You know what’s kind of steampunk? Mary Poppins. You know what’s awesome? Mary Poppins. You got a problem with Mary Poppins? Gtf outta here right now. You and i have nothing to discuss.
Dudes. Dudettes. The Mary Poppins movie is kind of the greatest thing ever. Death loves it. It’s Death’s favorite movie. If i need to explain that y’all need to brush up on your Endless. I love it. My toddler loves it. The songs are classics. If you hate Supercalifragilisticexpealidocious then you my friend have lost your soul and i weep for you.
Good. I’m glad that’s settled.
Mary Poppins began as a series of children’s books by P.L. Travers in 1934. Over the next 50 years she wrote 8 books. That is correct. 8 books in 54 years. You cannot accuse her of pumping them out for the money. They were illustrated by Mary Shepard.
Travers was a big fan of J.M.Barrie’s Peter Pan and structurally her Mary Poppins books were modeled on this novel. The first novel was simply Mary Poppins and it was an instant hit. She followed it up a year later with Mary Poppins Comes Back. Afterwards there was one book in the 40s, one in the 50s, one in the 60s, etc.
The books differ from the movies in several ways worth mentioning. For one thing, there are a pair of toddler twins in the books in addition to Jane and Michael. Also, Mary Poppins is colder and stricter in the books, one of the many contentions P.L. Travers had with the movie.
You want to hear dirt, right? I mean, you all pretend to be all dignified and above such petty trivia as the dirt on Travers vs. the Disney movie, but really, y’all secretly want an excuse to wear underpants and roll in the mud while squeeling like a little piggy. I am here to help you with that. I will not judge you, Ittle Wittle Piggy Wiggy.
So, Travers hated the movie. Walt Disney (the actual guy Walt Disney) first approached her for the rights make a Mary Poppins film back in 1938, but she refused because she didn’t think it was possible to translate her story to film. However, by 1961, with book sales declining, she agreed but insisted on script approval rights.
She drove the Disney script writers crazy by being such a stickler for details in the script. She was very concerned about the casting of Mary Poppins herself, of course. Walt wanted Julie Andrews, but Julie wanted to be the lead in the film version of My Fair Lady. Julie never got offered the part and so she agreed to do Mary Poppins although she pointed out she was pregnant. Walt Disney told her he would delay production until after she had her baby. Travers was concerned and so Julie Andrews did a phone interview with her from her bed after the delivery of her daughter. Travers loved her.
Finally a finished script was approved, the production got underway and Travers was kept away.
She attended the film’s premiere and left in tears, hating so many aspects of the movie. At the after party she went up to Walt Disney with a notepad full of changes. She started reading down them. “The first thing that has to go is the animation sequence.” She also wanted all of the songs and music cut and replaced with period specific pieces including Greensleeves and Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay.”
“Pamela,” Walt Disney replied. “that ship has sailed.” He refused to make a single change. She attempted to argue but he pointed out that although she had script approval, only he had Final Draft approval.
Since i love the film i obviously disagree with almost all of Traver’s objections. However, one thing that Travers despised that i would point out as being a point of contention worth agreeing with, is Mrs. Banks giving up the suffragette movement to be with her children. Mrs. Banks being part of the suffragette movement and that being the reason she was neglectful of her children is nowhere in the books and is an invention of the screenwriters. And truthfully, it’s a black spot on an otherwise wonderful movie. Putting womens’ right and their fight to have the vote as something in direct opposition to caring for their children, insinuating it’s a one-or-the-other type of choice at the expense of the children (and the movie is clear the children should come first)… honestly, it’s awful. It is indeed a terrible choice.
Walt Disney loved the movie and considered it one of the crowning achievements of his career. In his career he only attended two studio premiers, Snow White (Disney’s very first feature length movie) and Mary Poppins. It was the most expensive movie Disney had ever made but it was a spectacular success. It was nominated for 13 academy awards and won five. Andrews herself won the award for best actress.
(another piece of trivia: Julie Andrews’ favorite song was Stay Awake. She recorded 47 takes in the studio to nail the song.)
Mary Poppins was the top grossing film of 1965, and the top grossing Disney film for 20 years.
So that’s all nice and fine. Whee! Yay! Oh, but now we reach the part of this post i have been waiting for. This entire post was worth writing just for this next bit:
So, okay we’ve talked about the Disney movie. All time great thing, blah blah blah. All right forget that.
In 1984, Soviet Russia decided to allow a Soviet produced version of Mary Poppins to be made by Mosfilm studio.
And you KNOW i got it to show y’all. Seriously, i don’t know if anyone can possibly be as utterly… curious and fascinated as i am by this… thing. It’s not just the soviet reimagining but since it’s based in England, they have to slide in all these subtle critiques of western capitalism. And WHO THE F*** IS THE GUY IN THE TENT?!?
Sersiously, this is just…. FASCINATING. It has so many awesome wtf moments and just interesting choices on how a soviet production house chooses to make a hip, modern (80s) version.
One last point. Do not mention that ****ing **** sucking Mary Poppins musical to me. It can **** my ***, ***, ******* ***** ****. We will not be discussing it. Death is too good for it.