Released for the film’s 50th Anniversary, which also coincides with Disney’s new drama Saving Mr. Banks re-telling the making of the film, Mary Poppins returns to home video in this new Blu-ray. Based on the series of children’s books written by P. L. Travers, the movie stars Julie Andrews (who took home an Oscar for her title role) as the new governess for the Banks household.
With magic, music, a stern (yet loving hand), wild adventures, and a spoonful of sugar, Mary Poppins will make everything shipshape not only for young Michael (Matthew Garber) and Jane (Karen Dotrice) but also for their tightly-wound father (David Tomlinson) as well.
Although Travers was less than pleased with the result, Mary Poppins is arguably Disney’s most successful live-action film earning 13 Academy Award nominations (including Best Picture).
The film has aged well (although some of the effects aren’t necessarily helped by the high-definition clarity the newest release brings). Andrews and Dick Van Dyke (in his role as street artist and chimney sweep) are tremendously fun to watch and their adventures with the children from the animated trek through a sidewalk painting to the ill-fated journey to Mr. Banks’ bank are as entertaining today as they were when the film first premiered in theaters in 1964.
Any discussion of the film must mention the music written and composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman including the high-energy “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “I Love to Laugh,” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee” (which won the Oscar for Best Original Song), as well as the more mellow (but no less enjoyable) “Feed the Birds” and “Stay Awake.” Andrews is perfectly cast and her voice shines in several of the film’s most memorable songs. Van Dyke is a little more goofy, but it’s hard to argue with his casting (especially during the frivolity of “Chim Chim Cher-ee”).
The two-disc set includes both Blu-ray and DVD versions of the film (along with a digital copy as well). Special features include a behind-the-scenes look at Saving Mr. Banks, a behind-the-scenes look at the Broadway adaptation, “The Cat That Looked at a King” short, karaoke sing-a-long for several of the movie’s songs, “Chimpanzoo” (one of the songs cut from the film), various featurettes from previous releases on the film’s music, publicity, and special effects, and separate commentary spliced together on a single-track by Andrews, Van Dyke, composers Richard Sherman and Robert Sherman, and Karen Dotrice.
[Disney Home Video, Blu-ray $39.99 / DVD $29.99]