Saving Mr. Banks tells the story of Walt Disney’s crass and culturally clueless attempts to persuade Mrs. PL Travers, the very English (but actually Australian) author of Mary Poppins, to turn her book into a Disney film. Now Missiz (that’s an inside joke) was a woman who was notoriously close to her subject, and a lot of the humour of the piece comes from the culture clash between the Yanks and the Brits, as the studio kak-handedly attempts to (unsuccessfully) charm Mrs Travers – as well as her cracking put-downs in response. It’s not necessarily an easy watch though, because it veers towards maudlin as the making of the movie brings back sad memories from the author’s own past. Anyway, Emma Thompson is just so good, you kind of want her to be happy and get her own redemption from the film.
A lot of the movie is spent on the gorgeous Disney lot in Burbank, where I spent a fairly miserable summer with AFCI and the PGA’s Produced By Conference. It’s lovely to see those leafy, immaculate lanes again (even though I hated every minute when I was actually there.) In fact the whole movie is beautifully styled and you can almost smell the sixties. Chlorine and sweat, apparently. Chlorine and sweat.