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Film / Mary Poppins

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♫ "Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-ee
A sweep is as lucky as lucky can be
Chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cher-oo
Good luck will rub off when I shakes 'ands with you
Or blow me a kiss
And that's lucky too" ♫

"♫ Wind's in the east
Mist comin' in...
Like something is brewin',
About to begin...
Can't put my finger
On what lies in store...
But I feel what's to happen... ♫
All happened before."

Describe Mary Poppins? She's "practically perfect in every way," of course.

If that's too much of a mouthful for you, she's also a magical nanny, who literally flies into the life of the Banks family of London, England, in 1910, to take care of their children her own way. When most people hear the name, they think of the 1964 Walt Disney Pictures film, adapted from the book series of the same name by P.L. Travers. Directed by Robert Stevenson and written by Bill Walsh and Don DeGradi, the film stars Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, Dick Van Dyke as Bert, David Tomlinson as George Banks and Glynis Johns as Winifred Banks.

It has been adapted into a musical theater adaptation; this version replaces some of the less stageable aspects of the original film with elements of the original books.

The film was nominated for 13 Oscars, of which it won five.note  Today, it is considered a childhood staple on both sides of the Pond, although in Britain it is also remembered for American actor Dick van Dyke's truly abysmal cockney accent.

Saving Mr. Banks focuses around the long Development Hell the film underwent as Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) tried getting the rights from Travers (Emma Thompson). It was released in December 2013.note 

A sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, was released 54 years later, in December 2018, starring Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins.

