Saving Mr. Banks

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Saving Mr. Banks is a 2013 period drama film in which author P. L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.

Directed by John Lee Hancock. Written by Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith.
Where her book ended, their story began.taglines

Walt Disney[edit]

  • George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.
  • I've fought this battle from her side. Pat Powers, he wanted the mouse and I didn't have a bean back then. He was this big terrifying New York producer and I was just a kid from Missouri with a sketch of Mickey, but it would've killed me to give him up. Honest to God, killed me. That mouse, he's family.

P. L. Travers[edit]

  • [as she throws a Mickey Mouse doll off her bed] You can stay over there until you learn the art of subtlety.
  • [Sees a Winnie the Pooh doll in her room] Poor A. A. Milne.
  • No, those aren't songs, they're recitations. She's not a giddy woman. She doesn't jig about. I mean, singing is frivolous. It is whole unnecessary in a governess, an educatress. No, it would s-simply ruin it. I won't have her turned into one of your silly cartoons.
  • My point is that, unlike yourself, Mary Poppins is the very enemy of whimsy and sentiment. She's truthful. She doesn't sugarcoat the darkness in the world that these children will eventually, inevitably come to know. She prepares them for it. She deals in honesty. One must clean one's room, it will magically do it by itself! This entire script is flim-flam! Where is its heart? Where is its reality? Where... is the gravitas? [She throws the script out the window]

Dialogue[edit]

Don DaGradi: So this is the rest of your team, Dick and Bob Sherman! Music and lyrics. Boys, this is the one and only Mrs. P.L. Travers, the creator of our beloved Mary!
P.L. Travers: Poppins.
Don DaGradi: Who else?
P.L. Travers: Mary Poppins. Never, ever just Mary. [to the Shermans] It's a pleasure to meet you. I fear we shan't be acquainted for too long.
Robert Sherman: Why is that?
P.L. Travers: Because these books simply do not lend themselves to chirping and prancing. No, it's certainly not a musical. Now, where is Mr. Disney? I should so much like to get this started and finished as briskly as is humanly possible.

Ralph: Hey, sun came out again.
P.L. Travers: You say it as if you're surprised. As if the sun were particular about for whom it appears. It seems that you think that I am responsible for its miraculous dawning every day. For heaven's sake, it's California.
Ralph: Certainly is.
P.L. Travers: I'd so much rather be accountable for the rain.
Ralph: Oh, that's sad.
P.L. Travers: Sad is entirely the wrong emotion. I shan't bother explaining why. It would just... Zip!
Ralph: Okey dokey.
P.L. Travers: The rain brings life.
Ralph: So does the sun.
P.L. Travers: Be quiet!
Ralph: Yes ma'am.

Richard Sherman: Room here for everyone / Gather around / The constable's "responstible!" / Now how does that sound?
P.L. Travers: No, no, no, no, no! "Responstible" is not a word!
Richard Sherman: We made it up.
P.L. Travers: Well, un-make it up.
[He hides sheet music of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."]

Walt Disney: [on the phone] You know, you've never been to Disneyland, that's the happiest place on Earth.
P.L. Travers: I cannot tell you how uninterested - no, positively sickened I am at the thought of going to see your dollar-printing machine.
Walt Disney: Well, come on! When does anybody get to go to Disneyland with Walt Disney himself?
P.L. Travers: Disappointments are to the soul what the thunderstorm is to the sky.
[Disney hangs up angrily]
P.L. Travers: Hello? Hello? He hung up!

Walt Disney: [at a carousel in Disneyland] There's no greater joy than that seen through the eyes of a child, and there's a little bit of a child in all of us.
P.L. Travers: Maybe in you, Mr. Disney, but certainly not in me.
Walt Disney: Get on the horse, Pamela.
...
Walt Disney: [while riding the carousel] The boys have had an idea for your Mr. Banks. I think it'll make you happy.
P.L. Travers: You brought me all the way out here to tell me that?
Walt Disney: No. I brought you all the way out here for monetary gain. Had a wager with the boys that I couldn't get you on a ride. I just won twenty bucks!

Walt Disney: Please sit down.
P.L. Travers: I shall not sit in the seat of a trickster! A fraudster! A sneak!
Walt Disney: Mrs. Travers, what in the world has upset you so?
P.L. Travers: Penguins have very much upset me! Animated, dancing penguins! Now, you have seduced me with the music, Mr. Disney, yes, you have. Those Sherman boys have quite turned my head. But I shall NOT be moved on the matter of cartoons! Not one inch!

Walt Disney: We can't make the picture without the color red. The film is set in London, for Pete's sake!
P.L. Travers: And?
Walt Disney: Well, there's buses and mailboxes and guard's uniforms and things - Heck, the English flag!
P.L. Travers: I understand your predicament, Mr. Disney. I do. It's just - I don't know what it is, I'm suddenly very anti-red. I shan't be wearing it ever again.
Walt Disney: Is this a test, Pamela? Are you requiring proof as to how much I want to make you happy so we can create this beautiful thing together?
P.L. Travers: I took you at your word, Mr. Disney, and it seems my first stipulation has been denied. There will be many more. So perhaps we should just call it quits and I... [takes out the rights] ...Should hand you back these.
[pause. Disney faces his crew]
Walt Disney: All right. No red in the picture.

