Mary Poppins (Remastered) (1964)

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Released 19-Aug-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Family Main Menu Introduction
Menu Animation & Audio
Karaoke
Featurette-Hollywood Goes To A World Premiere
Featurette-The Movie Magic Of Mary Poppins
Game-I Love To Laugh
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1964
Running Time 133:45
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (79:45) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Robert Stevenson
Studio
Distributor

Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
Starring Julie Andrews
Dick Van Dyke
Glynis Johns
David Tomlinson
Karen Dotrice
Matthew Garber
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. Sherman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.75:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Song Lyrics
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    Mary Poppins was one of the first films I ever saw in a cinema. For that matter, it may have been the very first. It was much too long ago to remember when exactly, but since the film was released in 1964 it must have been around this time. I can still remember that there was great excitement in the family when my mother announced that she had tickets for the film and would be taking my brother and me to see it the following Saturday. Now, as then, this film is never disappointing, allowing you to immerse yourself in a simpler time when magic still seems like a possibility.

    And clearly I was not the only one impressed by this movie. It was nominated for a staggering 13 Academy Awards in 1965 and proceeded to win 5 including: Julie Andrews for Best Actress in a Leading Role; Peter Ellenshaw, Hamilton Luske and Eustace Lucett for Best Effects, Special Visual Effects, Cotton Warburton for Best Film Editing, and Richard B. Sherman and  Robert B. Sherman for Best Music, Score - Substantially Original, as well as Best Music, Song. It also won a number of other awards including Golden Globes, Grammys and BAFTAs. Dick Van Dyke, who unfortunately didn't receive an Academy Award nomination, was nominated for the Best Actor award in the Golden Globes, but was unsuccessful.

    Julie Andrews is Mary Poppins who, by unusual circumstances and highly original transportation, arrives at 17 Cherry Tree Lane to take up the role as nanny to Jane (Karin Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) who are the children of banker George Banks (David Tomlinson) and his suffragette wife Winifred (Glynis Johns). Mary Poppins, together with her friend Bert (Dick Van Dyke), a local street musician and chimney sweep, proceeds to take the children through a magical journey. Along the way she teaches George something about his values, and what the truly important things in his life are.

    Mary Poppins showcases excellent performance by all the leading players, and is a classic movie by any standard.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This is generally a wonderful transfer, and is probably the best this movie will ever look. However, there is one significant disappointment, and that is the very unnatural appearance of the skin tones.

    This transfer has been made in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is now 16x9 enhanced, unlike the previous version. This aspect ratio is very close to the original theatrical ratio of 1.75:1.

    There was no evidence of  low level noise. The shadow detail was more than adequate while blacks were always solid. The image was always nice and sharp except for an occasional episode of soft focus. Some minor edge enhancement occasionally mars what is otherwise a nice image.

    For the most part the colours are quite acceptable and in particular the animated sequences display very vibrant colours. However, the great disappointment is the rendering of the skin tones which rarely look natural with all the characters typically looking like they've spent a very long summer out in the sun. In other words instead of looking a nice healthy pink all the skins tones have taken on a very brown colouration. Since in watching any movie the characters are where you focus most of your attention I found the unnatural skin tones to be quite distracting. This problem appears to be due to the transfer being slightly too dark. Increasing the brightness makes the skin tones look better and reveals additional detail in the darker parts of the image.

    The transfer is free of MPEG artefacts except for some very subtle posterization which can be seen on a few occasions. I don't recall seeing any evidence of aliasing. The remastering effort has been artfully carried out with virtually no film artefacts to be seen, except for just a couple of very minor marks and a small hair, at the right hand edge of the picture, which puts in an appearance between 31:15 and 31:44. Additionally some grain is noticeable in the effects shots, but I believe this to be inherent in the source material.

    I sampled about 15 mins of  the English subtitles as well as 5 minutes of the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles and found both to be word perfect. The subtitles are displayed in large easily read white text at the bottom of the screen.

    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring during chapter 14 at 79:45. It is reasonably well placed at a scene change and is only minimally disruptive to the movie. Certainly this version is far superior to the previously released Flipper version which required you to get up and turn the disc over.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio quality, while sounding just a little dated, is otherwise pristine with no major flaws evident except for some noticeable hiss between 1:58 and 2:21.

    I listened to the English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, which is the only audio track provided on the disc. The dialogue quality was perfect with every spoken and sung word easily understood.

    I didn't notice any problems with the audio sync.

    Who of us doesn't know the words to a significant number of the songs from Mary Poppins? Or at the very least, can't instantly recognise most, if not all, of these wonderful tunes? The music composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman for this classic movie, can itself be regarded as nothing short of classic.

    The surrounds are used extensively to support the music, and on occasion they were also used to support various sound effects. The result is a subtly immersive sound track.

    The subwoofer is used only a few times during the movie most notably to support the cannon shots of Admiral Boom. There's a good example of this at 64:20.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Just a few mildly interesting extras are provided.

Menu

    The menu, which features Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded audio and animation, is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. A short animated sequence proceeds the main menu and additional animation sequences are displayed when switching to the various sub-menus.

Karaoke - Sing Along With The Music

    If enabled, each musical number is subtitled with the lyrics on screen so you can sing along.

Featurette - Hollywood Goes To A World Premiere (6:15)

     Newsreel footage of the Hollywood premiere of the movie. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 mono.

Featurette - The Movie Magic Of Mary Poppins (7:07)

     Provides some insight into how the special effects were created including how the live action and animation was combined. Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 without 16x9 enhancement. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

Game - I Love To Laugh 

    Help Uncle Albert down from floating in the air by answering questions about the movie. This game is displayed in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is therefore not 16x9 enhanced. The audio is Dolby Digital 2.0.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Just as in region 4 there have been two versions of this disc released in region 1. Comparing our latest version with the most recent release in region 1 then:

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on:

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on:

    There's no doubt that with 16x9 enhancement our version is the one to have.

Summary

    Mary Poppins is a classic musical from the 1960s, a period which gave a us a significant number number of wonderful musicals including My Fair Lady and The Sound of Music. No collection of musicals could consider itself complete without this title.

    The video quality is overall very good, however the colour of the skin tones was very unnatural.

    The audio quality is very good for an almost 40 year old film.

    The extras are interesting but quite limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Cole (Surely you've got something better to do than read my bio)
Sunday, September 22, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-515, using S-Video output
DisplaySony VPL-VW11HT LCD Projector, ScreenTechnics 16x9 matte white screen (254cm). Calibrated with AVIA Guide To Home Theatre. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RXV-995
SpeakersFront L&R - B&W DM603, Centre - B&W LCR6, Rear L&R - B&W DM602, Sub - Yamaha YST-SW300

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