Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Mary Poppins

Robert Stevenson, 1964 (8.1*)
This film was a lot of family-oriented fun, with nonsense songs and fantastic happenings, all after a magical nanny shows up in the form of Mary Poppins (who floats in using an umbrella), played with energetic gusto by Julie Andrews in a star-making and Oscar®-winning performance. Dick Van Dyke co-stars as a lower-class chimney sweep, who also has a bit of magic and music in his veins. Don't look to deep into this one, but expect lots of family-style Disney entertainment, with some magical animation overlaid over live action, a la Song of the South.

There was more than a little irony on Oscar® night when Andrews won for actress and Rex Harrison won for actor in My Fair Lady, since the two made the London play a hit yet Andrews was snubbed for the film in lieu of big box office draw Audrey Hepburn, whose vocals were dubbed by off-camera specialist Marnie Nixon, who also dubbed vocals for The King and I and West Side Story. (Nixon finally got in front of the camera in The Sound of Music, singing "A Problem Like Maria".) It's a shame that audiences were robbed of Andrews brilliant interpretation of Eliza Doolittle, as she is British while Hepburn is American, and Andrews made the role famous to begin with; the original cast recording will bear out my argument. In the history of major cinema, this remains one of the major casting gaffs ever committed. One can only assume that the Oscar® for Poppins was the consolation prize for the snub of Andrews for the bigger film, which won best picture and seven Oscars® overall.


Anonymous,  July 31, 2012 at 11:39 AM  

Audrey Hepburn was born in Belguim and raised in England

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These are the individual film reviews of what I'm considering the best 1000 dvds available, whether they are films, miniseries, or live concerts. Rather than rush out all 1000 at once, I'm doing them over time to allow inclusion of new releases - in fact, 2008 has the most of any year so far, 30 titles in all; that was a very good year for films, one of the best ever.

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