The Revisionist World of Disney: Mary Poppins, Walt Disney and Saving Mr. Banks

Among modern treatises on historical revisionism in popular culture, the greatest of the 20th century was “The Series Has Landed” Futurama, episode two of season one. the second episode of Futurama, “The Series Has Landed,” takes place just after Fry has been unfrozen after a thousand years of Cryogenic sleep and has not yet had time to acclimate to the shifted perspectives and priorities of the 31st century. Now a delivery boy for an interplanetary delivery service, his first delivery is a trip to the moon. FRY: So where are we going, anyway? LEELA: nowhere special, the moon. FRY: the moon– the moon? the moon-moon!? LINDSAY: an exotic adventure for Fry, but a mundane trip to, well, Disney World for the rest of them. AMY: Guh. It’s the happiest place orbiting Earth. LINDSAY: The only thing worth visiting on the moon, in fact, is a chintzy theme park: a very thinly veiled allegory for Disney, and this very thinly veiled allegory to the Disney theme parks also does what Disney World does best: NARRATOR: No one knows where when or how man first landed on the moon, but our fun-gineers think it might have happened something like this. LINDSAY: Revised history and change it to suit the park’s own needs. Which the park-goers accept unquestioningly but Fry knows to be inaccurate. One of the park’s signature rides as the Pirates of the Caribbean parody called Whalers on the Moon. RIDE MUSIC: But there are no whales, so we tell tall tales and sing a whaling tune! LINDSAY: So pointing out that the line in The Honeymooners was Ralph actually threatening physical violence, or that there were no whalers on the moon, is met with annoyance. FRY: Screw this phony stuff! LEELA: But the phony stuff is what’s fun! It’s boring out there! LINDSAY: people just want to take the park’s attractions at face value without thinking about the Implications of this revised history, and then go home. ROBOT RALPH KRAMDEN: One of these days Alice! Bang, zoom, straight to the moon! FRY: That’s not an astronaut, it’s a TV comedian. He was just using space travel as a metaphor for beating his wife. LINDSAY: for the purposes of this essay, however, It’s a pretty spot-on encapsulation of how people tend to get kind of defensive whenever confronted with the idea that the past isn’t as simple or as pleasant as they might like to remember. But it’s also a pretty spot-on parody of Walt Disney World and its tendency to sprinkle pixie dust on, you know, everything. The Disney approach to life, love, and history is a touch… dated. Magic wishes, happily ever after, this has been at the core of the Disney brand for almost 90 years to the point where, after decades of being one of the dominating creative forces in pop culture, this ethos has inspired countless knockoffs. Which is to say nothing of the countless parodies. [FIONA SINGING INCREDIBLY HIGH PITCHED NOTE] CHARACTER: Do you not know that sucking my d**k is a serious offense? Punishable by f**k you! LINDSAY: Think of how many movies, television shows, and media you’ve seen where a character will look out into the middle distance, about to pour open their hearts through song, and then someone grinds that moment to a halt. CHARACTER: Stop that, stop that, you’re not going into a song while I’m here! LINDSAY: Even Disney’s in on it now. GISELLE: [SINGING] How does she know? ROBERT: Don’t sing, it’s okay. You know, let’s just walk. LINDSAY: Part of the post-Eisner rebranding we’ve seen is savvy to the fact that Disney’s hopes, dreams, and happily ever after message needs to be repackaged carefully to appeal to modern audiences, even contextualized as necessary just to get by day-to-day on this miserable dirt ball we call earth. Enchanted is explicitly about the balance between the naivete of the old Disney model and the demands of the real world. Frozen, Disney’s most lucrative animated movie to date, has its whole “Girl, you can’t marry a guy you just met” bait-and-switch hammered in over. ELSA: You can’t marry a man you just met. ANNA: you can if it’s true love! LINDSAY: And over. KRISTOFF: You got engaged to someone you just met that day? LINDSAY: Moana not only deconstructs the chosen one narrative, but even features a character that is basically every middle school edgelord trying to act like he still doesn’t cry at Bambi. MOANA: The Ocean chose you for a reason. MAUI: If you start singing, I’m gonna throw up. LINDSAY: Sincerity is for girls. Even Tangled makes it clear that Rapunzel and Eugene wait a few years before they settle down. EUGENE: Did Rapunzel and I ever get married? And after years and years of asking, asking, asking, I finally said yes. LINDSAY: No more of this three-day engagement nonsense. And the weird thing is, this meta examination of the Disney brand works: people like it. People will pay for Disney getting meta about Disney. BELLE: I’ll be in my room. [STITCH WOLF-WHISTLING] BELE: Get your own movie! LINDSAY: So enter 2013’s Saving Mr. Banks. The most meta of the recent Disney trends of metatextual analyses within the Disney Company, as it is actually about the Disney ethos, and how it Disney-fies everything it touches. [INAUDIBLE GRUMBLING] The studio, one of its most famous films, and Walt Disney himself as portrayed by America’s favorite uncle: giver of good hugs and David S. Pumpkins, Tom Hanks. On the surface Saving Mr. Banks tells the true-ish story of P. L. Travers and the culmination of her twenty-year resistance to selling Walt Disney the rights to adapt her beloved children’s books: Mary Poppins. Adapting these books had been Walt’s