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The story behind ‘Mary Poppins’: ‘Saving Mr. Banks’

by BRIANNA SICILIANO Photo/Video Editor

The untold backstory of the film “Mary Poppins” has finally been released on the big screen in the new hit film “Saving Mr. Banks.” On December 20, 2013, the film hit movie theaters and had successful box office sales – an incredible $59 million.

“Saving Mr. Banks” tells the story of P.L. Travers’ stubbornness. As the author and creator of the “Mary Poppins” series, Travers (Emma Thompson) was strongly against the idea of Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) creating a movie based off of her books.

However, when the books stop selling and her income grows short, Travers agrees to travel to California against her better will to hear Disney’s plans for the film.

When arriving in California, Travers is brought to a Disney hotel. Her suite is filled with stuffed animals of Disney characters, which she stuffs into a coat closet, and a beautiful fruit basket. Inside the fruit basket, Travers finds a few green pears, which trigger memories of her childhood. Throughout the movie, the green pear’s significance becomes known, and quite frankly, is heartbreaking.

“I cried four times throughout the film,” an anonymous junior said.

In order to keep his 20-year promise to his children, Disney creates a warm, welcoming environment for Travers. Over two short weeks in 1961, Disney has the talented Sherman brothers (B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman) and Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) work with Travers and try to agree with ideas for the film.

“I will not have (Mary Poppins) turned into one of your silly cartoons,” Travers declares to Disney on numerous occasions.

Throughout her stay in California, many things trigger memories of Travers’ childhood. The audience finally gets a real look at the author’s troubled life: we watch as her family moves away from their home, her mother almost committing suicide, her father’s alcohol problem, and so much more.

Throughout her childhood, Travers shared a love for make-believe fantasy with her father, Travers Goff (Colin Farrel). Goff is a sympathetic man who has a hard time working through his alcohol addiction. He fails to realize the harshness of real-life and almost loses his job as a banker (hence the character named Mr. Banks).

When tragedy hits, Travers’ entire world is changed. She could no longer enjoy fantasy and make-believe topics because they all remind her of her troubled past.

Throughout “Saving Mr. Banks,” Travers becomes fond of many ideas the Sherman brothers and DaGradi come up with. However, when she hears that animation will be used in the film for the dancing penguins, Travers’ anger and stubbornness return. The deal is over…or is it?

Well, the film for “Mary Poppins” was created, so we do know that things had to work out. In “Saving Mr. Banks,” we do not only learn about Travers’ childhood, but we learn about Disney’s as well.

“I made all of my friends go see the movie after I heard about great it was. I’m thinking about seeing it again, actually,” said junior Giulietta Flaherty.

“Saving Mr. Banks” is one of the greatest films I have ever seen. The movie is a must see, and when you see it, be sure to stay and watch the credits. Throughout the credits, there is the actual recording of one of Travers, the Sherman brothers, and DaGradi’s meetings.

What is stopping you from seeing this film?

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