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Saving Mr. Disney

The fairy tale is about a movie studio, not Mary Poppins.

Jan 27, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 19 • By JOHN PODHORETZ
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Disney was right, too, because the Mary Poppins film is an extraordinary thing—the only extraordinary thing produced by his studio between the years of 1962 and 1986, when The Little Mermaid saved the place. Half a century after its release, Mary Poppins must now be acknowledged as one of the four or five best movie musicals, with a dazzling score and some of the best dance sequences ever filmed. The Travers stories are more mysterious and more powerful, and the cutesy mood of the movie violates their spirit, but it still casts a deep enchantment.

Not so Saving Mr. Banks, in which Hanks’s Walt Disney spends two hours twinkling adorably while Thompson’s P. L. Travers hurls insults—before she gazes at the skyline and remembers her own pained youth in faraway Australia. Saving Mr. Banks is not enchanting at all. It is, rather, an appalling disgrace.

John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary, is The Weekly Standard’s movie critic.

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