passion project for decades. WALT: But then she gave me one of your books, and oh my gosh, my imagination caught on fire, absolutely on fire. And those embers have burned ever since as you know. TRAVERS: I do, yes. WALT: 20 years. TRAVERS: So you keep saying. LINSDSAY: But Travers resists because she sees Disney movies as sentimental flim-flam. TRAVERS: Mary Poppins does not sing. LINDSAY: The making of Mary Poppins narrative is interwoven throughout with flashbacks to Travers’ childhood her, relationship with her father: a loving, charming man who adored his daughter and also happened to be a chronic alcoholic, and who died when she was 7. The film is titled Saving Mr. Banks because much of the negotiations between Travers and the Disney Studios features a great deal of hand-wringing over the Mary Poppins character of Mr. Banks. TRAVERS: I told the illustrator I did not like the facial hair, but she chose to ignore me. Now this time around, this is my film, and I shall have my way. ASSISTANT: Mrs. Travers, this is a specific request from Walt. TRAVERS: Why? LINDSAY: the film even go so far as to imply that the reason Travers is so resistant to giving Disney the rights is because she lacks closure over the death of her own father, which is why it is so important for the emotional climax of Mary Poppins to be about Mr. Banks. Yeah. But this topic is fraught in a way that most biopics aren’t. And people are less forgiving of creative liberties taken here in the interest of creating a compelling narrative. But Saving Mr. Banks’ portrayal of Walt Disney as a shrewd businessman, but basically a nice guy? It’s ruffled some feathers. DISNEY: Now, there are all kinds of showmen and all kinds of show business But it’s a fact that only one or two men are at the top in any given group. LINDSAY: This movie has been described as a piece of pro-Disney propaganda: historical revisionism in and of itself. Which, you know. Well. It is. WALT: The mouse is family [MUSIC: I WANNA KNOW WHAT LOVE IS] And before you fill the comments section with diatribes on how old uncle Walt was a racist or an anti-semite, Let’s just say that is a discussion for another day. A long one. Check your sources. So this movie was fraught not just because one of the main characters is Walt Disney. TRAVERS: Do you always get everything you want, Walter? WALT: Pretty much. LINDSAY: Who was either the patron saint of all that is good and pure about humanity, or the very face of evil, depending on who you ask, but also because of the underlying theme of artistic integrity versus selling out, and hey maybe selling out is best for everyone Pam! That’s right. You get in bed with the mouse, Pam. With the mouse! But all that notwithstanding, I honestly feel like this movie is underrated. The quality of the film gets buried by these comments that Walt was a very bad man, and the movie of course treats it as a given that he isn’t. For one, Saving Mr. Banks is the extremely rare father daughter movie that isn’t tied in to the daughter finding herself through marriage, But is instead a broader journey about self identity that you see more often in father-son movies. Emma Thompson does an amazing job being absolutely charming and relatable despite being an abject, unequivocal jerk. TRAVERS: Will the child be a nuisance? It’s an 11 hour flight. LINDSAY: The Disney brand is so overwhelming and easy to dislike, and Disney himself is so shrewd and borderline phony that even if you’re in the life as a Disney stan, you can still totally see where she’s coming from. Tom Hanks is, well. It’s Tom Hanks. TRAVERS: I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons. LINDSAY: But as for the need to see Walt portrayed warts and all, I can see the desire for that, but that was not this movie. MARY POPPINS is an interesting movie to make a making of movie about in general. Not only was it a technological breakthrough with the combination of live-action and animation, but it was also Disney’s last great film passion project before he died. Now say what you want about old uncle Walt but the man was a capitalist. So it’s interesting that this was the project he was willing to go through such great lengths to get the rights to, as it is the only Disney era movie that is at least… socialism curious. JANE: Please may we feed the birds? MR. BANKS: Whatever for? MICHAEL: I have tuppence from my money box! JANE: Just this once, please? MR. BANKS: Waste your money on a lot of ragamuffin birds? Certainly not! LINDSAY [immitating Michael]: But I want to redistribute the wealth, father! MARY POPPINS is one of those antagonist-less kids movies, but if there is a villain in Mary Poppins, then it is the Bank. And I’m not normally a fan of “dad you work too hard” lessons in movies, but I think it works in Mary Poppins because of the way it satirizes the fragility of the bank system and the way it ties in with Mr. Banks’ skewed priorities. BANKER: And just how much money do you have young man? MICHAEL: Tuppence, but I wanted to feed the birds. LINDSAY: A kid who wants to feed the birds causes a bank run. MICHAEL: Give it back! LINDSAY [immitating Michael]: The people shall seize the means of production! Feed the birds! LINDSAY [normal]: The biggest source of conflict in the Mary Poppins universe, the Disney version anyway, is how the obsession with money and prestige comes at the cost of being good parents. And the irony of all of this: the parents’ storyline, the socialism curiousness, the bank being evil, aside from mentions of Mr. Banks being unhappy, this whole storyline wasn’t in the original book, but added by Disney. Part of this was