Welcome to British Isles Friday! British Isles Friday is a weekly event for sharing all things British and Irish — reviews, photos, opinions, trip reports, guides, links, resources, personal stories, interviews, and research posts. Join us each Friday to link your British and Irish themed content and to see what others have to share. The link list is at the bottom of this post. Pour a cup of tea or lift a pint and join our link party!
Last week, I shared my latest discovery in a life-long journey of finding ways to quiet an active mind in order to fall asleep, The Honest Guys. Tina gave us the first lines of the suspense novel, Stone Mothers by Erin Kelly — now, I’m looking forward to her review! Gaele reviewed two books: The Time of Our Lives by Portia MacIntosh and A Perfect Cornish Summer by Phillipa Ashley.
The 1964 version of Mary Poppins with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke is one of my favorite movies ever. I saw it for the first time when I was 18 — back in the days when you had to wait for a film to be re-released in theaters to see it. My mother felt bad that I was about to go away to college without having seen Mary Poppins, so she took me to see it during the 1980 re-release.In the VHS years, Mary Poppins was one of the few cassettes that Rick and I owned instead of rented. We wanted one movie in our collection that we could watch with children on the occasions that one or more of our niece and nephews spent time at our house. We borrowed the phrase “spit-spot” as a funnier version of “hurry up” and we still sing songs from the movie at any appropriate moment that involves spoons full of sugar, desires to sound precocious, or chimney sweeps.
With that long history, I was a little worried that I would be disappointed by Mary Poppins Returns.
Fortunately, I was delighted by the first minute. Lamplighter, Jack (played by Lin-Manuel Miranda), sings a love song to London while bicycling around its greatest landmarks. The opening titles are backed by paintings of even more landmarks. I’ll have to watch it again to name them all, but here were some: the bell and clock tower of Westminster Palace, Tower Bridge, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Mary Poppins Returns sealed the deal, for me, as a worthy successor to the original film with the book-themed song-and-dance number during the animated sequence. This scene has giant books with pop-up scenes, a rapid-fire verse that needs a rap singer to perform it, and a gorgeous color scheme featuring purple. And, the dancing penguins from the original film. How could I not love this?Here’s the introduction to “A Cover is Not the Book”, as sung by Mary Poppins (played by Emily Blunt):
Uncle Gutenberg was a book worm
And he lived on Charing Cross.
The memory of his volumes brings a smile.
He would read me lots of stories
(when he wasn’t on the sauce).
Now I’d like to share the wisdom
Of my favorite bibliophile.
What book lover could resist that song? It won’t ruin the plot to watch this number before you see the whole film, so take a look:
Couldn’t catch all the words? Try this version:
Like the original film, there’s some darkness and depth in this version. The grown-up Michael Banks (played by Ben Whishaw) and his three children grieve the loss of his wife. The bad economic times impact the plot and some of the characters. As she did in the earlier story, Mary Poppins brightens the day without dismissing the reality of the pain.
Have you seen Mary Poppins Returns? What did you think?