Mary Poppins: Then and Again

The movie, Mary Poppins came into the lives of children in 1964. It was the first movie I took my son, Bo, to see when he was deemed old enough to sit through and enjoy the magic of the story. We drove from Cadiz, Kentucky to Nashville, TN (84 miles straight down I-24) to see the film for the first time. I wouldn’t expect him to remember, but I have never forgotten this trip or many times thereafter I have seen the film.

Mary Poppins is a 1964 American musical fantasy film directed by Robert Stevenson and produced by Walt Disney, with songs written and composed by the Sherman Brothers. It is based on P. L. Travers’s book series Mary Poppins. The film, which combines live-action and animation, stars Julie Andrews in her feature film debut as Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, and Glynis Johns featured in supporting roles.  It received a total of 13 Academy Awards nominations, including Best Picture – a record for any film released by Walt Disney Studios – and won five: Best Actress for Andrews, Best Film Editing, Best Original Music Score, Best Visual Effects, and Best Original Song for “Chim Chim Cher-ee”.  Mary Poppins is considered Walt Disney’s crowning live-action achievement and is the only one of his films which earned a Best Picture nomination during his lifetime.

I met the announcement of the new release of Mary Poppins Returns with uncertainty, but faith. How could any attempt at recreating this charming and delightful film be possible? But what if it is as good? Netflicks was as far as I traveled to finally see the second film. Set in 1930s London, twenty-five years after the events of the original film, the film sees Mary Poppins, the former nanny of Jane and Michael Banks, returning one year after a family tragedy. Released in the US, December 19, 2018, it one of the longest intervals between film sequels in cinematic history, at 54 years.

It isn’t my age that worked against the film because the little girl within is alive and well, still able to suspend belief in order to believe. Anyone introduced to Mary Poppins and her world for the first time will be pleased. But I was sorry to feel that the animated scenes weren’t as much fun. It’s hard to beat having tea on the ceiling! or riding your merry-go-round horse off into the countryside. By comparison, there weren’t as many ‘if only this was possible’ moments. However, I will remain forever grateful for the music.  It received four Academy Award nominations, two for Best Original Score, Best Original Song (“The Place Where Lost Things Go”)

We all must learn to hold the losses and changes in our lives. It is with great thanksgiving that I now know where lost things go. I am immensely comforted and touched to have found this out because Mary Poppins Returned.  I forgive any difference I may have with the second film and you will too.






About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
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6 Responses to Mary Poppins: Then and Again

  1. I confess that the first time I saw Mary Poppins Returns (in the theater with a friend) I kept comparing it to the original and feeling a smidge disappointed. This was entirely unfair, of course, because the original is such a masterpiece. The second time I saw it (in the theater with my now-adult children) I left all comparisons at the door and thoroughly enjoyed the film on its own merits. It really is charming and enchanting and clever in all the right ways, and I also was moved by the way it addressed something as difficult as loss. Plus, Lin-Manuel Miranda is just so doggone adorable! 🙂

  2. John says:

    I’m sure your son remembers that experience with great love for his mother, after all isn’t that what Mary Poppins is about love and forgiveness.

    • I have neglected this blog but in April I will be participating in the A to Z Blog Challenge. This year I’m writing about The GLories of Tea With Stepheny. 26 letters of the alphabet about various aspects of having tea. I hope you will try it to see if it is of interest. Sending love.

  3. johnvic8 says:

    We saw the new version with Makena in July. It was fun, but I still like the original a bit better.

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