to give the story a more film-like shape, what with giving the characters more of an arc, and part was to make it more relatable to families of the 1960s who may not quite understand why a family with a stay-at-home mother would even need a nanny, if she didn’t have some, you know, hobby or activity to do all day, which is actually addressed in Mr. Banks. TRAVERS: Why in the world have you made Mrs. Banks a silly suffragette? ANIMATOR: I wonder if Emmeline P would agree with that adjective. LINDSAY: and the majority of the stuff that is changed from the source material: that of giving the family itself an arc to rediscover itself and each other, is really the biggest change from Travers’ books and ends up itself compromising most of the plot of Saving Mr. Banks. ANIMATOR: It does seem strange that Mrs. Banks allows her kids to spend all of their time with the Nanny when she doesn’t have a job to speak of. LINDSAY: the structural changes that Travers most resisted ended up being kind of necessary to make it watchable as a feature film. So that Mary Poppins exists at all is noteworthy, and the story of how it came to pass is compelling. Even if, shall we say, creative liberties were taken. Yes, the film does ultimately come down favoring Walt’s perspective. One would struggle to say that it celebrates Travers’ work more than it does Disney’s TRAVERS: The rain brings life. DRIVER: So does the sun. LINDSAY: But on the whole, with the exception of this scene where Disney and Travers have the daddy issues discussion, WALT: It’s not the children she comes to save. It’s their father. It’s your father. LINDSAY: The film does hew true-ish. If you move some timeline elements and characters around. Disney did travel to London to meet with Travers, several times in fact. But it wasn’t at the eleventh hour and probably didn’t involve any stories about flawed tragic fathers WALT: You best be quick there, Walt. You better get those newspapers up on that porch and under that storm door, Pop is gonna lose his temper again and show you the buckle end of his belt. LINDSAY: Disney’s story about forced child labor is true, but he never went on record to frame that as anything other than good hard honest american work. Ralph the car driver and his disabled
daughter didn’t exist, but he was a composite character of Disney Studios workers who did befriend Travers during her stay. RALPH THE DRIVER: Well hot dog. LINDSAY: There is no evidence that Travers danced and sang to lets go fly a kite, But she did sing along to feed the birds on those tapes, and yes, she did insist on those tapes. TRAVERS: No no, that we cannot have. That would be quite un-English. Disney did snub Travers an invitation to the film’s to premiere, WALT: Not an easy decision for me, but do you know what she’s like. We got press, interviews, cameras,
LINDSAY: And she did make a big stink about it and showed up just to spite him. She did go to Disneyland, and she hated it, but Walt wasn’t there and no carousels were ridden. Walt wasn’t even present during the two-week meeting: he peaced out after day one because he got so frustrated with Travers, and then let the Sherman Brothers deal with her. ANIMATOR: Does it matter? TRAVERS: You can wait outside. LINDSAY: But for adaptational criticisms, more people had a beef with the idea that P . L. Travers was ultimately happy with the film version of Mary Poppins. Travers did cry at the premiere, but not because she was touched or had gotten some sense of closure, so much as from grief that her beloved creation was no longer hers and never would be again. But there is some truth to the idea that she eventually was okay with it: Again, If you stretch the timeline a bit. In a 1977 interview, Travers remarks “I’ve seen it once or twice and I’ve learned to live with it. It’s glamorous, and it’s a good film on its own level, but I don’t think it is very like my books.” Travers did not make peace with the film at the premiere, but she did after a few decades, admitting that there were parts of the movie she liked and even incorporating ideas conceived by the Disney story department into the final Mary Poppins novel in 1988. It is true, however, that she never made peace with the dancing penguins. WALT: Mrs. Travers, what has you so upset now? TRAVERS: Penguins. Penguins have very much upset me Mr. Disney. LINDSAY: others have called the film a character assassination on Travers herself, and the film kind of glosses over or wipes its hands of some of P. L. Travers’ less flattering personal histories. WALT: You got kids? TRAVERS: No, well, not precisely. LINDSAY: We can touch on the ethics of portraying Travers as a frigid fuddy-duddy who just needs to loosen up and sell out TRAVERS: What is all this… jollification? TRAVERS: If you so much as step one foot in here with that trolley, I shall scream. One cannot live on cake alone! TRAVERS: I hope we crash. LINDSAY: but in terms of this story, to put it diplomatically, Travers was not a good team player. If the film softens Walt Disney, it softens Travers, too But perhaps the most common complaint with the film wasn’t about Travers, but the way it softens Walt’s edges. And that it definitely does. CHARACTER 1: You see how it goes up on the word down? CHARACTER 2: on the word down it goes up. CHARACTER 3: It’s ironic. WALT: Forget ironic, it’s iconic.I won’t be able to stop singing that for weeks! [WALT HUMMING] Walt was notoriously stingy with compliments and basically never gave them, but here he is all “call me Walt!” WALT: Oh, Walt, call me Walt. Mr. Disney was an old man, isn’t that right? LINDSAY: And the loving and supportive