Almost 50 years after Mary Poppins first charmed cinema audiences, Robert Stevenson’s magical film continues to cast a spell.
Yet the colour-saturated fantasy, which won five Oscars including Best Actress for Julie Andrews, almost never materialised on the big screen.
Australian-born British novelist PL Travers, who penned the series of books on which the film was based, famously rebuffed Walt Disney’s efforts to purchase the rights for more than 20 years.
When she finally relented in 1961, Travers was granted script approval, and archive recordings of the meetings between the author, screenwriter Don DaGradi and songwriter brothers Richard and Robert Sherman reveal her resistance to the Disney-fication of her beloved nanny.
That infamous tug-of-war between the writer and Hollywood filmmaker is recreated in Saving Mr Banks, an elegant and witty comedy emboldened by tour-de-force performances from Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.
Saving Mr Banks is an embarrassment of riches from the stunning lead performances to John Lee Hancock’s assured direction and Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith’s script.