Just a spoonful of tropes'll help the article go down, the article go dow-own, the article go down:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: George looks incredibly disapproving when the children's advertisement lists "never smell of barley water" — but Winifred is trying to restrain herself.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Mary Poppins in the original books was much sterner and stricter. The film makes her more of a Sugar-and-Ice Personality — to the degree that the original author thought she was too nice.
  • Adapted Out: In the books, Mr. and Mrs. Banks had five children (Jane, Michael, John, Barbara and Annabelle) and three servants (Mrs. Brill, Ellen and Robertson Ay). In the film , only Jane and Michael appear while Mrs. Brill and Ellen are the only two help.
  • Advertising by Association: The teaser for the world premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater has Walt Disney and theater manager Bob Selig wax nostalgia for the Fantasia roadshow runnote , before Selig declares that Mary Poppins has topped it as Walt's best movie.
  • Alcohol Hic: Mary Poppins briefly has hiccups when she drinks a spoonful of rum punch flavored medicine.
  • Almighty Janitor: Bert, despite being a jack-of-all-trades handyman whose resumé includes chimney sweeper, chalk painter, etc. seems to be one of the most well-off people in the film. The upper class seem to respect him, he is an associate of Mary, and is implied to have some magic of his own.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: The basis of a plot-important joke:
    "I know a man with a wooden leg called Smith."
    "Really? What was the name of his other leg?"
  • And Another Thing...: George Banks, on the tuneless piano, just before he leaves for work.
    Mr Banks: One thing more: I suggest you have this piano repaired. When I sit down to an instrument, I like to have it in tune.
    Mrs Banks: But George, you don't play.
    Mr Banks: Madam, that is entirely beside the point!
  • Angel Unaware: Mary Poppins. She's seen putting her makeup on while sitting waist-deep in a cloudbank, for heaven's sake. Possibly Bert too, though his magical powers aren't as reliable.
    But I feel what's to happen / All happened before.
  • Arc Words: They don't appear multiple times, but as the wind grows stormy heralding the Banks household's troubles, Bert is distracted from his mugging for the crowd. His next sung words imply Mary Poppins only blows into town when a family needs her.
    Bert: Wind's in the east, mist comin' in
    Like somethin' is brewin', about to begin
    Can't put me finger on what lies in store
    But I feel what's to happen all happened before
  • Artistic Licence – Economics: A single child refusing to invest a tuppence in the bank somehow results in the bank collapsing, although the implication is that when they hear someone yelling "Give me back my money!", everyone in the bank panics and tries to withdraw all their funds at once, resulting in requests that are more cash than the bank has on hand. Still a stretch though, as a few dozen people actually in the building at the time making requests wouldn't be enough to cause a run on funds.
  • Ash Face: Bert, naturally as a chimney sweep, is already covered in soot as is. Mary Poppins and the children get covered in soot when they're sucked up the chimney. Exaggerated by Mary Poppins, who takes out a makeup compact, and actually applies more ash to her already ash-covered face.
  • Bag of Holding: Mary takes full-sized hat rack, a neck-long mirror, a potted plant, and a hand mirror out of her carpet bag (one after the other).
  • Batman Gambit: Mary (probably) pulls this on Mr Banks. First, she puts the idea in his head that he should take his children on an outing to the bank. Then she tells the children all about the bird woman, whose hang out is conveniently on the way to the bank, and how kind it would be to give her their money. What ensues could only have been Mary's plan.
  • Beastly Bloodsports: Mary and her friends in the chalk drawing outing wander into a fox hunt and Bert decides to give the fox a hand to help him escape.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Subverted when Mary goes up the chimney and — along with the others — winds up with an Ash Face. She actually runs with it, using some black makeup to darken her face some more.
  • Benevolent Boss: Mr Banks certainly considers himself one.
    Mr Banks: I'm the lord of my castle, the sovereign, the liege.
    I treat my subjects, servants, children, wife
    With a firm but gentle hand. Noblesse oblige.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: When the family thinks Mr Banks has disappeared, Ellen blabs that the policemen should be dragging the Thames, as there is nice known spot where people go drown themselves — until Mrs Brill elbows her, as this is not helping one bit.
  • Berserk Button: Do not — repeat, do not — take Michael's tuppence.
  • Big Bad: In the film, Mr Dawes Sr. is the closest thing to this. He's the head of the bank and the surmounting pressure he puts on Mr Banks pertaining to his job is the primary cause of a lot of the strife that follows.
  • Big Finale Crowd Song: The film ends with "Let's Go Fly a Kite" were George Banks has officially reconnected with his children and realized the true worth of family.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": When Bert arrives at No. 17 at the start of the film, Ellen can be heard yelling "Shut up!" inside during an argument with Mrs. Brill.
  • Bilingual Rhyme: "The Life I Lead" gives us this rhyme in English and French:
    I'm the lord of my castle, the sovereign, the liege.
    I treat my subjects, servants, children, wife
    With a firm but gentle hand. Noblesse oblige.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Mr Banks starts to bond with his children, and the Bankses are now a happier family. But with winds changing, Mary Poppins has to leave, which she does so without so much a goodbye. However, Bert wishes her a fond farewell and she spares him a smile.
  • Black Comedy Pet Death: When Mary, Albert, Bert and the kids are floating from laughterWhy? and need to think of something sad to get down, Albert tries, but then it turns into a joke: A woman answers the door and there's a man who apologises for running over her cat, then says he wants to replace it, and she replies, "That's fine with me, but how good are you at catching mice?".
