Disney’s SAVING MR. BANKS
Oh, New Year’s Resolutions, how quickly I break you. I meant – and still mean – to blog every about a film every Friday, but the last few
weeks months got away from me.
Better late than never, right?
This week’s film was prompted by a well-articulated, thoughtful review of SAVING MR. BANKS by CarrieS on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
SAVING MR. BANKS (PDF of the script can be found here) is the “true” story of how Walt Disney persuaded the author of Mary Poppins, P.L. Travers, to sell him the film rights to her beloved creation.
(Which in a way makes this a perfect corollary to my post on plagiarism vs. copyright infringement: here is an entire film built upon the granting of derivative rights! This is also why I cringe when people call authorized derivative works, such as film adaptations, “fan fiction.” They’re not. For one, they are rarely made by true fans, although Walt certainly tries to sell himself as one in this film. Film adaptations and other licensed, derivative media are often a calculated business decision more than than anything else. Rarely are they an act of labor inspired solely by love for the original work. So to call them “fan fiction” seems a disservice to fan-created works. IMO.)
SAVING MR. BANKS tells two parallel stories. The first is set in 1961 and mostly details the two weeks P.L. Travers spent in California, working with the Sherman Brothers and Don DaGradi on the film script of Mary Poppins while bedeviling Walt Disney’s attempts to secure the rights. The second story is set in 1906 Australia and features the tragic family life of a ten year old Travers, then called Ginty. The two stories are intercut, with scenes from Ginty’s childhood often used to inform the behavior of the adult Travers.
The Lesson Creative Writers Can Draw From SAVING MR. BANKS:
How to Create “Unlikeable” Characters and Still Make the Readers Care