Mary Poppins Cover

The three most most purely astounding things about this 45th anniversary release of Mary Poppins on DVD is how very, very good it looks and sounds, how very young Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke both look – and how terribly shaky his grasp on his Cockney accent really was. In one of the lavish assortment of additional features and interviews, Mr. Van Dyke has sufficient confidence and self-deprecating humor to laugh about this.

In watching “Mary Poppins” as an adult, I was also struck by how very much it was a musical showcase for the two stars, a series of elaborate and episodic set-pieces strung together upon the barest thread of plot: a mysterious and charming governess who appears out of the blue, befriending a pair of children whose parents are too taken up by their own interests to pay much attention at all to them at all. At the end, having accomplished this, she vanishes – again, into the blue. In between these two points, the children’s adventures are non-stop. Some of them are very strange, such as the long adventure into the chalk pavement painting, and the athletic dancing of the chimney-sweeps on the rooftops of London – though for my money, the world of smoky rooftops seems even more unearthly beautiful now than it did ever before. No one could do cityscape matte paintings better than Walt Disney’s artists. The picture galleries are always worthwhile on Disney releases, and on this more than any of the others, save perhaps “The Jungle Book”. And no other movie can do dancing penguins with more panache – although “Madagascar” might have an edge when it comes to doing infiltrating soldier penguins.

The extra features are suitably lavish – an all new animated adventure short, about a cat who did more than just look at a king, a look at the Broadway musical version of the chimney-sweep’s “Step in Time” dance, and a careful reconstruction of a news feature about the premiere, full of appearances by stars and personalities what will have your children looking at you and saying “Mmm… and they were famous for? When?”

This set will be available January 27th, from Amazon.com here, and other retail outlets.

Sgt. Mom is a free-lance writer and member of the Independent Authors Guild who lives in San Antonio and blogs at The Daily Brief. Her current book project – The Adelsverein Trilogy is also available through Amazon.com. More about her books is at her website www.celiahayes.com.

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