Winds in the east…mist coming in…like something is brewing and about to begin. Can’t put a finger on what lies in store but we feel what’s to happen all happened before…
That’s right ladies and gents, Mary Poppins is back! Opening nationwide in the U.S. today is Mary Poppins Returns and we are excited! One of our favorite Brits Emily Blunt (Jane Austen Book Club, The Young Victoria, Into the Woods) will be leading the cast as Mary Poppins, the nanny who returns to save the day for the Banks siblings who are all grown up! The adult Michael Banks is in danger of losing his home after losing his wife and he, his sister and his children receive a shock when the nanny from his childhood arrives with her magical ways in tow to help their family through yet another crisis.
Mary Poppins Returns features an all-star cast that will definitely excite Anglophiles! In addition to Emily Blunt, Jane and Michael Banks will be played by Emily Mortimer (Notting Hill) and Ben Whishaw (Brideshead Revisited, Bright Star, Suffragette). Also, not only is Mr. Darcy himself, Colin Firth, involved (Pride and Prejudice, The Importance of Being Earnest) but a Vintage HQ staff favorite Dame Julie Walters (Brooklyn, Becoming Jane, Calendar Girls, Oliver Twist) is as well! And be sure to be on the lookout for other supporting cast like David Warner (Titanic, Ladies in Lavendar, The Secret of Crickley Hall), John Dagleish (Lark Rise to Candleford) and Downton Abbey‘s Spratt himself, Jeremy Swift!
The faces we’re perhaps most excited to see in Mary Poppins Returns, though, will be a few legends and cameos. We were absolutely thrilled to find out that stage and screen legend Angela Lansbury was going to be involved in this project. Lansbury, who made her film debut in 1944’s Gaslight with Charles Boyer and Ingrid Bergman, has had an impressive seven decades on the screen! With credits to her name every single decade since the 40s it appears she’s truly done it all! From taking on roles in dark stories like 1945’s adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray to doing musical comedy in 1955’s The Court Jester with Danny Kaye to playing Elvis Presley’s mother in 1961’s Blue Hawaii to taking on her own part-live-action/part-animated Disney movie (similar to Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns) in 1971’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks to tackling iconic characters like Agatha Christie’s Miss Marple in 1980’s The Mirror Crack’d (with Tony Curtis, Rock Hudson, Kim Novak and Elizabeth Taylor) to nailing voicework as Mrs. Potts in 1991’s Beauty and the Beast to doing theatre in the 2009 Broadway play Blythe Spirit to conquering the small screen in 2017’s television mini-series adaptation of Little Women. What can’t this woman do? So be sure to look for her (she’ll be the legend holding balloons) in Mary Poppins Returns and, also, please do yourself a favor and check out some of her previous work you’ve never seen before.
Now, onto some thrilling cameos. For the true classic Disney fan be on the lookout for the original Jane Banks from 1964’s Mary Poppins! Yes, she’s making an appearance and we’re delighted! Karen Dotrice and her co-star Matthew Garber were featured in not just one but three classic Disney films together…1963’s The Three Lives of Thomasina, 1964’s Mary Poppins, and 1967’s The Gnome-Mobile (a Vintage HQ staff favorite) and it’s lovely to know she will be making an appearance. The final cast member and cameo appearance of Mary Poppins Returns we must mention is the legend that is Dick Van Dyke. Van Dyke starred alongside the absolutely dazzling Dame Julie Andrews in 1964’s Mary Poppins. He charmed us as Bert the chimney sweep and impressed us by also taking on a very different character in the same film, Mr. Dawes Sr. Now he’s back as Mr. Dawes Jr. and we think it’s absolutely brilliant! Dick Van Dyke is another legend whose work needs a little review. While he may be best known for classic family films like Mary Poppins and 1968’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or perhaps his classic 60s television series The Dick Van Dyke Show with Mary Tyler Moore his over-sixty-year career includes so much variety that should really be explored by fans. Some may not realize that one of Van Dyke’s earliest credits was actually from an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents in 1960. He’s done musicals like 1963’s Bye Bye Birdie (with Ann-Margret and Janet Leigh), variety shows like The Carol Burnett Show in the 70s, more modern small screen movies and shows in the 80s and 90s like the long-running, popular television series Diagnosis Murder, voicework like in 2006’s Curious George and modern big screen work like the more current Night at the Museum films. This man is a national treasure and we’re overjoyed that he’ll be joining the cast of Mary Poppins Returns.
Finally, we think it’s important to note that, while we’re ecstatic about Mary Poppins Returns there is, of course, absolutely no replacing THE Mary Poppins with THE Julie Andrews. Period. Audiences definitely have feelings when the classics are messed with and we’re sure the tackling of the Mary Poppins character will be no exception. Whether a loose remake is made (think Johnny Depp’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory vs. Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) or beloved characters are used to tell a new story (like in the case of Mary Poppins Returns) some emotion will undoubtedly be sparked by those with a strong feeling toward a previous version of a character or story. We believe, though, that there is enough room in this world for every remake, reimagining, fan-fiction, prequel or sequel of any character or story that has brought joy to an audience and it’s important to appreciate each work of art as its own. The emotion we’re sparked with today is blissful nostalgia and we can’t wait for a reunion with our old friends on the big screen once again.
Photo Credit: Disney