The beloved Disney children’s classic, “Marry Poppins” has been re-released on a 2-disc DVD for its 45th Anniversary. The new set features a look at the recent Broadway play, but it’s the original film version presented here with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke that you can’t help but lose yourself in. Much like when Bert (Dick Van Dyke) jumps into the sidewalk chalk drawings, every time you return to this classic, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been transported somewhere magical, somewhere that exists nowhere else.
“Mary Poppins” is the kind of film that holds up extremely well over time and that’s due impart to the fantastic storytelling. Jane and Michael Banks (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) always scare off their nannies and don’t get enough attention from their busy parents, Mr. and Mrs. Banks (David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns, a highlight of the film). When Jane and Michael realize they’re going to have to have a nanny, they decide to write an advertisement for their ideal nanny - and who else could fill that role than Marry Poppins?
According to the advertisement, their nanny must be “positively perfect in everyway”, which Mary Poppins is. Not to mention the fact that she has a bottomless carpet bag filled with goodies, a fantastically magical way of cleaning up, and a positive outlook even when everything seems so gloomy. Of course, she’s not a pushover either. Mary Poppins offers the children and their parents the discipline they need, and along the way whisks young Jane and Michael off on all sorts of adventures to meet all kinds of people.
“Mary Poppins” is absolutely timeless and never feels stuffed with lessons like so many children’s stories do. There’s an ease and whimsy to the film that makes it something you can watch no matter how old you get. The performance from Julie Andrews as Mary is one of her most memorable and Dick Van Dyke as Bert is always entertaining, and one of his best roles as well. It’s no surprise that “Mary Poppins” won 5 academy awards, and the film remains a classic in the finest sense of the word. With memorable songs like “Spoon Full of Sugar” and the ever-famous “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”, you can’t help but be swept up in the story of the magical, good-hearted nanny.
Mary Poppins Arrives
Spoonful of Sugar
VIDEO: "Mary Poppins" is presented in 1.66:1 anamorphic widescreen by Disney. This widescreen presentation is generally top-notch, as only a few slight instances of wear were spotted - overall, Mary Poppins looks younger than her age would indicate. No edge enhancement or other concerns were seen. Sharpness and detail were also better-than-expected, as while the picture didn't look crystal clear, it at least did look consistently crisp. Colors looked bright and warm, with fine saturation and no smearing or other concerns.
SOUND: "Mary Poppins" is presented with both a remixed Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation and the original 2.0 soundtrack. The Dolby Digital 5.1 remix is - thankfully - not aggressive or overdone, with the surrounds only providing some minor ambience and reinforcement of the music. Audio quality is fine, with no distortion or other concerns.
EXTRAS: “Mary Poppins: 45th Anniversary Edition” offers you the option to play the film with the lyrics to the songs on screen. There’s also an option to watch the songs individually. You can also choose to play the film with pop-ups that offer facts about the film.
“Audio Commentary with Julie Andrews, Karen Dotrice, Robert Sherman, Richard Sherman and Dick Van Dyke” - This is fantastic group to bring together for a commentary for “Mary Poppins” and they completely deliver. Van Dyke and Andrews did their commentary on a different day than Sherman and Karen Dotrice. This actually helps ensure there’s few lulls in conversation. The commentary is fun to listen to, since they seem to have genuinely happy memories making the film. Definitely worth a listen for fans.
This DVD offers a look at taking “Mary Poppins” to Broadway. With special features like “Mary Poppins: From Page to Stage” and “Bob Crowley’s Design Gallery” you get a glimpse into the play. “Mary Poppins: From Page to Stage” takes you all over the world to meet up with people who brought the play to life including actors, producers, composers, lyricists, set/costume designer Bob Crowley, as well as Richard Sherman who, along with Robert Sherman composed the original music for the film. This is a well put together documentary look at bringing to stage a beloved children’s classic (both the film and the book). With informative and captivating interviews and superb archive photo/footage, this is a wonderful addition to the DVD. “Bob Crowley’s Design Gallery” is a great extension of the “Page to Stage” feature, as it offers a look at the set designs, costume designs, concept art, and set models in a gallery format.