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Bert, with his job as the Greek Chorus.
  • But Now I Must Go: Mary Poppins will stay until the wind changes, which happens around the time the family she is tending to develops into better people. After that, she quietly leaves, without so much as a goodbye. The film implies that Mary will come back and reunite with Bert (though never romantically) time and time and time again.
  • Brick Joke: The "man with a wooden leg named Smith" joke from the Uncle Albert scene turns up again towards the end of the movie.
  • Caged Bird Metaphor: After the incident at the bank, Bert tells Jane and Michael that he feels sorry for their father, working all day at the bank with no one to take care of him, comparing his situation to being in a cage.
    Bert: You know, begging your pardon, but the one my heart goes out to is your father. There he is, in that cold, heartless bank day after day, hammed in by mounds of cold, heartless money. I don't like to see any living thing caged up.
    Jane: Father, in a cage?
    Bert: They make cages of all sizes and shapes, you know. Bank-shaped, some of them, carpets and all.
  • Capitalism Is Bad: Mr Banks himself is simply Married to the Job, but his fellow bankers are greedy bastards intent on swindling every penny that they can from their customers.
  • Caretaking is Feminine: A line of women all in black waits outside of the Banks home when they're looking for a new nanny for Jane and Michael (which makes it particularly amusing when Mary Poppins literally blows them all away).
  • Cartoon Penguin: The animated penguins are black-and-white with orange bills and feet, and black bowties.
  • Changing Chorus:
    • The chorus to "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" goes, "Tuppence, [adverb], [adverb], [adverb] invested in the... to be specific, in the Dawes, Tomes, Mousley, Grubbs, Fidelity Fiduciary Bank."
    • The chorus to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" usually goes, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious, if you say it loud enough you'll always sound precocious: supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!". However, the final chorus is just the song title sung four times.
  • Character Development: Mary Poppins's presence seems to cause character development. After she works for the Bankses, all four members of the household gain a new perspective to some degree, but the most drastic change would be Mr. Banks's transformation from aloof and distant patriarch to concerned and loving family man.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The joke about a man with a wooden leg named Smith that Bert tells Uncle Albert proves crucial, when Mr Banks appears before the bank staff including Mr Dawes, Sr., who is played by Dick Van Dyke, who also plays Bert the Chimney Sweep.
  • Chimney Entry: The many chimney sweeps in the rooftop scene seem to have no trouble leaping into and popping out of London's chimneys, culminating in a soot-tracking parade through the Banks's living room.
  • Cloudcuckoolander:
    • Mrs Banks
    • Mr Banks too at times, when not dealing with his job.
    • The Banks' eccentric neighbor, Admiral Boom, an insane old navy man who made a ship out of his house, cannon and all.
  • The Comically Serious: Mr Banks. Especially during the latter half of "Step in Time", once the sweeps enter the house.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: Gold Key Comics published a rather accurate comic book version of the film, complete with song lyrics.
  • The Compliance Game: Mary, the nanny to Jane and Michael Banks, gets them to tidy their shared bedroom by having them play a "game" called "Tidy Up the Nursery", all the while singing a song about how a bit of positivity can turn any chore into a game, just like adding sugar to medicine.
  • Composite Character: Bert's film incarnation is a combination of his portrayal as the Matchman and the Sweep character from the book series.
  • Contagious Laughter: Too much laughter is actually treated as some kind of sickness, since it causes people to float up in the air and it will affect anyone else who starts laughing to much as well; Uncle Albert's laughter causes Bert and the children to laugh as well and start floating with him. It also happens to Mr Dawes Sr. when he finally gets the "wooden leg named Smith" joke, though his laughter doesn't spread to the other bankers.
  • Continuity Cameo: The crowd Bert sings to in the opening scene are all supporting characters from the book series.
  • Crosscast Role: Many of the nannies in the large queue of applicants for the job at the start of the film were actually men in drag.
  • Dark Reprise: "A Man has Dreams" is this to "The Life I Lead", after Mr Banks is about to be fired.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mary Poppins has her moments.
    [after Mary talks to Andrew, a dog]
    Michael: I don't think he said anything.
    Mary Poppins: You know best, as usual.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The real main character of the film is Mr. Banks.
  • Defrosting Ice King: Mr Dawes Sr. asks Mr Banks if he has any last words before he's dismissed; Mr Banks gives Dawes Sr. his tuppence, telling him about a man with a wooden leg named Smith, and gaily exits, singing "A Spoonful of Sugar". Moments later, the punchline finally sinks in, and Dawes Sr. has such a hearty moment of laughter, Dawes Jr. reports that his father died laughing, and there's a job opening for Mr. Banks, who has a more positive outlook, and starts to spend more quality time with Jane and Michael.
  • Delayed Reaction:
    • When Mr Banks returns home, he's in such a good mood that he doesn't quite notice that Katie Nanna is leaving for good. Even as he is helping her with her luggage. A few minutes after she's gone, he finds out that she lost the children (again), and is about to fire her... and then realizes that he can't.
    • After Mr Banks tells Dawes Sr. the joke about a man with a wooden leg named Smith, the elder Dawes has a look on confusion on his face, and a moment later, as he's repeating the joke to himself, he finally understands it and laughs, floating up into the air with wheezy chuckles of laughter.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The film is set in 1910, so of course this is invoked. Between Mr. Banks's somewhat outdated views, Admiral Boom's comment of "Hottentot", and the presence of a goldfish in a bowl in the parlour.
