Wednesday, July 17, 2013

I'd Recognize That Silhouette Anywhere

Something I've discovered in the weeks participating in Hit Me With Your Best Shot, courtesy of Nathaniel R over at The Film Experience, is that the more familiar I am with the film, the harder it is to write about. Which is the case with this week's film, Walt Disney's Oscar-winning 1964 classic, Mary Poppins. I've seen the film so many times and know it by heart (if you're like me, just saying that magical nanny's name sends me into a tailspin of memorable quotes and songs. The songs! I've been humming "Feed the Birds" all damn day), that my mind begins to fill up with ideas and images and I just can't seem to focus on one thing. How do I pick just one thing when they're all so supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?! The film brings me so much joy that when I try to think of the reasons why, my only response is a big doofy grin. But as Mary says, "practically perfect people never permit sentiment to muddle their thinking." Luckily, I'm far from perfect. So, let the sentiment muddle away!

Do I go with her iconic entrance by way of a talking parrot umbrella that flies?

By the way, you can purchase your very own umbrella. I'm not entirely sure that it'll be able to talk to you the way Mary's does. (David Tomlinson, who plays Mr. Banks, was the voice of the umbrella in the film. It's been suggested that Mary was Mr. Banks' nanny when he was a child. The fact that the same actor does both suggests that perhaps Mr. Banks wasn't always so...grown-up. And there's always been a little magic still left in him. Kinda how the same actor plays Mr. Darling and Captain Hook in Peter Pan.) And it's probably best if you don't go jumping out any windows with it, as I'm not sure the flight feature is built-in.

Do you choose one of the parts of the animated "Jolly Holiday" segment? Like Bert dancing with the penguin waiters (man, even in the animated world out-of-work performers are servers).

P.L. Travers (the author of the book series the film is based on) so disliked the animated portion of the film that at the premiere she was still trying to make Walt remove it. I can't wait for the film coming out later this year, Saving Mr. Banks, that chronicles Walt and Pamela's tussle in bringing the book to the screen. But, the finished film was one of Walt's favorites and the only one that brought him a Best Picture Oscar nomination.

Or what about the most amazing medicine bottle that pours out different flavors from the same container?

To this day, whenever I pour something onto a spoon I secretly hope that it will be different colors and flavors each time. And I always recite this exchange:

Jane: Lime Cordial! Delicious!
Michael: Strawberry! Mmmm!
Mary: Rrrrum punch. Quite satisfactory. <hiccup>

Or do I just love to laugh and choose the tea party on the ceiling? I ask you, a tea party on the ceiling?

Ed Wynn, who plays Uncle Albert in this scene, also had another iconic tea party at Disney as he was the voice of the Mad Hatter  in Alice in Wonderland. The actor was allowed to ad lib much of his lines in this scene. The actor who played Michael, Matthew Garber, was afraid of heights, so to coax him on set, he was given 10 cents every time he had to go up on the wire. 

But, I ultimately decided on a shot free of special effects as my Best Shot:

So simple in it's execution, yet able to convey so much. I love that even without any fanfare, no bells and whistles, hell - not even Julie Andrews' face - a single shot of a silhouette can still be filled with whimsy and magic. Just as three circles alone immediately bring to mind another famous Disney creation, seeing the outline of this nanny's hat is instantly recognizable and able to put that doofy grin back on my face. 


  1. how wonderful. i can't believe i didn't consider that shot. love how nostalgic this post is. muddle away, sentiment. indeed.

    1. so many of the shots i thought of were in musicals sequences or full of movement that wouldn't really translate in a static screen grab, but i loved how much this one worked just as itself!