Mary Poppins

Yesterday I watched Mary Poppins for the first time in some twenty years.  Mom told me it was my babysitting movie.  Whenever mom needed to do something and didn’t want to watch me, she’d put that movie on and I wouldn’t move from the TV.  Musta watched it a thousand times as a kid.

So how is it now that I’m an adult?

Surprisingly, I enjoyed it.  I was smiling the whole time, and damn what a long movie.  It’s over two hours long!  I don’t remember it being that long when I was a kid, though I think this was the extended version of the film; I don’t remember that scene between Burt and Banks in front of the fireplace.

There’s almost no story to the movie, but who cares!  It’s just plain fun.  Nothing sinister about it, nothing offensive.  It’s just fun, and now that I’m an adult I caught some of the jokes that flew over my head as a kid.  (“Made the tea undrinkable.  Even for Americans.”)

I didn’t know what Mrs. Banks was doing until now either.  Votes for Women, of course!

Boy, Banks is extremely British.  He is the stereotypical British person from the American perspective!  He simply will not tolerate such whimsy in his house!  The real world is orderly and productive, and this, dear me, how do you say, this whimsy must stop!

Why aren’t they raising their own children?  Is that a perk of being a British gentleman?  You get to hire out your childraising duties?  I laughed so hard at the scene where Mrs. Banks is faced with the horrible reality that there’s no one to watch the children except a filthy chimney sweeper whose name she doesn’t even know.  What’s she do?  She goes to her meeting and leaves this sooty stranger alone with her children!  Helllllo, lady!  These are your kids!  Votes for Women can wait, can’t it?

Didn’t remember the fox hunt, and the Irish fox.  That made me laugh.

Amazing how even though the song-and-dance musical was just going out in the 60’s, it’s still enjoyable to watch today.  My favorite number is the chimney sweep sequence.  Somehow, Mary Poppins made soot-stained rooftops and the smoke-filled cityscape beautiful.  Didn’t think it was possible to romanticize coal pollution, but this movie sure did!

It’s a good movie.  Full of whimsy, with a loose story, fun visuals, great dance numbers, and Dick van Dyke doing a lousy job faking a blue-collar British accent.  Somehow it just makes his character more charming.

Now that I’m an adult, I can appreciate how weird a character Mary Poppins actually is.  Who the hell is she, the wife of Doctor Who?  It never explains who or what she is, and we like it that way.  She doesn’t need a reason to be the way she is.  It’s just plain fun.

I haven’t watched or read anything that was just fun in a very long time.  It was refreshing.


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