patriarch to his staff. As per Disney Studios decree, you never see Walt smoking but he does refer to it, you see him putting out cigarettes, and he literally introduced with a sickly cough off-screen [WALT COUGHING AND WHEEZING] Don’t smoke, kids. But here’s the thing: Uh, Walt’s flaws weren’t what this movie is about. I mean, did we really need a scene where he takes a break from the filming of Mary Poppins to discuss the evils of communism? This movie is not about Walt Disney it is about the heartbreak of giving up one’s own creative vision and trusting a shameless capitalist with it. It is about the argument of whether or not doing such a thing is for the greater good, and what that greater good even is. Is it bringing happiness into the lives of all, or is it to educate children? TRAVERS: Mary Poppins is the very enemy of whimsy and sentiment. She’s truthful: she doesn’t sugarcoat the darkness in the world that these children will eventually, inevitably, come to know. She prepares them for it! She deals in honesty! LINDSAY: But most of all, it is about a woman’s relationship to her long dead father, and about how our histories and families influence who we become and how we frame our history and worldview. It’s about the conflict between two creative visions: do we view history through rose-tinted glasses, or do we always need to be honest about the cruelties of the world? WALT: You’ve never been to Disneyland? That’s the happiest place on earth. . TRAVERS: Mr. Disney, I– I- I cannot begin to tell you how uninterested– no, positively sickened I am at the thought of visiting your– your dollar printing machine. LINDSAY: But given Disney’s approach to the framing of culture and history, you can see where Travers wouldn’t be thrilled. [INCOMPREHENSIBLE RIDE NOISE] Disney movies and theme park attractions traditionally are less set in a culture or place in history, so much as a version of a culture or place in history. A very Disney version. CHARACTER: You wanna buy a sundial? Like Snow White is German inspired because the original fairy tale is German, and I guess there is some Snow White stuff in Germany in Epcot, but there’s nothing really distinctively German about Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Or Beauty and the Beast, which is set in France, CHARACTERS: Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! Bonjour! LUMIERE: After all, Miss, this is France! But not like anything resembling real France. Like you see Beauty and the Beast and you’re not like “oh, Beast and/or his descendants are going to meet a grisly fate in a few years.” [GUILLOTINE SOUND, CHEERING] In quote- South America -end quote, we have the happy exploits of the 3 caballeros in the Saludos Amigos films… The list goes on and on. The Disney approach strips these tales and places down to broad cultural signifiers that a Western audience would happily consume. It gets rid of anything that could be considered too salacious for the Disney brand, and changes the setting so that you no longer think “this is a French fairy tale,” but instead “this is a Disney fairy tale.” part of Walt Disney’s evil genius was the efficacy with which he branded everything he produced as unmistakeably Disney. That was the business model in 1961, so you can see where Travers would assume that this is what would happen to her beloved Mary Poppins. TRAVERS: I won’t have her turned into one of your silly cartoons. LINDSAY: And she would be right. Cultural appropriation and historical revisionism are kind of integral to the Disney brand, whether it’s for narrative purposes or a meta comment on how the Disney Corporation is viewing or changing itself. We could go down the rabbit hole of real world examples of historical revisionism– the thing is, I promised myself I’d keep this video under an hour, so let’s look at Disney World attractions. ACTOR: Let freedom ring! LINDSAY: There isn’t anything in Disney world that isn’t portrayed through that very distinct Disney filter. Main Street USA was designed to be a tribute to the home town of Walt’s childhood, but no one is going to deny that it’s a highly whitewashed, highly idealized version of the American small town. But if you want some real honest-to-god Disney style historical revisionism, head on down to the Hall of Presidents! I’d have gone inside, but unfortunately the ride is shut down because the president is… …bad. Sometimes Disney decides to update their attractions to changing sensitivities. Pirates of the Caribbean has this segment which is presently called the bride auction, and will be replaced when the ride closes for maintenance in 2018. It features… “wenches” being sold as chattel. All are tied up and some are crying. RIDE NARRATOR: Strike yer colors, ye brazen wench! No need to expose yer superstructure! LINDSAY: Fun for the whole family! But when the Disney Company tries to respect that yeah, maybe they should change some stuff, this is met with resistance. And that is perhaps the problem with rooting so much of your brand in nostalgia: whenever you point out that maybe some parts of the thing you’re consuming might be unethical, people take it as an assault on their childhood. No, what do you mean there were no whalers on the moon? People who consume the Disney-fied version of history and culture, on some level, they know it’s false. But there’s something almost traumatic in pointing out that there might be something amoral about this sort of historical revisionism, something that doesn’t jive with our modern sensibilities, or even with the fun nature of what is otherwise a whimsical ride with no slavery. So it’s not always