Review: ‘Mary Poppins’ 45th Anniversary Edition
As new anniversary editions or Blu-ray releases of classic films continue to arrive, the question has to be asked each time: is it worth the upgrade?
In most cases, as with Paramount Home Video’s centennial series, the answer is always yes because the restoration work done to the film plus the extras make for a fine package. I wish the same could be said for one of my all time favorite films, [[[Mary Poppins]]].
The 45th anniversary set comes out on Tuesday and is a two-disc celebration of Disney’s great musical. The 139 minute feature film continues to delight and enchant and is a must have for any serious movie collector or parent. But, coming five years after the last anniversary collection the answer has to be, if you have the 40th, you don’t need the 45th.
The film itself is technically the same. Pristine in look, the film is at the original 1.66:1 aspect ratio and the color remains terrific. The audio remains available in Dolby Digital 2.0 or 5.1 surround sound and still sounds swell
Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke lead a well assembled ensemble who bring verve to each character so they remain memorable whether they say much or not. London in 1910 is filled with a bunch of odd ducks, that for sure, but none can top Mary Poppins, the practically perfect nanny, who comes to restore love and harmony in the Banks household. Along the way, both the parents (David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns) and the children (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber), have some adventures and learn some lessons.
It’s the extras that prove to be disappointing since Disney decided the 45th anniversary should celebrate the Broadway adaptation. The 48 minute background piece on the stage version is the main new element and is frankly somewhat bloated and stagey. Thomas Schumacher, Ashley Brown (Mary Poppins), Gavin Lee (Bert), producer Cameron Mackintosh, composer George Stiles, lyricist Anthony Drewe, and costume designer Bob Crowley all discuss their work and ham it up for the camera. You also get to see the staging of “Step in Time” which allows you decide to see if the show is worth you time and money (I’m staying home). The remainder of the elements on the bonus disc are identical to the 40th anniversary disc.
The movie also retains the commentary from Andrews, Van Dyke, and Dotrice, who are joined by songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman. The Song Selection optional and Pop-Up Trivia Tracks also remain.
Now, if you don’t have the 40th, then you should have this because all the features on the making of the movie, the unused music, and reminiscences from the cast and crew are a sheer delight and were terrific to watch again.