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Mary Poppins Then and Now: The Mary Poppins Movie Compared to Mary Poppins Returns


What’s the difference between the orginal Mary Poppins movie and the Mary Poppins Returns movie?

It’s the question you may be wondering. Why is there a new Mary Poppins movie? Will it be better than the orginal Mary Poppins? Can it be? I know I had that same concern. I grew up loving the first Mary Poppins movie. I watched it nonstop as a child and sang the songs as much as I could. I may have even playfully tortured my kids with the music a few times. When I got the invite to be a part of the press junket and red carpet premiere the Mary Poppins Returns movie, I could not wait! I was so excited, but more than anything else I wanted to know how the two Mary Poppins movies would compare.


To bring you those answers I did my homework. I knew how I wanted to compare the original Mary Poppins to Mary Poppins Returns. I wanted to tell you about the cast, the storylines, and the unforgettable music and scenes. I rewatched the first Mary Poppins movie with my sons. Can I just say my teenage son LOVED it?! A win for me. As he danced in the living room to the songs, comparing himself to Bert, the chimney sweeper I took notes.


Then, when I had the chance to see the sequel Mary Poppins Returns, at an advanced screening in LA, I took notes as I watched. Yes, in the dark there I was with my notepad taking down all the details I wanted to remember and hoping that I’d be able to read my writing later on. Never have I ever written a movie review right after seeing a film. With Mary Poppins Returns, that’s just what I did. I went back to my hotel room and stayed up a few hours to reflect on Mary Poppins Returns and put together my thoughts on how the two movies compare.


Mary Poppins Then and Now_ The Mary Poppins Movie Compared to Mary Poppins Returns


Here’s how the settings of the two Mary Poppins’ movies compare.

  • Mary Poppins – The orginal Mary Poppins movie is set in London, England in 1910, when King Edward VII ruled over England.
  • Mary Poppins Returns – While Mary Poppins Returns is still set in London, England the time period is about 25 years later, 1934. London is going through a depression in what was called The Great Slump.


How do the storylines of the Mary Poppins’ movies compare?

  • Mary Poppins storyline

When Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber), the children of the wealthy and uptight Banks family, are faced with the prospect of a new nanny, they are pleasantly surprised by the arrival of the magical Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews). Embarking on a series of fantastical adventures with Mary and her Cockney performer friend, Bert (Dick Van Dyke), the siblings try to pass on some of their nanny’s sunny attitude to their preoccupied parents (David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns).


  • Mary Poppins Returns storyline

Mary Poppins Returns stars Emily Blunt as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure; Lin-Manuel Miranda as her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London. Mary Poppins returns to Depression-era London to visit Jane (Emily Mortimer) and her brother Michael (Ben Whishaw), now a father of three, and helps them rediscover the joy they knew as children.


The Mary Poppins’ cast – Who returns to the movie? Who is new?

Main Characters

  • Mary Poppins main characters
    • Julie Andrews plays Mary Poppins
    • Dick Van Dyke plays Bert/Mr. Dawes Senior
    • Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks
    • Matthew Garber as Michael Banks
    • David Tomlinson as Mr. George W. Banks
    • Glynis Johns as Mrs. Winnifred Banks
  • Mary Poppins Returns main characters
    • Emily Blunt plays the return of Mary Poppins
    • Lin-Manuel Miranda plays Mary Poppins’ best friend, Jack, who was also an apprentice of Bert from the original film
    • Ben Whishaw as Michael Banks
    • Emily Mortimer as Jane Banks
    • Banks’ children played by Pixie Davies (Anabel Banks), Nathanael Saleh (John Banks) and newcomer Joel Dawson (Georgie Banks)


Mary poppins returns cast banks children

Emily Blunt is Mary Poppins, Joel Dawson is Georgie, Pixie Davies is Annabel and Nathanael Saleh is John in Disney’s MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS, which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.


Supporting roles

  • Mary Poppins supporting roles
    • Hermoine Baddeley plays Ellen, the housekeeper
    • Reginald Owen played Admiral Boom
    • Jane Darwell played the bird woman
  • Mary Poppins Returns supporting roles
    • Dick Van Dyke is Mr. Dawes Jr., the retired chairman of the bank now run by Firth’s character
    • Angela Lansbury appears as the Balloon Lady, a treasured character from the PL Travers books
    • Meryl Streep as Mary’s eccentric cousin, Topsy
    • Julie Walters as the Banks’ housekeeper Ellen
    • Colin Firth as Fidelity Fiduciary Bank’s William Weatherall Wilkins, a bank president too eager to take the Banks’ family home from them.
    • Admiral Boom, the retired naval officer, returns with his hourly cannons, as played by David Warner
    • In the opening sequence I felt there was a moment that payed a tribute to the bird woman of Mary Poppins. See if you notice it when you watch the movie.


Mary poppins returns cast banks family

Jane (Emily Mortimer), Michael (Ben Whishaw), John (Nathanael Saleh) and Georgie (Joel Dawson) greet Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) upon her return to the Banks’ home in Disney’s original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family..


