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I'm pleased to see that I've read all of them except "The Hobbit", in which I have no interest whatever...unless, however, it's going to be on the test, Professor Mannion?


As a child I actually preferred the movie to the book, which was strange since it's usually the other way around. The most interesting thing about the film Saving Mr. Banks, which I haven't seen and probably won't bother with, is the florid denunciation of its essential falseness by the writer Harlan Ellison. He loves Disney, loves the actors, loves the craftsmanship of Saving Mr. Banks, loves the rich friends who screened the film at a private home party, but is horrified by the utter falsehood of the historical revisionism at the end of the movie. Don't know what he's talking about, but I believe him. Check it out here:


If you can find a dvd of it, or if it's streaming somewhere, "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story" is a very fascinating look at the brothers through the eyes of their respective sons.

Ken Houghton

Harlan's video and Gopnik's are similar in a manner that Lance's isn't: they both have much more respect for Pamela Travers's work.

"I dislike Travers’ Mary Poppins. Always have. When I was a kid I outright hated it. But then I read it after seeing the movie."

That's where you go off the rails. If the argument is that Disney made Travers rich, and the alternative is that only people who loved the book would keep it alive, you have to get around your own attitude--which is, I suspect, the rule, not the exception.

As I said at Wired Critics, Travers doesn't have the most extreme case of "you stole my book's title and ruined it for everyone who sees your movie first"; that would go to Collodi, who had the virtue of being dead before Pinocchio was made.

But it ruined the book for a lot of people who saw the movie first, and it convinced many others (e.g., you) that they would prefer not to read the book--or, by extension, anything else by the author.

I have trouble seeing how this "helped" Travers.

There's a scene early in It where his agent tells Bill Denbrough (who may or may not be Stephen King*), roughly, "even if the movie sucks, your book will still be out there." This is true for Damnation Alley or A Boy and His Dog, for instance. Or The Biscuit Eater.

But "blockbuster" Movies are a different matter. Rowling had a big part in the shaping and development of the HP movies--and they had an effect on her books as well. Travers didn't get such an offer("mistaking it for a sincere offer of artistic collaboration"), so whether Rowling believes the first two HP movies suck badly but that the series is redeemed when Real Directors get involved or not isn't directly relevant to your case. (See Emma Watson's comments on the Cuaron-directed third film.)

The book of Doctor Dolittle abides. The HP books abide. The Grimm versions of Cinderella, etc. abide because they are so different, and because people have been warned not to expect Disneyfication. (See Matt Damon and Heath Ledger, or even David Giuntoli and Bree Turner.)

I'm not certain you can argue the same for Collodi or Travers. Her own legacy has been permanently altered, and even you don't seem to think it's in a good way.

*I don't believe King slept with Kay McCauley. Though it is possible.


I have neither seen the film nor read the Travers original, but this happened to my kids with another kid's book, "How To Train Your Dragon" by Cressida Cowell. Like probably 85% of all American kids they saw the movie first. Being a book-loving dad I thought I'd get them hooked on the books that created the characters they loved and was rewarded with a hail of complaints. "Its boring!" "It's stupid!" "I hate Toothless!" (and they did - my son, especially, loathed that his beloved giant-cat-like movie dragon was a vest-pocket sized critter in the book...)

Supposedly Cowell is OK with the film, but I can't see how. If my kids are any guideline they will never enjoy her work; the film is now the canon for them and her stories are not acceptable to them as canon. I cannot see how Travers would find that a fair trade.

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