"The movie business is macabre. Grotesque.
It is a combination of a football game
and a brothel."
-- Federico Fellini
Mar 182014

photo for Though Walt Disney was at the top of his game in 1962 — having come off TV and movie hits like “Lady and the Tramp,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “One Hundred and One Dalmatians,” “The Mickey Mouse Club” and ” Davy Crockett,” as well as the success of Disneyland — there was one project that eluded him: a live-action adaptation of P.L. Travers’ children’s book “Mary Poppins.” Disney was up against a curmudgeonly, uncompromising writer who had absolutely no intention of letting her beloved magical nanny get mauled by the Hollywood machine but, as the books stoped selling and money grew short, Travers reluctantly agreed to go to Los Angeles from England to hear Disney’s plans for the adaptation. “Saving Mr. Banks” maps the trials and tribulations Disney faced in trying to persuade the author to allow him to make a film of her cherished story. Tom Hanks is perfect as the low-keyed but always sunny Walt Disney (though in real life, Walt had a somewhat darker side) and Emma Thompson, who like Kristin Scott Thomas can do no wrong, dominates the film as the persnickety author whose craggy exterior harbors a traumatic past. It’s not a remarkable film but rather a nice nugget of Hollywood history. Extras: Deleted scene “Nanny Song,” in which the Sherman Brothers composers perform a song that P.L. Travers is less than thrilled about. Blu-ray adds two more deleted scenes, “The Walt Disney Studios: From Poppins to Present” featurette, “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” in which the cast and crew sing break out in a rousing, heartfelt tribute to composer Richard Sherman on the last day of filming. Vitals: Director: John Lee Hancock. Stars: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Jason Schwartzman, Bradley Whitford, Annie Buckley, Ruth Wilson, B.J. Novak, Rachel Griffiths, Kathy Baker. 2013, CC, MPAA rating: PG-13, 125 min., Bio-Drama, Box office gross: $81.877 million, Disney. 3 stars

 Posted by on March 18, 2014  Add comments

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