Long resistant to film adaptations of her Mary Poppins books, P.L. Travers finally succumbed to the entreaties of Walt Disney, and the result is often considered the finest of Disney's personally supervised films. The Travers stories… More Long resistant to film adaptations of her Mary Poppins books, P.L. Travers finally succumbed to the entreaties of Walt Disney, and the result is often considered the finest of Disney's personally supervised films. The Travers stories are bundled together to tell the story of the Edwardian-era British Banks family: the banker father (David Tomlinson), suffragette mother (Glynis Johns), and the two "impossible" children (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber). The kids get the attention of their all-business father by bedevilling every new nanny in the Banks household. Whem Mr. Banks advertises conventionally for another nanny, the kids compose their own ad, asking for someone with a little kindness and imagination. Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews in her screen debut) answers the children's ad by arriving at the Banks home from the skies, parachuting downward with her umbrella. She immediately endears herself to the children. The next day they meet Mary's old chum Bert (Dick Van Dyke), currently employed as a sidewalk artist. Mary, Bert, and the children hop into one of Bert's chalk drawings and learn the nonsense song "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" in a cartoon countryside. Later, they pay a visit to Bert's Uncle Albert (Ed Wynn), who laughs so hard that he floats to the ceiling. Mr. Banks is pleased that his children are behaving better, but he's not happy with their fantastic stories. To show the children what the real world is like, he takes them to his bank. A series of disasters follow which result in his being fired from his job. Mary Poppins' role in all this leads to some moments when it is possible to fear that all her good work will be undone, but like the magical being she is, all her "mistakes" lead to a happy result by the end of the film. In 2001, Mary Poppins was rereleased in a special "sing-along" edition with subtitles added to the musical numbers so audiences could join in with the onscreen vocalists.
Consensus: A lavish modern fairy tale celebrated for its amazing special effects, catchy songs, and Julie Andrews's legendary performance in the title role.