The Music of Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns

Mary Poppins soundtrack

The original Mary Poppins soundtrack contains a mix of 18 songs, mostly lullabies, upbeat, and whimsical songs. Tuppence, is the one sad song exception. My favorite Mary Poppins songs are “A Spoonful of Sugar” and “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” You can see and buy or download the original Mary Poppins movie soundtrack on Amazon with this link.

Mary Poppins Soundtrack


Mary Poppins Returns Music soundtrack

In Mary Poppins Returns there are 27 original songs upbeat songs and lullabies are again included. What’s also included are a few ballads that will have you breaking out the tissues. My favorite Mary Poppins Returns songs are “A Cover is not a Book” and “The Places Where Lost Things Go.” You can see and buy or download the Mary Poppins Returns movie soundtrack on Amazon with this link.

Mary Poppins Returns Soundtrack


Comparing the best scenes of Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns

The pivotal moments of both movies

In both Mary Poppins’ movies, a pivotal moment occurs in the bank. In Mary Poppins, that moment happens when Michael Banks doesn’t want to deposit his tuppence in the bank. In Mary Poppins Returns the Banks children create a scene when they overhear the bank president talking about taking the Banks’ family home.


Mary Poppins Movie Step in Time Scene

A scene from the original Mary Poppins, the Step in Time dance routine. Photo Credit Press Photos at IMDB.


The epic dance scenes of both movies

These Mary Poppins’ movies are iconic musicals. Watching them you know at any moment the characters are going to break out in song and dance. For me I felt both movies had an epic dance scene. In Mary Poppins, the classic dance number is with Dick Van Dyke as Bert as the lead dancing across rooftops to the song, Step in Time with other chimney sweepers. In Mary Poppins Returns it’s again Mary Poppins’ friend taking the lead. Lin-Manuel Miranda as Jack lifts the kids spirits dancing with Mary Poppins and the other lamplighters throughout the streets of London to the music Trip a Little Light Fantastic.


Mary Poppins Returns Trip A Little Light Fantastic musical number is one that had audiences applauding loudly.

Jack (Lin-Manuel Miranda) Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt) and the Banks children with a crew of street lamplighters at 17 Cherry Tree Lane in Disney’s original musical MARY POPPINS RETURNS, a sequel to the 1964 MARY POPPINS which takes audiences on an entirely new adventure with the practically perfect nanny and the Banks family.


The animated scenes you’ll never forget

In Mary Poppins our favorite animated scene takes place when Mary Poppins takes the Banks children into Bert’s sidewalk paintings. Watch the scene below.


In Mary Poppins Returns there are 2 outstanding animated scenes. The first one comes early on when Mary Poppins uses her magic to convince the kids to take a bath. The second comes when the Banks children accidentally damage a bowl that was special to their mother. To repair that bowl Mary Poppins, the Banks children, and Jack go into the bowl. You can watch a highlight of that below.



My final thoughts comparing Mary Poppins to Mary Poppins Returns

The first Mary Poppins movie was light, fun and upbeat. We laugh at a Mr. Banks who is too serious and strict to enjoy the pleasure of fatherhood. Mary Poppins works her magic helping him shift his focus from his work to his family.


Mary Poppins Returns has many of those upbeat and fanciful moments too, but there is also a seriousness to it. There are moments when both the Banks adult children and younger children are filled with a sense of despair. Mary Poppins has to do more than be playful and imaginative, she has to bring hope to the younger Banks children. They, in turn, have to bring that hope to their father, Michael Banks.


Mary Poppins Returns Movie Image of Mary Poppins

Photo Credit Walt Disney Studios


Mary Poppins Returns is, as Director Rob Marshall said during a question and answer panel, “a film that the world really needs right now.” Mary Poppins “comes through the clouds to give us some hope,” producer John DeLuca added.


Mary Poppins Returns opens in theaters on December 19. Learn more about Mary Poppins Returns in the stories below. Go watch the movie! Then come back and let me know what other similarities and differences you see between Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Returns.



Watch Disney Mary Poppins Returns playing at your local theater starting December 19, 2018!


For the latest details on Mary Poppins Returns

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Mindy Sioux

Tuesday 23rd of July 2019

I feel that almost every new is reminiscent of the original. Angela Lansbury’s character is both the Bird Lady and the kite scene at the end. The world is turning turtle... Or I love to laugh — whatever gets you on the ceiling, old friends with magical problems in an odd London alley. The sweeps and the leers, sidewalk art and china bowls, a bank excursion... Not to mention the fact that Mary Poppins is wonderfully attractive but ‘off-limits’ (Emily Blunt did a satisfying job at conveying that same feminine yet sexually unyielding ferocious practical perfection in every way)... And yes when I watched the ‘Returns’ movie I feel glad I did. It’s not a remake. It’s not a spinoff. It’s more sugar to help the medicine of reality just dissolve for a couple hours. Doing so with respect to the original script and song writers. And stepping in time (“many thanks” to Big Ben as well) with the pulse of the world. Disney has ‘remade’ and ‘revisited’ a lot of things lately but this definitely has been something worth sitting down to.

Jennifer A.

Thursday 25th of July 2019

Thank you for such thoughtful feedback. - Jenn

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