Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

The Real Story: P.L. Travers, Walt Disney, and the Inside Story of “Mary Poppins”

posted by Nell Minow

pl-travers-walt-disney-julie-andrews

As “Saving Mr. Banks” shows, Walt Disney did really spend more than 20 years trying to persuade author P.L. Travers to let him make a movie from her story about the magical nanny, Mary Poppins. Many moments in the film are taken directly from the tape recordings Travers insisted on to document her disagreements with screenwriter Don DaGradi (Bradley Whitford) and the songwriting team, the Sherman Brothers (Jason Schwartzman and B.J. Novak). Travers did not like the movie. She would not allow a sequel and made it clear in her will that should a theatrical version be mounted, no American could control it.

Advertisement

Travers had a fuller and more fascinating life than this movie portrays.  She was an actress, poet, essayist, and critic.  She was enthralled by the work of the mystic G.I. Gurdjieff and studied with him and  she lived with Navajo, Hopi and Pueblo peoples to learn about their mythology and folklore. She never married.  She insisted on being called “Mrs. Travers,” as the movie shows, but Travers was her father’s first name.  In the movie, she does not answer a question about her family.  She did have romantic relationships with both men and women, and she adopted a son, selected according to the advice of her astrologer. He had a twin brother she chose not to adopt or even tell her son about until the brother came looking for him.

Advertisement

Her essays are collected in What the Bee Knows: Reflections on Myth, Symbol, and Story.  And her biography by Valerie Lawson is titled Out of the Sky She Came: The Life of P.L. Travers, Creator of Mary Poppins.

Advertisement

From a documentary about Travers:

YouTube Preview Image

For more about the Sherman brothers, see the excellent documentary about their partnership and estrangement.

YouTube Preview Image

 

Previous Posts

Trailer: Disney's Descendants With the Next Generation of Villains
Coming to the Disney Channel this summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4UUQqefajc& ...

posted 3:47:40pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Men in Suits: Costume Designers Talk about "Scandal," "Mad Men," and More Suit-Wearing Characters on TV
The women's clothes get all the attention, but for a costume designer -- and for the actor -- a suit is just as important. Indiewire ...

posted 3:27:23pm Apr. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Matt Mamula of Celebrity Impersonator Documentary "Just About Famous"
Matt Mamula co-directed "Just About Famous," the very entertaining new documentary about celebrity impersonators. He generously took time to talk to me about the unexpected opportunities that open up when someone looks like someone who becomes ...

posted 3:59:51pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Interview: Barak Goodman of "Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies"
Director Barak Goodman talked to me about his superb series for PBS, Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, now available on DVD. The series is produced ...

posted 3:55:04pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Creativity Conference 2015: Nancy Pelosi, Snoopy, and Drones with GoPros
I had so much fun at last year's Creativity Conference that I could not imagine how they could top it this year, but they succeeded. This is ...

posted 3:07:48pm Apr. 26, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.