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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Mary Poppins (1964)



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If an individual had to live his entire life and only ever see one film, what would it be? It depends on the individual of course, but I would not be surprised to learn that, in more cases than not, Mary Poppins would have to be it. It's more than just Disney's greatest live-action film ever. It's a truly perfect work of art. If Mary Poppins doesn't bring out the inner child in you, nothing will. You could be a hardened businessman with several decades of money-making behind your belt, yet you'll still find yourself every bit as overwrought with anticipation as Jane and Michael Banks, at the prospect of Mary Poppins' next fantastical outing. If you aren't jumping up and down in excitement, figuratively at least, you're hopelessly grown-up. The cast is universally stellar, children included. The songs are legendary even today. Robert Stevenson's Academy-Award nominated direction is superb. It is simply not possible to praise this film enough, so I won't make any further attempt. Instead, I'll ask a question: How much of the escapades Bert and the children get into with Mary Poppins are real? Did it all happen, or is Mary Poppins merely a catalyst for bringing out that special magic in each one of us? Here's a hint: if you answer the question, or if the question even occurred to you before now, you're completely, utterly missing the point.