    • The ethnic reference sparked a minor controversy when the BBFC retroactively raised the rating for the film from U to PG due to the word "Hottentot" being deemed as "discriminatory language".
  • Die Laughing: Mr Dawes Sr. laughs heartily and dies laughing as he finally understands a joke.
  • Digital Destruction: The 2004 DVD release featured both the original soundtrack, and an "Enhanced Home Theater Mix" which tampered the audio quite a bit, with nearly all of the sound effects replaced, and some of the music being reorchestrated. (Obvious examples include the wind when Mary Poppins is sitting on a cloud, Admiral Boom's cannon firing, the "Poof!" noise when the character jump into the chalk drawing, the thunder and lightning before it starts raining on the chalk drawing, and the fireworks following the "Step in Time" number.) Sadly, this version was also used whenever ABC Family aired the movie prior to 2012. Fortunately, Disney released a new DVD in 2009 with the new sound effects gone.
  • Dish Dash: The Banks household scrambles to keep their furnishings from falling over every time Admiral Boom fires his cannon.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: In "Supercalifragilisticexpalidocious" (even though the sound of it is something quite atrocious), one large cartoon woman plays a tambourine by slamming it on her diminutive husband's head. If the genders were reversed, it would have been a different scene altogether.
    Mary Poppins: ♪Better use it carefully, or it can change your life.♪
    Husband: For example...
    Mary Poppins: Yes?
    Husband: Once I said it to me girl, and now me girl's me wife.
    [wife slams tambourine on Husband's head]
    Husband: Ow! And a lovely thing she is, too.
    [wife smiles at him]
  • Double Vision: This happens during the song "A Spoonful of Sugar", when Mary sings near the mirror, and the reflection echoes her lines, and then sings without her. This mirror gag is briefly repeated in Mary Poppins Returns.
  • Dream Ballet: Performed by Bert and Mary in the middle of "Jolly Holiday". Even his cane and her parasol get in on the act!
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Mr Banks was, at the beginning of the film, a man Married to the Job, seeking a promotion and emotionally distant from his children. By the end of the film, he has not only reconnected with his children and realized the true worth of family, but he's also given a position as partner in the bank.
  • The Edwardian Era: The film's setting.
    Mr Banks: It's grand to be an Englishman / In 1910 / King Edward's on the throne / It's the Age of Men!
  • Epic Rocking: "Step in Time", at 8:42.
  • Exact Words: The children implore Mary Poppins to stay by asking if she doesn't love them. Her answer is cleverly dodgy. "What would happen to me if I loved all the children I said goodbye to?" She sends them down to their father, who takes them kite-flying so she can leave without ever needing to say goodbye.
  • Expospeak Gag:
    • Variant. No expospeak as such, but as it's a kid's movie this line has the same effect as one:
      Tradition, discipline, and rules
      Must be the tools
      Without them, disorder!
      Catastrophe! Anarchy!
      In short, you have a ghastly mess!
    • Later, this expospeak is heard again with a few different words that still mean the same thing:
      Tradition, discipline, and rules
      Must be the tools
      Without them, disorder!
      Chaos! Moral disintegration!
      In short, you have a ghastly mess!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Dawes Jr. is tearing up George's belongings, one of the bankers begs him not to destroy the umbrella before being shushed by the others.
  • Eyes Out of Sight: The animated singing lambs and sheep during "Jolly Holiday" don't have visible eyes. While they don't have bangs, their eyes are covered by their wool. In some concept art, the lambs do have visible eyes.
  • Facepalm: George Banks, fed up with everyone being so cheerful and singing one morning, to the point that he demanded Ellen close the window due to the songbirds outside, gives one when Jane and Michael come marching in afterwards, loudly singing "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious"!
  • The Fair Folk: Mary Poppins is pretty much what you'd get if you tried to be fairly accurate to the original legends, while still staying within the confines of the G rating (that is, a Disneyfied Fair Folk, rather than a Disneyfied fairy). She plays magical pranks (blowing away the other nannies, surprising the children with a Bag of Holding, "accidentally" trapping Michael in the closet during the nursery-tidying, startling them with the same bottle pouring out differently-colored liquid, etc.), is extremely vain, denies doing anything even when she's clearly responsible (the children getting pulled up the chimney), and leaves when the kids stop being startled by her magic (note how they pay no attention to her putting her things back in her carpet bag; yes, they're distracted by being upset that she's leaving, but they also are no longer impressed by her tricks).
  • Fall-in Angel: The story kicks off with Mary floating down with her umbrella to bring fun and magic to the Banks household.
  • The Film of the Book: Travers and Walt Disney's battles were lengthy.
  • Forced Meme: About a dozen of them in-universe during "Step in Time". These include "Step in time" itself, "Kick your knees up", "Flap like a birdie", "Over the rooftops", "Mary Poppins", "Votes for women", "It's the master", "What's all this?" and (hilariously) "Aahhh!"
  • Forgot to Mind Their Head: Mr Banks is looking in the fireplace for the children's notice for a nanny that he threw there (which Mary has just produced). His wife enters and calls his name, causing him to bang his head on the fireplace.
  • Foreshadowing: During his One-Man Band gig at the beginning, Bert plays the melody of the "Penguin Dance" from the Roger Rabbit Effect sequence as well as that of "Step in Time", the big chimney sweeps dance number towards the end of the film.
  • Foul Medicine: Discussed in the song "Spoonful of Sugar", in which the saying "A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down" is used as a metaphor for finding fun in a necessary inconvenience.
  • Fourth-Wall Observer:
    • Bert addresses the audience directly at the start of the film.
    • He does it again immediately as part of a busking routine before they leap into the chalk drawing.
