Charm and fantasic adventure highlight Mary Poppins
Directed by Robert Stephenson.
Starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.
LSC Friday Classics.
10-250, 6:30 p.m.
By Stephen Brophy
Before she played a woman playing a man playing a woman on Broadway, Julie Andrews had many other faces. She starred in My Fair Lady in London and New York in the early 1960s, but for some reason was not considered sufficiently starlike to carry the movie. Mary Poppins is her revenge.
Julie Andrews won the Academy Award for best actress for this movie while Audrey Hepburn, miscast in the role of Eliza Doolittle so brilliantly created by Andrews on stage, wasn't even nominated.
Mary Poppins has charm to spare as it winds through its two hours and 20 minutes. Andrews plays a magical nanny who helps to bring a family together in turn-of-the-century London. The father is a banker, very precise, and a bit of a martinet. The mother dithers, and is supposedly a suffragette, of which she is a rather insulting representation. The two children wish for something better, and Mary Poppins is the answer to their wish. She leads them through a number of adventures and introduces them to many people before she magically changes their father's approach to family life.
Watch for Ed Wynn as a laughing uncle and Jane Darwell as the Bird Lady. Dick Van Dyke is a chimney sweep who shares the adventures. His cockney accent is about as convincing as Audrey Hepburn's, but his acrobatic grace contributes to the general whimsy.
There are also some great songs -- the Oscar winning "Chim Chim Cheree" as well as the classic "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." Because of its length, Mary Poppins starts early at 6:30 p.m. tonight night in 10-250.