This post started Christmas evening when I watched SAVING MR. BANKS. I decided to read P.L. Travers’ MARY POPPINS and to compare it to Walt Disney’s movie.
Part 1 – Comparing and Contrasting – The Book and the Movie: I always read a book twice. The first time to enjoy the story. The second time, to see the details. I took longer with MARY. That’s because I took notes so I could compare the book to the movie.
My big problem – remembering the movie from my childhood. I found the perfect link . . . it goes through the major scenes one by one. Link: Mary Poppins (film) - Wikipedia
Summary of the Movie’s Major Scenes. PLUS How the Book Compares
Scene 1 – Mary Poppins Arrives
The Movie – Katie Nana quits. Jane and Michael run away, but a constable brings them home. Mr. Banks writes an advertisement for a nanny, and so do the kids. Mr. Banks rips theirs up and throws it into the fireplace
The Book - The only thing that’s the same – Katie Nana quits. There was an advertisement, but Mr. Banks told his wife to write it. The other details – all from Disney.
Scene 2 – Mary Poppins Gets the Job
The Movie – A line of nannies arrive outside #17, but the wind sweeps them away. Mary descends from the clouds with her umbrella and the torn-up advertisement. She convinces Mr. Banks that he wants her for the job. She heads up to the nursery to clean up, armed with that spoonful of sugar.
The Book – Both Mary’s flew in from the east, holding onto a carpet bag and umbrella. There was a spoon in each, but Disney used sugar. In the book each child took a spoonful from the bottle. Each one looked and tasted different . . . they were made special for Jane, Michael, and the twins. BTW – I didn’t know there were twins in the book, and we’re still in chapter 1.
Scene 3 – Through the Chalk Drawing
The Movie – Mary and the kids meet Bert on a walk. They admire his drawings and wind up in one. They stroll through the park, take a carousel ride, and join a horse race. It ends when a storm washes the drawing away.
The Book - We made it into Chapter 2. That’s where Mary and Bert enter a chalk drawing. No kids allowed! The adults have tea, a carousel ride, but no horse race.
Scene 4 – A Pair of Outings
The Movie – In the first one the kids meet Bert’s Uncle Albert. He’s laughing so hard, he winds up on the ceiling. It’s so infectious that everyone else joins him for tea, jokes, and tears of laughter!
Mr. Banks is annoyed by all this cheerfulness, so Mary talks him into bringing the kids to work. At bedtime she tells them about tuppence for the Bird Woman, but when Mr. Dawes tries to take their money, it starts a run on the bank.
The Book – Finally, Chapter 3! There is tea on the ceiling, but it’s with Mary’s Uncle Albert. The laughing gas – it’s only there because it’s Friday AND his birthday. The kids were included, but not Bert. There’s much less drama, but so much fun!
As for the Bird Woman, she comes in much later, in Chapter 7. The kids were supposed to meet their father for tea, but that didn’t happen. Instead they met the bird woman. The book is calmer, sweeter, and fun.
Scene 5 – Run Aways, and Bank Trouble
The Movie – Jane and Michael run away. They’re lost in the back alleys of London until Bert finds them. He’s also a chimneysweep. He and his friends escort the kids home, with a little song and dance.
Mr. and Mrs. Banks return home and send the chimneysweeps away. That’s when Mr. Banks gets a call. He’s in trouble. Michael gives his father the tuppence, and Bert advises Mr. Banks to spend time with his kids before they’re grown.
The Book – The kids never ran away, or even made it to the bank. This is pure Disney.
Scene 6 – Mr. Banks Loses his Job
The Movie – Mr. Banks is fired, and he loses it – singing, joking, and laughing. Even trying to say . . . ready . . .
supercalifragilisticexpealidocious. He heads home happy, and the boss who fired him, finally gets the joke.
The Book – All Disney. The bank is barely mentioned in the book.
Scene 7 – The Wind Changes
The Movie – When the wind changes, Mary must leave. Mr. Banks fixes the kite and takes the family out for a flight. That’s when another banker gives Mr. Banks his job, plus a promotion. Mary flies away, and Bert tells her to come back soon.
The Book – It ends when Mary leaves. She told the kids she’d stay until the wind changed. They’re worried she’ll never return, but Mary leaves them with a note saying au revore. That’s French for – to meet again.
PS – Mary Poppins keeps her promise and returns for another book, with more adventures.
Part 2 – Mary Poppins – What Didn’t Make it into the Movie:
When I started this adventure, I wondered how much of Pamela’s book made it into Disney’s movie. Now I know – bits and pieces of five chapters. Pamela’s Mary Poppins had twelve. Each one is a gem of an adventure. I picked three to share. They didn’t make the movie, but they’re so much fun! I’ll give you a quick taste of each, but Pamela took pages to tell the whole fantasy. They’re amazing!
Chapter 5 features The Dancing Cow. She’s very ladylike until the night she feels the urge to dance. She can’t seem to stop – to eat, to care for her baby, or even to sleep. Her solution – she runs, I mean dances all the way to the king to ask for advice. That’s where someone finally notices a star that’s stuck on her horn. To get rid of it, she’ll have to jump over the moon. Did it work? You’ll have to read chapter 5 yourself.
PS - Was she that famous cow, the one who jumped over the moon? Pamela never said 😊
Chapter 6 is titled Bad Tuesday. It starts one morning when Michael wakes up with a ball of energy inside him. It makes him say/do naughty things, to his brother and sisters. To his parents, even Mary Poppins. She sends him ahead to pick up something golden, a compass. When he hands it over, it takes them to the four corners of the globe. They meet four incredible animals before heading home. You’d think the naughty energy would disappear. Not! Michael tries to get the compass that night, but it turns into a nightmare that finally ends his bad Tuesday.
Chapter 10 is titled Full Moon. Michael wants to know what happens at the zoo when there’s a full moon. That night Mary Poppins disappears, and Jane and Michael get tickets. When they arrive, the animals are roaming around, and people are locked into cages. That’s just one of the incredible things they see. The kids are sure it was a dream, until they see Mary wearing something from the zoo.
Next up – after I reread P.L. Travers’ biography – I’ll post how she was like Pamela in Saving Mr. Banks, how she was like Mary Poppins, and other discoveries I make along the way.
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!