      Bert: 'Ello, Art Lovers!
  • Frying Pan of Doom: Mrs Brill attempts to fight off the chimney sweeps with one.
  • Full-Name Basis: It's rare for anyone to use less than Mary Poppins's full name.
  • Funny Phone Misunderstanding: During "Let's Go Fly a Kite", a man says over the phone, "That's what I said sir: go fly a kite." The person on the other side of the phone must have taken it to mean "go away", however, because he then adds, "I didn't mean you personally."
  • Get Thee to a Nunnery: The "go fly a kite" joke is often lost on modern audiences. The phrase was once used as a family-friendly version of "Go fuck yourself," but is almost never used this way today. (Which, of course, is why Constable Jones apologizes after using it on the telephone.)
  • Gilded Cage: Bert references this to Jane and Michael when they question their father's love for them. Stating that his job is cold, heartless and difficult but he faces it every day for his family's sake.
    Bert: They make cages in all shapes and sizes, you know. Bank-shaped, some of 'em. Carpets and all.
  • Girly Skirt Twirl: Played with during the dance scene on the roof, when Mary twirls so hard she goes flying for a few seconds (although the flying bit isn't focused on the skirt, because it's part of the choreography).
  • Great Way to Go: What the characters say about the way Mr. Dawes, Sr. dies laughing as he finally gets a joke.
  • Happily Married: George and Winifred Banks. He may start out a stuffy old bore, but even at the very beginning there's no doubt he and his wife truly love each other.
  • Hated by All: Katie Nanna, who storms out after losing Michael and Jane, while they're still missing. As such, nobody misses her when she leaves.
  • Henpecked Husband: In the cartoon band sequence, as comedy.
  • Holding in Laughter: Discussed by Albert, Mary's uncle, in his song "I Love to Laugh". He mentions that some people, who he dubs "squeakelers", make squeaking sounds in an attempt not to laugh if they find something funny.
  • Homeless Pigeon Person: Mary sings a song to Jane and Michael about the Bird Woman (providing both the page quote and the image for the trope), a poor old women who sells bread crumbs to feed the pigeons with on the steps of St Paul's Cathedral. Later on in the movie, Mr Banks prohibit them from buying bird-feed from her with the tuppence he was going to have them invest at the bank. Close to the end, when Mr Banks soberly walks through London to the bank to be fired, he comes across the empty steps of the cathedral, with the heavy implication that she died, and that his children will never show kindness to her thanks to his callousness.
  • Human Traffic Jam: When the penguins are dancing with Bert in the painting, at one point they are running along, one after the other. When they suddenly stop, they run into each other.
  • The Hyena: Uncle Albert
  • Hypocritical Singing: Mary sings a lullaby to the kids entitled "Stay Awake" when the children stubbornly refuse to sleep because they were excited and wanted to relive their day in the chalk drawing.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: It's easy to remember most of the verses in "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" except when it states the name of the bank, which is where people start to mumble the words — you can't blame kids for not picking up the grown-up joke of a list of names for a bank. The verse is:
    ... invested in the / to be specific, / In the Dawes, Tomes / Mousely, Grubbs / Fidelity Fiduciary Bank!
  • Inexplicably Awesome: Mary is a classic example. She never explains anything, after all.
  • Insignia Rip-Off Ritual: Hilariously parodied when Mr. Banks is fired from the bank. Mr. Dawes, Sr. has his son destroy Mr. Banks' carnation, invert his umbrella, and punch a hole in his top hat in front of the board of directors. (As noted above, the umbrella-destruction provokes a small gasp of horror from one of the board members.) In other words, he was cashiered.
  • Jaw Drop: When Michael sees Mary Poppins slide up the banister.
    Mary Poppins: Close your mouth please, Michael. We are not a codfish."
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Mr. Banks.
  • Job Song: Bert sings two songs about two of his several jobs. One unnamed song is about his chalk drawings and one, called "Chim Chim Cheree", is about his job as a chimney sweep and chimney sweeps in general. They are, in truth, two versions of the same song, with different lyrics. On the movie-soundtrack album, the "unnamed" version of Bert's theme song is given the title "Pavement Artist".
  • Kazoos Mean Silliness: The penguins' entrance is accompanied by a kazoo, which was played by songwriter Richard M. Sherman.
  • Known by the Postal Address: The much-mentioned address of the Banks family is 17 Cherry Tree Lane.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Stay Awake" in the film. It's a lullaby. A very effective one.
    • Bert's own variation on the upbeat "Spoonful of Sugar" during "A Man Has Dreams", sung as a lyrical Aesop to Mr. Banks.
  • Magical Guardian: Mary Poppins.
  • Magical Nanny: The original, endlessly referenced and parodied.
  • Magic Skirt: Jane's skirt stays put as she flips in the air at Uncle Albert's house.
  • Matte Shot: Since the entire film was shot on a soundstage, Peter Ellenshaw made sixty-four matte paintings to recreate the vistas and skies of Edwardian London.
  • Meaningful Name: Mr. Banks and Admiral Boom. Also the admiral's assistant Mr. Binnacle.
  • Medium Blending: When they interact with animated characters inside Bert's paintings.
  • Midair Bobbing: All the people floating at Uncle Albert's house tend to bob in midair up and down, especially during the tea party.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: American robins in England, despite there being another species native to the British Isles with the same name. The penguins might also count, but it is a fantasy world after all.
  • Morally Bankrupt Banker: Mr. Banks's employers.
  • Musical Chores: "A Spoonful of Sugar"
  • Neologism: "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", although there is some dispute about whether the movie invented the word or merely popularized it. note  Richard Sherman has mentioned the song and the purpose of it was inspired by summer camp memories he and Robert had, where they would have contests to come up with words longer than antidisestablishmentarianism. He and Robert decided to put different parts of words together, getting the "atrocious" and "precocious" rhyme early on. note 