just the framing that’s the problem, It’s the audience. Once you frame a history, a culture, or even a story in a certain way, it can be really hard to un-frame it. And the truth is, Mary Poppins has become a Disney movie in the popular consciousness, much more than it is seen as a beloved series of children’s books. Lord of the Rings are still books first. The Chronicles of Narnia are still books first. But Mary Poppins is a Disney movie. The main conflict of the film ultimately comes down between both people using a fictional property as a means of reconciling their difficult memories of their fathers. ASSISTANT: She wants to know why Mr. Banks has been given a mustache. WALT: Oh, I asked for that. for that. ASSISTANT: Yes, they told her that, but she wants to know why. WALT: Because I asked for it. LINDSAY: both Travers’ and Walt’s narratives within the movie are shown as wrapped in an obsession with preserving and mythologizing the memories of their fathers. It ends up being the crucial similarity that they share with each other. WALT: I have my own Mr. Banks. And even if this scene didn’t really happen, which it didn’t, there is a deep truth to the idea of the scene. WALT: Rare is a day when I don’t think about that eight-year-old boy delivering newspapers in the snow, and old Elias Disney with that strap in his fist. I’m tired of… remembering it that way. LINDSAY: The fictional Walt of the scene knows and understands that his father was flawed, and even cruel. He hasn’t forgotten what’s happened. But it’s better for him to focus on the positive memories rather than the negative ones, and this informs his worldview and his business. WALT: we all have our sad tales, but don’t you want to finish the story? Let it all go and have a life that isn’t dictated by the past? LINDSAY: So while the scene might be totally bogus in terms of things that actually happened in the real world, it does tap into why people love Disney’s rose-colored filter. Part of Disney’s genius was commodifying the way people mythologized culture, especially American culture. He found a way to brand and sell it because, here’s the thing: historical contextualizing and, yes, revisionism, is always kind of inevitable, especially in times of national stress. Sometimes this kind of identity branded mythologizing can be about reclaiming former glory and scapegoating the other, but Disney’s brand of mythologizing was all about feeling good about what you already had, and ignoring the bad parts. whether that’s the totality of the story, or not. This film ultimately explores the very human desire to protect the memories of the people we love: people and fictional characters. TRAVERS: Why did you have to make him so cruel? He was not a monster. LINDSAY: Even if they aren’t always happy memories. Take this line right here: WALT: Maybe not in life, but in imagination. Because that’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope. Again, and again, and again. LINDSAY: This line seems almost a response to one of the longest-running criticisms of Disney storytelling: that it’s soppy, that it whitewashes history and culture. But I like how the movie pits it against what people actually do in real life. It’s not like Walt Disney invented this by any stretch of the imagination. He just figured out really, really effectively how to sell it. As Walt himself put it in one outburst: And here’s the problem with whalers on the moon: if history, culture, and stories have been revised to fit s sanitized or outright false narrative, the onus is on the consumer to, well, PLEAKLEY: Educate yourself! LINDSAY: And the truth is, most people won’t. It is kind of poetic that the linchpin of this movie, its emotional thesis, is the least historically accurate thing in the movie, and also a big reason why people feel kind of iffy about this movie, because it reads as propagandistic corporate apologia for giving up one’s intellectual property for the greater good of commodification and mass consumption, which, you know, it is. And I feel like there is this sort of expectation where even if you so much as admit that, you are therefore required to wholeheartedly condemn it, and, well, I can’t. Because I think you can have that discussion over who owns ideas once they are out in the public consciousness, while still admitting that Mary Poppins, the movie, even if it doesn’t adhere to the books as much as Travers wanted, MARY: That will be quite enough of that, thank you. LINDSAY: It’s a net positive for the world, and I’m glad it exists. It’s a great movie. It holds up, and even if corporate approved Tom-Hanks-Movie-Walt says that Mary Poppins is going to make people happy while dollar signs literally spin out of his eyes, just look at this three-year-old child on her make-a-wish trip to Disney World meeting Mary Poppins. PARENT: She watched her over and over again when she was in the hospital last year. Kept her going. LINDSAY: sorry there’s something in my eye. Life doesn’t have a neat theme you can package into a two-hour movie, but as humans we crave narrative satisfaction with the stories that we tell, so this movie can be both a borderline unethical treatise on how, after being relentlessly ground down by a major studio, selling your intellectual property to a large corporation can in some ways work toward the greater good despite robbing you of autonomy over your own creation, and it can be a thoughtful piece on the way we attach so much of our personal identity to the fictions and histories we fabricate, and how difficult it can be to let that go. [POPPY BACKGROUND MUSIC] It can be both! [MARIACHI MUSIC]

