Part 1 – Watching Mr. Banks: It was Christmas evening, and I finally controlled the remote . . . everyone else was going to bed. I was searching the Disney channel for a movie, and that’s when SAVING MR. BANKS called out to me. I’d seen it before, but I picked it over the other Christmas movies. Maybe because I’d been watching them since Halloween.
My husband actually stayed up and watched half of it. He’d never seen it before, but somehow it drew him in. Maybe because we both grew up with Disney. Back then we watched Walt every Sunday night. Going to his movies was a real treat.
Maybe he stayed because it took us behind the scenes of the movie we loved as kids. MARY POPPINS was magical! It stirred your imagination. It took you places you could never go, like into a chalk drawing. Watching MR. BANKS was like peeling back the curtains and discovering the truth, just like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz.
The first time I watched SAVING MR. BANKS, I focused on Mary Poppins and how her movie was born. I was fascinated! But this time, I went deeper. I noticed details I missed before.
Part 2 – The Details I Caught – The Second Time Around: I was so focused the first time on how MARY POPPINS was born, that I didn’t really notice it was just one half of SAVING MR. BANKS. There are two! They take place decades apart, but Mary connects them. She makes them whole. This illustration from an Amazon review helped me picture how they connect.
The first story is at the top, the one from the early 60’s. It’s about Walt Disney and Pamela Travers. I didn’t know she fought to keep Mary out of Walt’s hands. It took him over 20 years to get the rights for her book.
The second story is about a girl and her father. It’s at the bottom. It took place around 1906, and it’s Pamela’s story. Of her childhood, of how much she loved her father, in spite of his flaws.
Connecting Walt and Pamela – MARY POPPINS. I didn’t realize until I watched it this time, that Mary helped Pamela make sense of her childhood, by writing about it. No wonder Pamela was so protective of her. I’d do the same for any of my characters!
I loved Mary Poppins when I was 5. Now I love her even more, but I’m curious. The longer I watched Mr. Banks, the more I wanted to know about the first Mary. And the real Pamela. After the movie was over, I searched for the first version of MARY POPPINS, not the picture book. That’s the movie version. I wanted Pamela’s real story, the original, the one that made Walt chase it for 20 years so he could make it into a movie.
I also wanted to learn more about the real P.L. Travers. I write, so I know stories often begin with the truth. Then they’re stretched and changed to make better stories. So I ordered Pamela’s biography. I’ll let you know what I discover.
The book I started tonight – MARY POPPINS. I’ll let you know what I think – how it’s like the movie version and SAVING MR. BANKS. Then, how it’s different. If you'd like to click and go, here you go . . .
Rinda Beach - Blog - Rinda Beach
Saving Mr. Banks is a fascinating look at the circuitous "collaborative" process Walt Disney, his creative team, and author P.L. Travers engaged in in bringing the character Mary Poppins to life on the big screen in the early 1960s. This touching, funny film is really two stories nicely tied up in one appealing package. The first story is of P.L. Travers's childhood in Australia in the early 1900s. This story starts out idyllically enough, emphasizing her father's immense love for his children and his uncanny ability to make everything fun and exciting, but it's one that has a darker side that ends up shaping the adult that Travers eventually becomes. The other story is of the adult P.L. Travers. A proper Englishwoman completely set in her ways, she grudgingly embarks on a trip from England to Los Angeles to discuss the possibility of turning her highly successful book Mary Poppins into a Disney motion picture. Walt Disney has a vested personal interest in the project, but Travers and the Disney team clash on virtually every level and their interactions run the gamut from perplexing to infuriating and downright funny. The juxtaposition of the two stories is quite masterful, with the stories continually intertwining and each shedding light on the other to create a cohesive film that is highly engaging and emotionally poignant. The casting of Tom Hanks as Disney and Emma Thompson as Travers is inspired: they are absolutely perfect in their roles. Perhaps the most intriguing thing about this film is that Saving Mr. Banks creates a whole new perspective from which to view the beloved original Mary Poppins. (Ages 10 and older) --Tami Horiuchi
When I write, I can only have one voice in my head, mine. A little noise is fine. But too much, or worse yet, WORDS, and I must change rooms or pull out headphones. Then I can write on!