Live action combined with animation in ‘Mary Poppins’
The technique of combining live-action photography with the animated cartoon is employed in Walt Disney’s new musical-fantasy, Mary Poppins, which contains its two-week run at the State Theatre this week.
Julie Andrews won an Academy Award as Best Actress of the Year for her performance in the picture which also stars Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns and Ed Wynne.
When Van Dyke, as Bert, a sidewalk artist, invites Mary Poppins, played by Julie Andrews, and her two young charges (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) to accompany him on an outing in one of his chalk-drawing pictures they step into a fantasy world of painted backgrounds inhabited by a wide assortment of Disney characters.
In her title role, Miss Andrews is the nurse for the children of a banker, Mr Banks, and his wife, the latter a suffragette leader who has no time for her children.
Then Mary Poppins takes the two children to the bank they are given a small sum by their father to deposit in a savings account, which they reluctantly do but later return to demand the money back to buy birdseed for pigeons in the park. Their demands cause a stir in the bank, there’s a run on deposits, and the bank is broken.
Rushing from the bank, Jane and Michael run into Bert, who is now in the guise of a chimney sweep. He invites them to zip up a chimney for a birds’ eye view of London. When Mary Poppins happens along, they all dance merrily over the rooftops. Several more sweeps join the happy group and the dance continues on to the Banks’ house, where the maid, the cook, Mrs Banks and even Mr Banks are temporarily caught up in the spirit of the occasion. The next day, Mr Banks finds a battered old kite he once flew as a child and offers to fly it with his children. Mary Poppins sees them go and realizes she is no longer needed here. As she sails up over London, she sees Bert selling kites. With him are not only the Banks family, but also the executives of the bank.