  • Named by the Adaptation: Winifred Banks had no first name in the books.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Katie Nanna refuses to accept any responsibility for the kids going missing multiple times during her tenure. Anyone who's spent any length of time with kids knows they will wander off and it's on you to keep track of them.
    • Mr. Dawes Sr. and the rest of the Senior Partners fail to realize it was their actions which led to the run on the bank, not Michael nor his sister nor father, as it was Mr. Dawes Sr. who took Michael's money by force.
  • Nice Guy: Bert.
  • No Antagonist: The movie has no villain, unless you count Dawes Sr. who is, at worst, a grumpy old banker who fired George for the chaos Michael unintentionally caused in the bank. George himself is a bit neglectful and severe as a father, but not villainous.
  • Noble Bigot: George and Winifred display mild sexist attitudes toward each other, with George speaking of his wife as if she is one of his many "subjects"; while Winifred, in her Straw Feminist song "Sister Suffragette", proclaims: "We agree that, as a group, [men] are rather stupid", but they are also portrayed as Happily Married despite their differences, even before George's stuffy attitude changes late in the film.
  • Noodle Incident: Implied during the "Step in Time" sequence when the Chimney Sweepers breach the Banks home. As soon as Mrs. Brill sees them, she exclaims "THEY'RE AT IT AGAIN!", implying something like this has happened before.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: Philadelphia-born Ed Wynn in his brief appearance as Uncle Albert.
  • Oh, Crap!: "It's the master!", "It's the master, step in time! It's the master, step in time!"
  • Oh, No... Not Again!: "Ahh! They're at it again!", "They're at it again, step in time! They're at it again, step in time!" Apparently those sweeps have been here before...
  • One-Man Band: Bert operates one near the beginning.
  • One-Steve Limit: Minor aversion.
    • One of the female names rattled off in the penguin scene is "Jane". Presumably Bert isn't referring to Jane Banks (a good thing, too, since, given the context, the reference would be more than a little creepy).
    • There's also Bert and Uncle Albert, though if he's Bert's actual uncle it's possible he was named after him. The book states that Bert's real name is Herbert.
  • Order Versus Chaos: Mr. Banks (order) vs. Mary Poppins (chaos). The trope is played with in that Mary behaves like a very order-oriented person even as she fills people's lives with delightful chaos.
  • Paper Destruction of Anger: Mr Banks drafts an advertisement for a nanny to put in the newspaper. His kids also draft an advertisement for a nanny. When Mr Banks finds out that the kids' ideas of what traits the nanny should have are completely opposite to the traits he thinks the nanny should have, he tears up the kids' draft in disdain.
  • Parasol Parachute: It goes up as well as down.
  • Parasol of Prettiness: Mary Poppins has one in the chalk painting sequence. Along with a lacy white dress.
  • Parental Bonus: Watch it as a kid and you'll get a thoroughly entertaining movie. Watch it again twenty years later and you'll suddenly be able to understand a whole host of jokes and subplots that you couldn't possibly have gotten as a kid, either for want of experience or vocabulary, or simply because the adults were talking too fast.
    • Mr Banks, a bank clerk, is given a "cashiering" on dismissal.
    • Mr. Dawes, Sr. takes a minute to get the wooden leg joke. But at least he realized that there was actually something to get there, as opposed to the other bankers thinking Mr. Banks had gone mad.
    • As a kid, you wonder why Bert is making such interesting faces as Mary Poppins sings about him being a gentleman. As a grown-up, you realize she's gently friend-zoning him, and he really wishes she wouldn't...
  • Parrot Expo-WHAT?:
    • Mr. Banks' initial inability to say, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".
      Jane: Mary Poppins taught us the most wonderful word!
      Michael: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
      Mr. Banks: What on earth are you talking about, supercal— super— or whatever the infernal thing is?
      Jane: It's something to say when you don't know what to say.
      Mr. Banks: Yes, well, I always know what to say.
    • And later, as he sings "The Life I Lead" again:
      Mr. Banks: (singing) These silly words, like... (stops singing) Superca... Superca... Superca...
      Mary Poppins: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious.
      Mr. Banks: Yes, well done. You said it.
    • He eventually comes around when he is discharged from the bank and Mr. Dawes, Sr., asks him if he has anything to say:
      Mr. Banks: (giggling hysterically) Just one word, sir.
      Mr. Dawes, Sr.: Yes?
      Mr. Banks: Supercallifragilisticexpialidocious!
      Mr. Dawes, Sr.: What?
      Mr. Banks: Supercallifragilisticexpialidocious! Mary Poppins was right, it's extraordinary! It *does* make you feel better! (giggles some more)
  • Perfectly Cromulent Word: George Banks spends much of the movie confused by "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", but by the end catches on with it, particularly during his dismissal from the bank.
  • Period Piece: Filmed in The '60s, and set in The Edwardian Era.
  • Politeness Judo: How Mary Poppins wins the horse race.
  • Politically Correct History: The rough and tough chimney sweeps appear to express a lot of sympathy for the women's suffrage cause in 1910 Britain during the "Step in Time" song. On the other hand, they approvingly start singing absolutely anything anybody prompts them with during that song, so the jury's out as to whether this counts.
  • Polka-Dot Disease: Discussed. When Mary refers to her uncle Albert's levitation upon laughing as a contagious illness, Jane wonders if spots are a symptom. Mary, however, doesn't think so.
    Mary: What he has is quite contagious.
    Jane: Shall we get spots?
    Mary: Oh, highly unlikely.
  • Portal Picture: Bert's pavement drawings.
  • Pose of Silence: Near the beginning of "Sister Suffragette", Mary bends to first Ellen and then Katie to tell them that while they love men, as a group they can be very dumb. She sings that line with a mischievous smile on her face.
