AFI Catalog of Feature Films
Movie Detail
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Mary Poppins
Director: Robert Stevenson (Dir)
Release Date:   1964
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles opening: 26 Aug 1964; New York opening: week of 25 Sep 1964
Duration (in mins):   140
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Cast:   Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins)  
    Dick Van Dyke (Bert/Mr. Dawes, Senior)  
    David Tomlinson (Mr. [George] Banks)  
    Glynis Johns (Mrs. Banks)  
  The domestics: Hermione Baddeley ([Ellen])  
    Reta Shaw ([Mrs. Brill])  
  The children: Karen Dotrice ([Jane Banks])  
  and Matthew Garber ([Michael Banks])  
    Elsa Lanchester (Katie Nanna)  
    Arthur Treacher (The Constable [Jones])  
    Reginald Owen (Admiral Boom)  
    Ed Wynn (Uncle Albert)  
    Jane Darwell (The Bird Woman)  
  At the bank: Arthur Malet (Mr. Dawes, Junior)  
    James Logan    
    Donald Barclay (Mr. Binnacle)  
    Alma Lawton (Mrs. Corry)  
    Marjorie Eaton (Miss Persimmon)  
    Marjorie Bennett (Miss Lark)  
    Cyril Delevanti (Mr. Grubbs)  
    Lester Matthews (Mr. Tomes)  
    Clive L. Halliday (Mr. Mousley)  
    Doris Lloyd (Depositor)  
    Major Sam Harris    

Summary: London banker George Banks advertises for a nanny in the Times when his wife, a suffragette, has difficulty finding a governess firm enough to handle their children, Jane and Michael. The children also write an advertisement, asking that a compassionate person apply, but Mr. Banks throws their note into the fireplace. The next morning, a number of severe-looking women apply for the job, but a strong wind blows them away; Mary Poppins glides down from the sky on her umbrella and, while being interviewed by Mr. Banks, informs him she will give the family a trial period. She gets the children to clean up the nursery, making the task enjoyable with her magic, and then takes them for a walk. They enter a picture of the countryside that her friend Bert has chalked on the sidewalk. After having tea served by dancing penguins, they ride on a merry-go-round, leave the carousel on their horses, and trot off to a fox hunt. When rain washes the sidewalk drawing away, Mary rushes the children home. The following day, Mary takes the children and Bert to visit her Uncle Albert, whose incessant laughter causes him to float in the air; soon they are all laughing and floating on the ceiling. Mr. Banks, meanwhile, refuses to believe his children's stories and wants to fire Mary, but adopts her suggestion that he bring his children to the bank and show them how he spends his day. Michael is to open an account, but instead he attempts to retrieve his money to buy birdseed from The Bird Woman, thus creating panic in the bank. The children escape, and Bert takes them home. Mary appears; and she, Bert and the children travel across the rooftops of London. When they return home, their gaiety spreads throughout the household, and Bert points out to Mr. Banks how damaging his severity can be. When Banks is fired from his job, he tells chairman of the board Dawes a joke he learned from Michael, then leaves to take his children to fly kites in the park. Dawes, who has not laughed in 90 years, dies happy, while laughing at the joke, and Banks is offered a position on the board. Feeling that her job is complete, Mary opens her umbrella and flies away. 

