Saving Mr. Banks is the Disney version of event’s surrounding Walt Disney’s long struggle to bring Mary Poppins to the screen in 1964. It was not easy. P.L. Travers who wrote the Poppins Books did not trust Hollywood, and had no desire for some film executive to mangle the spirit of her book. How Walt finally won her over, and then held her at bay to get the film made is stuff legends are made of. Whether or not this particular legend is screen worthy itself, we’ll soon find out. Tom Hanks plays Walt. Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers. I know I’m really looking forward to this and hope it lives up to my expectations. The movie is scheduled to be released in the U.S. on December 13th. Here’s the trailer.
And there’s this from the IMDB:
According to the 40th Anniversary DVD release of Mary Poppins in 2004, Walt Disney first attempted to purchase the film rights to Mary Poppins from P.L. Travers as early as 1938 but was rebuffed because Travers was disgusted on Hollywood handles book-to-film adaptations, and did not believe a film version of her books would do justice to her creation. In addition, Disney was known at the time primarily as a producer of cartoons and had yet to produce any major live-action work. For more than 20 years, Disney periodically made efforts to convince Travers to allow him to make a Poppins film. He finally succeeded in 1961, although Travers demanded and got script approval rights. Planning the film and composing the songs took about two years. Travers objected to a number of elements that actually made it into the film. Rather than the Sherman Brothers original songs, she wanted the soundtrack to feature known standards of the Edwardian period in which the story is set. She objected the "anti-feminist" ending, where Winifred Banks, the mother of Jane and Michael, put aside her devotion to the suffragist movement to be with her children and to round up help and support to find George Banks when he "disappeared" and never came back from the bank. She also objected the idea to use animation to depict the chalk board world. Disney overruled her, citing contract stipulations that he had final say on the finished print. She refused to allow any other Mary Poppins books to be filmed, even though Walt tried very hard to persuade her as he did before.