San Jose residents have the opportunity to see, among the other usual holiday movie offerings, a biographical sketch of the author, P. L. Travers, creator of the beloved character “Mary Poppins”, immortalized by Walt Disney. Starring Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers and Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, _Saving Mr. Banks_ is the story of the author’s deep personal love for her characters, and her fight to keep them from being too “Disney-fied” in Hollywood.
The plot also features frequent flashbacks to Travers’ childhood in Australia, and gives glimpses of the various people in her life who inspired Mr. and Mrs. Banks, Bert, and Mary Poppins, in particular. Fittingly, the movie also features tea many times; Travers is only seen drinking tea, and makes many pithy comments about tea, including: “it is an abomination to drink tea from a paper cup”, and “tea is balm for the soul.” She also weighs in on the “milk in first/milk in last” question: she takes her milk in first. During one of the childhood flashbacks, Travers’ prim and proper aunt – a major inspiration for Mary Poppins herself — arrives to help the family, and promises to fix everything while opening her capacious carpetbag and taking out a teacup and saucer. Walt Disney also visits her in London and asks for “a cup of your English tea.”
We all know the end of the story – since most of us have seen the finished product, animation and all – but most don’t know the struggle it took to make the movie, and the personal investment of the author herself. I found it a very interesting and moving story, and I would definitely see it again. It is a good movie to accompany a cup of hot tea, and if you can bring your own travel mug of tea and tea party pantry treats to the theater, so much the better, because my cup of Earl Grey cost me over $4! The movie will be running in the San Jose area for a little while longer, so why not welcome the new year with tea and a movie?
Copyright 2014, Elizabeth Urbach.
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For more information:
“P.L. Travers” entry in Wikipedia
“Mary Poppins” movie page on the Disney website
“Saving Mr. Banks” movie page on the Disney website
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