Mary Poppins changed my life at the age of four and made me want to pursue a career of creativity and joy. It was the first film I ever saw, either in a theater or on TV. My mother sneaked me into a Montreal cinema to see this in 1964, when I was 4. At the time, children under six weren't admitted to Quebec movie theaters.
This film is haunting, funny, scary, tuneful and deeply meaningful. Its characters, magic and songs have stayed with any one who has seen throughout their lives. It's about childhood - and adulthood, and getting ones childhood back in adult life, even though you never noticed that it had disappeared.
For adults who haven't seen it since childhood, it has a different resonance. The one performance that stands out is the note perfect, subtle and affecting performance by David Tomlinson as Mr. Banks. The whole story of the film turns on him, (kids would probably not notice this) and he manages to be in turns: clueless, belligerent, regretful and finally, a flawed, loving and deeply human father.
I need not say much about Andrews and Van Dyke's charisma, chemistry and musical genius, they are perfection, Dick's horrible cockney accent actually doesn't matter a bit. And I'm a stickler for accents. The songs are the best crop of fresh, original songs ever written for a English language film. For anyone curious, I'd recommend 'The Boys' a very touching documentary about the composers, the Sherman brothers.
The film is stodgily, but effectively directed, and is overly long. That said, it well deserves its 100% rating and will live forever, whichever way people are screening movies in next few hundred years. Every kid I know loves this film, boys and girls alike. I look foward to the Blu Ray version of this masterpiece.