One of my very favorite movies of the last year was Saving Mr Banks. It is an excellent movie for a Disney fan, a Tom Hanks fan and an Emma Thompson fan and as I am all 3 it was a prefect mix. But there is so much talk about how Disney used quite a lot of dramatic license on the details of Saving Mr Banks I started to think about how it really matters at all.
Saving Mr Banks is a great story. There will be spoilers here so if you haven’t see the movie yet – and you really should when it is still in movie theaters – you may want to see it before you read this. If you haven’t heard all the hype about Saving Mr Banks the basic idea is that it is a based on a true story representation of what happened when Walt Disney was determined to make one of his daughter’s favorite books, Mary Poppins, written by P.L Travers into a movie.
The movie stars a very brilliant Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. To take on an icon such as Walt Disney must be a daunting task even for an actor of the stature and talent of Tom Hanks. For me he does this brilliantly. There are many things that Disney fans will love about the movie Saving Mr Banks attention to detail about Tom Hanks portrayal of Walt. The way he
I adored the movie. So did my children. Yes I admit I spent the last 10 minutes in tears. It is that kind of movie. So when I got home I immediately googled the ‘true story’ and of course I found a lot of dramatic license had been used. Did I feel bad about that? For a moment or two but then I took a step back and remembered what a great movie it is. It never claims to be a documentary true story with all the details – it is based on a true story and a lot of what was in the movie was true. It certainly served a lot of it with a spoon full of sugar but did we really want to see a movie that was truly accurate.
Did we want to know the real P.L Travers? She wasn’t childless as portrayed in the movie. She adopted a son. The boy was a twin but she would only take one child. The boy was unaware of the existence of his twin brother until he found him on his door step one day at the age of 17.
There are many inaccuracies in the Saving Mr Banks. It is ‘based on a true story’ not an autobiographical account. That really wouldn’t be a good movie. The whole idea of the movie is that Walt Disney is trying to persuade P.L. Travers to sign over the movie right to the Mary Poppins story. But the reality is that she had already signed them over before she went to LA. The trip to California was for consolations about the movie and script – not the fundamental point about signing over the rights. But if the movie didn’t have that premise then it would have taken away the driving force of the story.
Walt didn’t stay for her visit. He saw her on the first day and then went to his home in Palm Springs leaving the Sherman Brothers to deal with the frosty Travers.
P.L Travers disliked the songs in Mary Poppins. “She hated everything,” says songwriter Richard Sherman. Feed The Birds was the song which broke the ice, not Let’s Go Fly a Kit as Portrayed in the movie.
We could go on with the inaccuracies but we feel that really we just shouldn’t. Saving Mr Banks is a very entertaining and enjoyable movie. It doesn’t pretend to be accurate and so we should enjoy it as it is.
The accurate parks of Saving Mr Banks? There were many. Walt Disney did promise his daughters that he would turn one of their favorite books, Mary Poppins into a movie. P.L Travers did have an alcoholic father who died when she was 7 (although he probably wasn’t quite as charismatic as Colin Farrell). Her mother did walk into a river in a suicide attempt. The inspiration for Mary Poppins may certainly have been Travers Great Aunty who arrived to ‘save’ the family with her carpet bag (she didn’t have an umbrella with a parrot head). T
There was no driver with whom Travers former a bond – in the movie he is a composite character designed to help the story. Travers really did not want any amination in the movie. She did cry at the premier (to which she was not invited) but only because she disliked the movie so much ……
But who really cares how much of the truth there was? Saving Mr Banks is an entertaining movie which was acted by outstanding actors. The first moments of seeing Emma Thomspon even without her saying a word at the beginning of the movie and you know that you are watching a very special movie. Tom Hanks does an amazing portrayal of Walt. Saving Mr Banks is a highly entertaining movie which I highly recommend.
Do you think that Saving Mr Banks should have been more true to life? Did you like the Saving Mr Banks movie?
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Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.