Google+

Tom Hanks Channels Walt Disney in Mary Poppins Period Piece

Saving Mr. Banks

DVD Review by Kam Williamso-saving-mr-banks-570

Tom Hanks Channels Walt Disney in Mary Poppins Period Piece

 

P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) was the pen name of Helen Lyndon Goff (1899-1996), the creator of the children’s classic “Mary Poppins.” When his daughters were young, Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) promised to turn their favorite book into a movie, since they were so enchanted by the British nanny with magical powers.

Little did he know that the effort to secure the film rights would drag on for a couple of decades due to the uncompromising author’s inflexibility, as she insisted that any adaptation remain faithful to the source material. The protracted courting process finally proved fruitful in 1961, when Walt wined and dined the reluctant writer at his Hollywood studio while making an elaborate sales pitch to turn the story into a musical.

He would succeed in wooing Travers with the assistance of his screenwriter (Bradley Whitford) and songwriting team (B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman), although the deferential chauffeur (Paul Giamatti) assigned to drive her around during her stay would also play a pivotal role.

That productive two-week visit is revisited by Saving Mr. Banks, a dramatization directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side). The picture’s title is a reference to Mary Poppins’ employer George Banks, who was among the many characters Travers was trying to protect.

Credit consummate thespians Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson for approaching their lead roles in such convincing fashion that a period piece about a contract negotiation actually proves entertaining. Hanks pours on the folksy charm impersonating the legendary Disney opposite the chameleon-like Thompson who takes her sweet time as the steely Travers to soften from skeptical to enthusiastic about the proposed project.

While Saving Mr. Banks certainly waxes sentimental and ends on an upbeat note, a Mary Poppins sequel was not to be, despite the fact that the original won five Academy Awards. For, Travers and Disney had such a big falling out prior to the picture’s release that she wasn’t even invited to the premiere.

Furthermore, she remained so enraged about her book’s mistreatment at the hands of the studio that she went to her grave refusing to entertain overtures for another adaptation, even reaffirming that preference in her will. However, the truth never seems to get in the way of a syrupy cinematic send-up with a stock, “Happily Ever After” ending.

To paraphrase Mary Poppins, “Just a spoonful of sugar helps revisionist history go down,” and in a most delightful way!

 

Excellent (3.5 stars)

Rated PG-13 for mature themes and unsettling images

Running time: 125 minutes

Distributor: Walt Disney Home Entertainment

Blu-ray Extras: Deleted scenes; Let’s Go Fly a Kite; and The Walt Disney Studios: From Poppins to the Present.

 

To see a trailer for Saving Mr. Banks, visit:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nijccxWvyXU

Or: http://movies.disney.com/saving-mr-banks/video

 

To order a copy of Saving Mr. Banks on DVD, visit:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00HT944D4/ref%3dnosim/thslfofire-20

 

Entertainment

For movies opening June 23, 2017

  OPENING THIS WEEK Kam's Kapsules Weekly Previews That Make Choosing a Film Fun by Kam Williams For movies opening June 23, 2017   BIG BUDGET FILMS The Beguiled (R for sexuality) Sofia Coppola won Best Director at Cannes for this sublime tale of seduction, a remake of Clint Eastwood's Civil War saga about Southern belles … [Read More its Good For You...]

Books

Author Expounds on Labor of Love

  Peter Brav The “331 Innings” Interview with Kam Williams Author Expounds on Labor of Love Peter Brav is not much of a baseball player but he's written three novels where the diamond provides a setting for triumph over adversity in one way or another. Sneaking In (set during the 1999 Yankees championship season), The Other Side Of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of. I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is […]

Real Estate

How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate

  How to Hire a Winner in Real Estate by Amy Lignor   You want to buy that new house because the twins are on their way. Little Betty and Little John are already there, but who knew you would have even more so soon? What’s that? Oh…well, of course, in order to buy that new home with four bedrooms instead of two, you will also need to … [Read More its Good for You...]

Lifestyle

Ejogo’s Largo!

  Carmen Ejogo The “It Comes at Night” Interview with Kam Williams Ejogo's Largo! Carmen Ejogo has established a distinguished career in both feature films and television. She is best known thus far for her leading role of civil rights activist ‘Coretta Scott King’ opposite David Oyelowo in Ava DuVernay's universally acclaimed SELMA … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Jerkbaits Often Overlooked as Summer Bass Lures

  Jerkbaits Often Overlooked as Summer Bass Lures   Yamaha Pro Brandon Palaniuk Fishes Jerkbaits Year-Round for Quality Bass Bass tournament fishermen are famous for having “secret” lures they don’t tell anyone about, but Brandon … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic

You Don’t Have to be Greek to be a “Zorba” Fanatic by Amy Lignor   No, the sport is not called ‘Zorba’, but it most definitely fits for this article’s title. This most unusual sport is actually called ‘Zorbing’, and has caught on like … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects

  Add Value with Summer Home Renovation Projects by Amy Lignor   There are a whole list of summer activities for you and the kids planned. Most of them, of course, you want to be nothing but fun, such as grilling outside on the … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All

    Finding Relaxation in the Most Remote Locations of All by Amy Lignor   It is a fact that the largest travel locations are also beyond popular. Among the downsides of this fact is that when you’re looking for peace, quiet, and … [Read More its Good for You...]