Saturday, December 10, 2016
"Mary Poppins": innocent animated musical from Disney won best picture in 1964, aired tonight
I do remember seeing "Mary Poppins" in late 1964, when I was going to college full time (GWU) while “living at home”, and had taken up the Friday afternoon chess club at GWU, which at the time was adding something back into my life. This was the year when nobody could beat LBJ (not even Goldwater) and Vietnam was starting to simmer.
I think I saw if at either the old Buckingham Theater (now a post office) or the Arlington (now a Cinema and drafthouse). The Walt Disney musical, directed by Robert Stevenson, has a plot a little like ‘The Sound of Music”, with no politics, so it seems smaller and stagier. Julie Andrews plays the nanny applying to take care of the Banks kids in late Victorian London, who can get everyone riding broomsticks. The movie has long stretches (in the middle section) of typical Disney animation. So it’s offered in just 1.66:1 standard aspect ratio, not needing the grandiose look of bigger musicals. The music for the many songs (many of which were deleted and have never been officially released legally) is by Irwin Kostal (imdb) and is curiously uncredited (strange for a musical, in a world where licensing and copyright of music means everything, at least today). But the film’s innocence, appropriate for the troubled days after the Kennedy assassination, helped it many win Oscars, including Best Picture. I’m not sure whether any other Disney picture had won Best Picture up to then.
Oddly. one of my favorite songs is "Feed the Birds".
The film was shown on ABC networks Saturday night December 10.