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: The film brings together highlights from the original Mary Poppins book, while taking elements of the sequels.
  • Pretty in Mink: Mrs. Banks wears an ermine muff to one of her suffrage rallies. The muff does double duty as Mrs. Banks uses it to discreetly carry extra "Votes for Women" sashes.
  • Pungeon Master: Uncle Albert. When in the right mood, he cannot think about anything without it being a pun.
  • Random Events Plot: Quite a lot of the movie's run time is random loosely connected mini-adventures that the children and Mary go on, with subtle bits of character development to move the main relationships along. Though of course, not all tropes are bad, as it doesn't affect the great quality of the movie at all.
  • Really Gets Around: Bert is a male example. Just listen to his song with the penguins! The jealous look on Mary's face during most of the song, right up until Bert points out that none of the girls he's ever gotten on with can hold a candle to her, pretty much confirms it.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Even when Mr. Banks tells Dawes, Sr. off, the elder Dawes still manages to laugh at Banks's joke before he dies laughing and Dawes Jr. tells Banks that his father had never been happier, with the younger Dawes offering Banks a promotion after his father's passing.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Mr. Banks gives one to Mr. Dawes, Sr. one of these after he has been dressed down by the board of directors:
    Mr. Dawes, Sr.: Well, do you have anything to say, sir?
    Mr. Banks: Well, sir, they do say that when there's nothing to say, all you can say...
    Mr. Dawes, Sr.: Confound it, Banks! I said, do you have anything to say?
    Mr. Banks: [starts giggling] Just one word, sir...
    Mr. Dawes, Sr.: Yes?
    Mr. Banks: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
    Mr. Dawes, Sr.: What?
    Mr. Banks: Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious! Mary Poppins was right, it's extraordinary; it does make you feel better! Hee hee hee hee!
    Mr. Dawes, Sr.: What are you talking about, man? There's no such word!
    Mr. Banks: Oh yes, it is a word, a perfectly good word! Actually, do you know what there's no such thing as? It turns out, with all due respect, when all is said and done, that there's no such thing as you!
  • Refuge in Audacity:
    • Mary Poppins uses the wind to literally blow the competition away to leave the nanny spot open for her.
    • Mary Poppins hires herself. With, no less, the implication that Mr. Banks is the one who needs to impress her!
  • Reverse Psychology:
    • Mary Poppins owns this trope. She gets herself hired by interviewing her employer, gets the children to sleep by singing a lullaby about staying awake, and tricks Mr. Banks into taking the kids to work with him by acting like it's his idea.
    • It can be argued that Bert is even better at it, as his feeble attempts to enter his street painting with the children cause Mary to give him a frustrated sigh and simplify matters by doing it correctly, even though she had "no intention of making a spectacle of herself" in that manner. Bert out-reverse-psychologied Mary Poppins.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Where exactly does Mary Poppins come from? What's the source of her magical powers, and how did she get ahold of that equipmets she owns?
  • Right on Queue: The vast queue of no-nonsense nannies who reply to the advert from Mr Banks, rather than the one written by the children. The queue would take a very long time to process as Mr Banks insists on them coming in one at a time, but they are blown away by the wind before this happens.
  • Roger Rabbit Effect: One of the film's most famous sequences.
  • Rummage Fail: Mary Poppins hunting for her tape-measure, showing a rare moment of exasperation, and even stamping her foot in annoyance.
  • Running Gag: Admiral Boom firing his cannon like clockwork twice a day.
  • Sad Clown: Bert briefly becomes this when he tries to cheer up Uncle Albert and moves him to tears after Mary Poppins and the Banks children have to go home:
    Bert: Uncle Albert, I got a jolly joke I saved for just such an occasion. Would you like to hear it?
    Uncle Albert: [with tears in his eyes] I'd be so grateful.
    Bert: Well it's about me granddad, see, and one night he has a nightmare. He was so scared, he chewed his pillow to bits. Bits. In the morning, I says, "How you feel, Granddad?" He says, "Oh, not bad. A little down in the mouth." [Uncle Albert cries harder]
    Bert: I always say there's nothing like a good joke.
    Uncle Albert: [crying] No, and that was nothing like a good joke.
  • Sanity Slippage: Dawes Sr. and Junior believe that George has gone mad when he tells the elder Dawes the joke about a wooden leg named Smith, and sings "A Spoonful of Sugar" off-key as he leaves.
  • Sarcastic Clapping: Bert's "high-wire" act in the park provokes this response.
  • Scenery Porn: Almost definitely spot-on as far as the sights of London go. Especially the St. Paul's Cathedral in "Feed the Birds" sequence.
  • Schedule Fanatic: George Banks towards the beginning of the film. "The Life I Lead", which is also his Leitmotif, is all about how happy he is being one.
    George: I run my home precisely on schedule. At 6:01, I march through my door. My slippers, sherry, and pipe are due at 6:02, consistent is the life I lead!
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior: Mr. Dawes is extremely old and has a throaty voice. He also coughs a lot.
  • Setting Update: Inverted, since the books took place in The '30s. The film takes place in Edwardian London instead.
  • Shoo Out the Clowns: Starting when Mr. Banks is called into the bank. Mr. Banks confides to Bert at the awful prospect of losing his dreams and unable to support his family while Bert reminds him that his children will only be around a short time as well, so he must treasure their love as well.
  • Significant Anagram: During the end credits, "Nackvid Keyd" is credited as the actor that played Mr. Dawes, Sr. The letters then physically move to unscramble the actor's real name: Dick Van Dyke. That's right, Bert was also Mr. Dawes, Sr.
  • Silk Hiding Steel: Mary Poppins is a prim and proper young woman; the only one not to lose her composure during the laughing scene. She also manipulates her employer with the ease of a pro. See her entry on Reverse Psychology.