“Step In Time” Musical Number From The Stage Play
Its pretty incredible to watch the performance and to get a better feel for how the famous number was brought to the stage. Fantastic addition for fans. You can also download an MP3 of the song “Step In Time”
A part of Backstage Disney, the extras included here are:
“Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins” With wonderful interviews from Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews as well as Karen Dotrice, Glynis Johns, Robert Sherman, and Richard Sherman this is a delight for fans, as it not only touches on a familiar story, but offers new insights into the making of a Disney classic. The bonus feature also focuses actors Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews and how they got the part. There’s a great amount of archive footage and photos that enhance the telling of the making of “Mary Poppins”.
“The Movie Magic of Mary Poppins”
A feature set to upbeat music and a youthful voice over that shares just how some of the magical things in “Mary Poppins” were done. There’s actually some interesting bits of information here, including how they wanted “Mary Poppins” to look more like a stage play instead of a real place and how they mixed live action and animation.
“The Gala World Premiere”
This is a sampling of some film and sound bites from the 1964 broadcast of the “Mary Poppins” premiere. This is an impresses archive collection of the premiere, with lots of famous faces. This is extremely well done considering all of the elements from the actual broadcast weren’t found.
“Dick Van Dyke Makeup Test”
The screen test of Dick Van Dyke trying on the makeup for his extra performance as the grouchy bank owner in “Mary Poppins”. Van Dyke tells the story of how he came to play two parts. Very interesting and amusing short look at a memorable performance in the film.
Also included here are: Original Theatrical Teaser Trailer, Original Theatrical Trailer, Julie Andrews’ Premiere Greeting, Original TV Spot #1 and #2, 1966 Re-Issue Trailer, 1973 Re-Issue Trailer #1 and #2. As well as a “Mary Poppins Still Art Gallery” with stills of visual development, story development, Peter Ellenshaw paintings, recording sessions, costumes and makeup, and behind the scenes.
“A Magical Musical Reunion: Featuring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, and Richard Sherman”
A charming feature that is enhanced by the fact that Andrews, Van Dyke and Sherman are all together talking about “Mary Poppins” and their experiences making the film. Definitely worth a look for fans.
“A Musical Journey with Richard Sherman”
Richard Sherman shares some music that never made it to the film, and talks some about the music and sounds that did. Sherman offers a wonderful look at creating songs around the story, as well as the efforts made to record the instruments. There are definitely bits of information and extra footage/concept art and story boards involving the scoring of the film that should appeal to fans. An actual scoring of “Step In Time” as played by the orchestra is also included. Sherman also plays another song called “The Chimpanzoo” that didn’t make it to the film (you can also watch “The Chimpanzoo” separately).
Also included is the Bonus Short, “The Cat That Looked At A King” from “Mary Poppins Opens The Door” by P.I. Travers. Julie Andrews makes a lovely appearance here. She, along with two young children, jump into a sidewalk painting to find their cat. Inside the painting, they watch the animated story of a king who loves facts and figures more than anything, including his bride. The cat meets the king and he challenges her to a battle of the wits, and ultimately the cat offers the king something better than facts and figures. Julie Andrews tells the story as only she can. This is a wonderful little story and worth a look.
“Oliver and Company: 20th Anniversary Edition”
“Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure”
“Beverly Hills Chihuahua”
“Pinocchio: 70th Anniversary Platinum Edition”
Disney Movie Rewards
“The Secret of the Magic Gourd”
Final Thoughts: While fans who own the prior DVD editions could go without upgrading to this release, those who don't already own the movie should absolutely seek out this marvelous two-disc Special Edition of this classic film. Recommended.
The Film A