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!
I watched Saving Mr. Banks when it came out on DVD, but apparently never wrote about it here. Although, you might recall that I was pretty excited about Mary Poppins Returns — I wrote about the pre-release publicity, the movie itself, and the scene in front of the Crystal Palace.
I streamed Saving Mr. Banks again recently when I was looking for something that I could count on being sweet and fun. Also, I suspect, because seeing the trailers for Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers reminded me that he played Mr. Disney in this film.
Famously, Walt Disney wanted to make the film Mary Poppins ever since his daughters fell in love with the book. P.L. Travers was having none of it. She didn’t like cartoons, she didn’t like Disney, and she didn’t want her creation marred by a film version that didn’t match the characters and stories in her books and in her imagination.
In Saving Mr. Banks, Walt Disney (played by Tom Hanks) has finally convinced P.L. Travers (played by Emma Thompson) to come to Hollywood where he hopes he can cajole her into letting him make the film.
Saving Mr. Banks is set in 1961 when both Disney and Travers are mature and thinking about their legacies. Travers is also experiencing money woes and has more reason to consider Disney’s offer than in the preceding decades.
Flashbacks show us Travers as a child in Australia, a part of her story that I knew nothing about before seeing this film. I always thought of her as British. She moved to England at age 25 and set her books in her adopted location.
A lot of the fun in Saving Mr. Banks is the contrast between England and Hollywood and between P.L. Travers and Walt Disney.
I just found a channel on YouTube, Be Kind Rewind, that makes amazing short documentaries about the history of women and film. I love how she blends modern feminism and anti-racism with a love of film, even when the film she’s talking about is the antithesis of both. She’s not an apologist. Instead, she puts everything in a context that leads me to a more nuanced and complicated understanding.
Here’s her take on Julie Andrews’ Oscar win for playing Mary Poppins.
Saving Mr. Banks even gets a mention as being kind of accurate. Did you see Saving Mr. Banks? What did you think?