Walt Disney: [preparing tea] And a spoonful of sugar?
P.L. Travers: No, I think I'll have whiskey.

P.L. Travers: Come to change my mind, haven't you? Beat me into submission?
Walt Disney: No, no. I've come because you misjudge me.
P.L. Travers: How do I misjudge you?
Walt Disney: You look at me and you see some kind of Hollywood King Midas. You think I've built an empire and I want your Mary Poppins as just another brick in my kingdom.
P.L. Travers: And don't you?
Walt Disney: Now, if that was all it was, would I have suckered up to a cranky, stubborn dame like you for twenty years? No, I would have saved myself an ulcer. No, you, uh, you expected me to disappoint you, so you made sure I did. Well, I think life disappoints you, Mrs. Travers. I think it's done that a lot, and I think Mary Poppins is the only person in your life who hasn't.
P.L. Travers: Mary Poppins isn't real.
Walt Disney: That's not true. No, no, no, no. She was as real as can be to my daughters, and to thousands of other children - adults, too. She's been there as a nighttime comfort to a heck of a lot of people.
P.L. Travers: Well, where is she when I need her, hm? I open the door for Mary Poppins, and who should be standing there but Walt Disney?
Walt Disney: Mrs. Travers, I'm sorry. I hoped this would've been a magical experience for you and for all of us, but I let you down. And in doing so, I've broken a 20-year-old promise I made to my daughters. I've been racking my brain, trying to figure out why this has been so hard for you. And I...well...you see, I have my own Mr. Banks. Mine had a mustache.
P.L. Travers: So not true that Disney created man in his own image?
Walt Disney: [chuckles] No, no. It is true that you created yourself, and someone else knows him. Have you ever been to Kansas City, Mrs. Travers? Do you know Missouri at all?
P.L. Travers: I can't say I do.
Walt Disney: Well, it's mighty cold there in the winters. Bitter cold. And my dad, Elias Disney, he owned a newspaper delivery route there. A thousand papers, twice daily; a morning and an evening edition. And Dad was a tough businessman. He was a "save a penny any way you can" type of fella, so he wouldn't employ delivery boys. No, no, no... he used me and my big brother Roy. I was eight back then, just eight years old. And, like I said, winters are harsh, and Old Elias, he didn't believe in new shoes until the old ones were worn through. And honestly, Mrs. Travers, the snowdrifts, sometimes they were up over my head, and we'd push through that snow like it was molasses. The cold and wet seeping through our clothes and our shoes. Skin peeling from our faces. Sometimes I'd find myself sunk down in that snow, just waking up because I must have passed out or something, I don't know. And then, well, it was time for school and I was too cold and wet to figure out equations and things. And then, well, it was right back out in the snow again to get home just before dark. Mother would feed us dinner, and then it was time to go right back out and do it again for the evening edition. "You'd best be quick there, Walt. You'd better get those newspapers up on that porch and under that storm door. Poppa's gonna lose his temper again and show you the buckle end of his belt, boy."
[Travers looks noticeably unsettled by his story]
Walt Disney: I don't tell you this to make you sad, Mrs. Travers. I don't. I love my life, I think it's a miracle. And I loved my dad. He was a wonderful man. But rare is the day when I don't think about that eight-year-old boy delivering newspapers in the snow and old Elias Disney with that strap in his fist. And I am just so tired, Mrs. Travers. I'm tired of remembering it that way. Aren't you tired, too, Mrs. Travers? Now we all have our sad tales, but don't you want to finish the story? Let it all go and have a life that isn't dictated by the past? It's not the children she comes to save. It's their father. It's your father... Travers Goff.
P.L. Travers: I don't know what you think you know about me, Walter...
Walt Disney: You must have loved and admired him a lot to take his name. It's him this is all about, isn't it? All of it, everything. Forgiveness, Mrs. Travers, it's what I learned from your books.
P.L. Travers: I don't have to forgive my father. He was a wonderful man.
Walt Disney: No... you need to forgive Helen Goff. Life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself. Give her to me, Mrs. Travers. Trust me with your precious Mary Poppins. I won't disappoint you. I swear every time a person walks into a movie house, from Leicester Square to Kansas City, they will see George Banks being saved. They will love him and his kids. They will weep for his cares. They will wring their hands when he loses his job, and when he flies that kite... Oh, Mrs. Travers, they will rejoice. They will sing. In movie houses all over the world, in the eyes and heads of my kids and other kids, and mothers and fathers for generations to come, George Banks will be honored. George Banks will be redeemed. George Banks, and all that he stands for, will be saved. Now maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that's what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again. So trust me, Mrs. Travers. Let me prove it to you. I give you my word.

[Travers is at the premiere and she is crying]
Walt Disney: It's all right, Mrs. Travers. It's alright. Mr. Banks is going to be all right. I promise.
P.L. Travers: No, no. It's just that - I can't, I can't abide cartoons!

Taglines[edit]

  • Where her book ended, their story began.
  • Behind the beloved book is a story beyond words.
  • To bring Mary Poppins to life, he needs to work his magic.
  • To Walt Disney, "Mary Poppins" was more than a book. To her, it was more than a movie.

Cast[edit]

External links[edit]

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