year Emma Thompson (also for Beautiful Creatures) Pending
National Board of Review[105] December 4, 2013 Best Actress Emma Thompson Won
Top Ten Films Saving Mr. Banks Won
Palm Springs International Film Festival[106] January 5, 2014 Creative Impact in Directing Award John Lee Hancock Won
Phoenix Film Critics Society[107] December 17, 2013 Best Film Nominated
Best Director John Lee Hancock Nominated
Best Actress in a Leading Role Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Actor in a Supporting Role Tom Hanks Nominated
Best Ensemble Acting Nominated
Best Original Score Thomas Newman Nominated
Best Production Design Lauren E. Polizzi, Michael Corenblith Nominated
Best Costume Design Daniel Orlandi Nominated
Best Performance by a Youth in a Lead or Supporting Role – Female Annie Rose Buckley Nominated
San Diego Film Critics Society[108] December 11, 2013 Best Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Production Design Michael Corenblith Nominated
Satellite Awards[109] February 23, 2014 Best Motion Picture Pending
Best Actress – Motion Picture Emma Thompson Pending
Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture Tom Hanks Pending
Best Original Screenplay Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith Pending
Best Art Direction and Production Design Lauren E. Polizzi and Michael Corenblith Pending
Best Costume Design Daniel Orlandi Pending
Screen Actors Guild Awards[110] January 18, 2014 Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role Emma Thompson Pending
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association[111] December 16, 2013 Best Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Original Screenplay Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith Nominated
Best Musical Score Thomas Newman Nominated
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association[112] December 9, 2013 Best Actress Emma Thompson Nominated
Best Score Thomas Newman Nominated
Women in Film and TV Awards[113] December 5, 2013 FremantleMedia U.K. New Talent Award Kelly Marcel "screenwriter of Saving Mr. Banks and Fifty Shades of Grey" Won


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External links[edit]
Official website at Disney.com
Saving Mr. Banks at the Internet Movie Database
Saving Mr. Banks at History vs. Hollywood
Saving Mr. Banks at the TCM Movie Database
Saving Mr. Banks at Box Office Mojo
Saving Mr. Banks at Rotten Tomatoes
Saving Mr. Banks at Metacritic
Saving Mr. Banks at BBC Online

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P. L. Travers' Mary Poppins

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Films directed by John Lee Hancock

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The Sherman Brothers

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