Production Company: Walt Disney Productions  
Distribution Company: Buena Vista Distribution Co., Inc.  
Director: Robert Stevenson (Dir)
  Arthur J. Vitarelli (Live action 2nd unit dir)
  Joseph L. McEveety (Asst dir)
  Paul Feiner (Asst dir)
Producer: Walt Disney (Pres)
  Bill Walsh (Co-prod)
Writer: Bill Walsh (Scr)
  Don DaGradi (Scr)
Photography: Edward Colman (Dir of photog)
Art Direction: Carroll Clark (Art dir)
  William H. Tuntke (Art dir)
Film Editor: Cotton Warburton (Film ed)
Set Decoration: Emile Kuri (Set dec)
  Hal Gausman (Set dec)
Costumes: Tony Walton (Cost & des cons)
  Bill Thomas (Cost executed by)
  Chuck Keehne (Cost)
  Gertrude Casey (Cost)
Music: Irwin Kostal (Mus supv, arr & cond)
  James Macdonald (Asst to the cond)
  Evelyn Kennedy (Mus ed)
Sound: Robert O. Cook (Sd supv)
  Dean Thomas (Sd mixer)
Special Effects: Peter Ellenshaw (Spec eff)
  Eustace Lycett (Spec eff)
  Robert A. Mattey (Spec eff)
Dance: Marc Breaux (Choreog)
  Dee Dee Wood (Choreog)
  Nat Farber (Dance accompanist)
Make Up: Pat McNalley (Makeup)
  La Rue Matheron (Hairstylist)
Production Misc: P. L. Travers (Consultant)
Animation: Hamilton S. Luske (Anim dir)
  McLaren Stewart (Anim art dir)
  Bill Justice (Nursery seq des)
  Xavier Atencio (Nursery seq des)
  Milt Kahl (Anim)
  Frank Thomas (Anim)
  Ollie Johnston (Anim)
  Ward Kimball (Anim)
  John Lounsbery (Anim)
  Eric Larson (Anim)
  Hal Ambro (Anim)
  Cliff Nordberg (Anim)
  Jack Boyd (Anim)
  Al Dempster (Background)
  Art Riley (Background)
  Don Griffith (Background)
  Bill Layne (Background)
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "The Perfect Nanny," "Sister Suffragette," "The Life I Lead," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Pavement Artist," "Chim Chim Cheree," "Jolly Holiday," "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Stay Awake," "I Love to Laugh," "Feed the Birds," "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank," "Step in Time," "A Man Has Dreams" and "Let's Go Fly a Kite," music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.
Composer: Richard M. Sherman
  Robert B. Sherman
Source Text: Based on the "Mary Poppins" novels by P. L. Travers: Mary Poppins (London, 1934); Mary Poppins Comes Back (London, 1935); Mary Poppins Opens the Door (London, 1944); and Mary Poppins in the Park (London, 1952).
Authors: P. L. Travers

Copyright Claimant Copyright Date Copyright Number
Walt Disney Productions 18/8/1964 dd/mm/yyyy LP28936

PCA NO: 20653
Physical Properties: Sd: RCA Sound Recording
  col: Technicolor
  with anim seq:

 
Genre: Children's works
  Musical comedy
 
Subjects (Major): Children
  Chimney sweeps
  Family relationships
  Governesses
  London (England)
  Magic
 
Subjects (Minor): Admirals
  Bankers
  Banks
  Brothers and sisters
  Classified advertisements
  Dismissal (Employment)
  Drawings and sketches
  English
  Family life
  Fox hunts
  Great Britain--History--Social life and customs
  Great Britain--History--20th century
  Horseracing
  Kites
  Levitation
  Merry-go-rounds
  Money
  Penguins
  Pigeons
  Promotions
  Suffragettes
  Tea parties
  The Times (London)
  Transformation
  Umbrellas
  Uncles

Note: Although most cast members appear in both the opening credits and closing credits, the names of five actors, James Logan, Don Barclay, Alma Lawton, Marjorie Eaton and Marjorie Bennett, appear only in the opening credits. In addition to his above title opening credit, Dick Van Dyke, who plays two roles, is listed second in the end credits for his portrayal of "Bert," and as the final end credit for "Mr. Dawes, Senior." Mary Poppins was ranked 6th on AFI's list of the 25 Greatest Movie Musicals.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Box Office   7 Sep 1964   p. 2858.
Filmfacts   1964   pp. 188-191.
Hollywood Reporter   28 Aug 1964   p. 3.
Life   25 Sep 1964   p. 28.
Los Angeles Times   16 Aug 1964   Section M, p. 11.
Motion Picture Herald Product Digest   2 Sep 1964   p. 15.
New York Times   25 Sep 1964   p. 34.
New Yorker   3 Oct 1964   p. 132.
Time   18 Sep 1964   p. 114.
Variety   2 Sep 1964   p. 6.

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
 
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