  • Snow Globe of Innocence: Mary shows the children a snow globe featuring St. Paul's Cathedral as she sings "Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)". The song is about a kindly old woman who makes her living selling crumbs to feed to birds, an innocent activity that Michael is scolded by his father for wanting to do.
  • Solo Duet: Both "in movie", when Mary Poppins sings with her reflection, and then "in production", when Julie Andrews dubbed in the robin-whistles in the same song.
  • Space Jews: The fox in the animated sequence has a "whimsical" Irish accent. And he's being hunted by Englishmen. Symbolism, people.
  • Speaks Fluent Animal: Mary can talk to animals, per the novels.
  • Standard Snippet: During Bert's aforementioned "high-wire" act, he hums the big-top standard "Over the Waves" — as hammily and overdone as possible, of course.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: The Banks adults at the beginning of the film — they're so British that even Admiral Boom's daily cannon firings are only a cause of very mild alarm for the servants. (Mary's arrival, of course, inserts so much chaos into the household that even Mr. Banks starts getting visibly upset.)
  • A Storm Is Coming: Used at the beginning to indicate trouble in the Banks family. It's also used at the end to indicate that all is well, now.
  • Suffrage and Political Liberation: Women's fight to win the right to vote is peripherally present. Mrs Banks is involved in suffragettes' demonstration and is nearly arrested.
  • The Suffragette: Winifred Banks, the children's mother, is part of the "Sister Suffragette" group in the film's setting of 1910. She even gets a musical number about it. The film portrays her as a cranky suffragette who is too busy to take care of her family and her friends are just as aloof.
  • Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Mary Poppins.
  • Supporting Protagonist: A case is often made that Mary Poppins is this trope and the movie is really about George Banks. In any case, it's true enough that he gets more Character Development than anyone else. This is what the title of Saving Mr. Banks refers to, as P.L. Travers explaining this to Walt Disney is a major plot point.
  • Sweet Sheep: Among the farm animals spotted during the "Jolly Holiday" sequence inside the magic chalk pavement. A trio of cute lambs are spotted singing alongside Mary and Bert. Bert is actually seen conducting the lambs after the grown sheep finished his verse.
  • Take the Third Option: In a roundabout way; Mr. Dawes tries to convince Michael to deposit his tuppence in the bank, while Mary Poppins encourages him to give it to the bird woman at St. Paul's Cathedral. By the end of the movie, his father provides a much better use for a tuppence:
    Mr. Banks: With tuppence for paper and strings,
    You can have your own set of wings...
  • Take This Job and Shove It: Upon uttering "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", George Banks decides he should say something to his employers:
    Mr. Dawes Sr.: What are you talking about, man? There's no such word!
    Banks: Oh yes! It is a word! A perfectly good word! Actually, do you know what there's no such thing as? It turns out, with due respect, when all is said and done, that there's no such thing as YOU!
  • Tennis Boss: When Admiral Boom starts shooting off fireworks towards the dancing chimney sweeps thinking they're hottentots (and ending the Step In Time number), one firework coming in Bert's direction gets hit like a cricket ball by his sweep back towards Admiral Boom. Admiral Boom even compliments such a hit before he has to duck.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Ellen can sense Mr. Bank's lecture to Mary Poppins a mile away.
    Ellen: She's for it now! I've heard the master do this speech before.
  • Trickster Mentor: Mary Poppins.
  • Unresolved Sexual Tension: Mary and Bert seem to have been a couple sometime in the past, which rises to the surface during their outing in the country. ("You haven't changed a bit!")
  • Villain Song: "Fidelity Fiduciary Bank" can be considered this.
  • Visual Pun: When Mary replies to the Banks children's torn up letter, there is a line of nannies at the door when she swoops in on a gust of wind and literally blows the competition away.
  • Watch Where You're Going!: During the "run on the bank" scene, two bankers carrying huge chests of money crash into each other, spilling money everywhere.
  • Weirdness Censor: Mr Banks is totally oblivious to the chaos around him which always follows Admiral Boom firing his cannon, merely saying "Ellen, it is now eight o'clock.", and adjusting his outfit while looking in a mirror swinging from side to side.
  • Westminster Chimes: In the score during the rooftop scene, between orchestral reprises of "Spoonful of Sugar" and "Feed the Birds". Also at the end of the "Pavement Artist" song (but this is only audible on the original movie-soundtrack album).
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Brits have been asking Dick Van Dyke this for 50 years. His consistent answer seems to be, "Funny", although he has also stated that his voice coach was an Irishman who couldn't do a good cockney imitation either, which also helps explain the issue. Ironically, he is able to do a spot-on upper-class English accent when playing Mr. Dawes Sr.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: And yes, Mr. Banks learns to have fun with his kids by the end. In a heartwarming twist (likely not included in any other version of this Trope), the kids get an aesop on the subject as well; just because their parents aren't around as much as they'd like doesn't mean they don't love them. And also that being a grown-up and providing for a family is very hard, and you shouldn't be too hard in judging them.
  • Winds Of Change: the visual of a weathervane switching to the other direction is used a few times to indicate that a new phase of the Bankses' lives has begun. In particular the arrival of our heroine and the epiphany of Mr. Banks.
  • With All Due Respect: Parodied, when Mr. Banks says this with giddy giggles as he tells Mr. Dawes Sr. off, saying that after all is said and done, there's no such thing as him.


Video Example(s):


The Bird Woman (Mary Poppins)

"Come feed the little birds, show them you care

And you'll be glad if you do

Their young ones are hungry, their nests are so bare

All it takes is tuppence from you"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / HomelessPigeonPerson

Media sources: