Anniversaries signify dates of a celebratory nature. We reflect on the past and the importance of a milestone. In the Disney universe, certain years warrant attention for the amount of quality content produce and momentous occasions held. Some might argue 1989 was Disney’s biggest year, launching the “Disney renaissance” with the release of The Little Mermaid and also the opening of Disney’s fifth theme park (Disney-MGM Studios). Others would consider 1928 (the debut of Mickey Mouse), 1937 (the release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs), and 1955 (Disneyland’s opening) as equally significant. If we look into the future, 2015 may prove to be Disney’s most monumental year with new films from Lucasfilm, Marvel, Pixar and even a few major releases from Disney itself.
But how can anyone forget or dismiss 1964? This was the definitive Disney year in multiple realms. The events that took place during this 12-month period forever altered the landscape of The Walt Disney Company. 50 years later, I reason that the Disney we treasure today would not exist without the turning points that occurred in 1964.
Mary Poppins 2-Disc Blu-ray/DVD/Digital | DVD/Digital l Instant
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Starring Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber and Ed Wynn
Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: Dec. 10, 2013
Mary Poppins, the winner of five Academy Awards, flies onto Disney Blu-ray for the first time ever in honor of its (premature) 50th anniversary and the forthcoming release of Saving Mr. Banks. But is the Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke musical practically perfect in every way? The film, yes. The Blu-ray release itself, only practically, as the less-than-perfect presentation and lack of copious new supplemental material have much to be desired.
Critics and everyday individuals alike regard Poppins as one of Walt Disney’s finest achievements – if not his finest piece of cinema – for what the movie represented back in 1964, and how it holds up today. The film, inspired by the P.L. Travers work, showcases how the family dynamic of an early 20th-century clan in London is transformed by the introduction of one very ideal, precise and magical nanny. The tale captured our imaginations, portraying an atmosphere where children could leap into sidewalk drawings and a fantastic woman could soar above the cityscape with an umbrella and carpetbag in tow. The scene, utterly delightful. The people, certainly relatable. The combo, undeniably winning. But what makes Mary Poppins work so well? Credit a combination of elements at play.
Saving Mr. Banks marks the debut of a Disney film where its founder, Walt Disney, is depicted as a character, and attendees at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, CA, yesterday were among the first to watch scenes from the feature.
Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak, who play Richard and Robert Sherman, respectively, the brothers who wrote the songs to Mary Poppins, appeared at the Expo to share memories and footage.
The first scene showed Emma Thompson‘s P.L. Travers, the woman who wrote the book later adapted into the Mary Poppins film we all love, arriving at the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, circa 1961.
The D23 Destination D event, held at the Disneyland Resort a few weeks ago, not only focused on the array of Disney animated features, but also on the musical acts who helped make those films even more memorable.
D23 brought back the winning act that won audiences at the 2011 D23 Expo (Dick Van Dyke and The Vantastix). This first-class concert made me feel like a chimney sweep, “as lucky can be,” for experiencing this performance was “practically perfect in every way.”