Famous Author Harlan Ellison’s Incisive YouTube Review of ‘Saving Mr. Banks’


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Mr. Banks & children

Mr. Banks forces his children to watch author Harlan Ellison’s ten-minute evisceration of the new film that celebrating their movie, “Saving Mr. Banks,” which is very mean towards P. L. Travers.

For those of you who fail to understand that my own style of writing — long, with ample use of asides, side-references, and other subordinate clauses en route (at least one hopes) to a final point — is simply part of my cultural heritage, I give you the famously creative and acerbic science-fiction author Harlan Ellison, who (after meandering through almost 50% of the ten-minute video simply to get to his obscenely tendered thesis statement) tells you exactly why the technically brilliant Disney movie “Saving Mr. Banks” is in some critical respects truly execrable. (And yes, that sentence above was written so as to be intentionally and gratuitously convoluted.  It’s fun.)

We can use this as a Open Thread for holiday film criticism in general. Following Ellison’s path, no clear spoilers, although you can refer elliptically to your emotional reaction to them as much as you’d like.

Here’s a special bonus video that I believe contains the best to come out of the movie version of Mary Poppins — remixed. (There’s a better version, but I can’t find it.)

And here’s a trailer that might be argued to better suit the spirit of the P.L. Travers novel.

And here’s P .L. Travers herself, in this BBC special (part 1 of 6 below), though it doesn’t get to much about her until about four minutes in:

First, it follows the stage musical, about which one commenter says:

I think it was wrong, on every single level, and maybe illegal, to make this musical. The stage version, not the movie I mean. Ms. Travers said in her will, that she wished that if a stage show be made, it not have the Sherman bros. and nothing with Disney associated with it…and this stomps on that request! Not cool!

There’s a lot more to the story than what you’ll find in the movie….


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.