90 comments on “The Revisionist World of Disney: Mary Poppins, Walt Disney and Saving Mr. Banks”

  1. João Solimeo says:

    Look, I discovered this channel a few days ago and I have other things to do like, you know, work, eat, live…but I just can´t because I keep watching these videos. Damm you! 🙂

  2. blazebaby89 says:

    Referencing Futurama within the first 20 seconds? Here, take my upvote 😁

  3. Volfie Volfie says:

    Is there that much alcohol in Disneyland? 🙂

  4. Bailey Ross says:

    I've loved all your videos I've seen so far but this one is my favourite, I think because it makes me call myself out but in a way that feels constructive rather than shaming.

  5. PM 3736 says:

    I'm sorry I laughed way too much when you said "get in bed with the mouse"

  6. Tom Morgan says:

    I’m firmly convinced this video was just an excuse to claim a trip to Disney Land as a business expense.

  7. Nic Dennis says:

    The comment about cultural appropriation made with a sombrero on the head. Lol. I see what you did there.

  8. Amber Dent says:

    Maybe it's because I read so much fanfiction—which is inherently messing with narratives for your own purposes—but original "canon" for a story is usually it's least interesting version, imo. I mean, the newest Disney remakes are kinda boring and not worth paying for, it didn't ruin them for me. And Frozen and Moana do what you were talking about earlier in the video, but that doesn't change my enjoyment (or lack thereof depending) of older material. Because I am so used to losing track of what was originally present for more interesting and varied stories with similar trappings, I particularly like when companies like Disney at least try their hand (though it's usually not that great, tbh). I don't know; I get where the nostalgia comes from, but since there's only one property (Avatar: the Last Airbender) that I care that deeply about, I guess Disney changing up shit just doesn't show up on my radar.

  9. The Doctor says:

    Or more accurately, when people get defensive its not always about the past, its largely to do with the simply truth of a matter, some people made themselves to be the example of ignorance, which makes me laugh lol

  10. The Doctor says:

    Wow, this video really highlights in a very technical way how to drain the magic out of your inner child and over analyze everything fun and interesting into an array of boring points, this seems to be all of her videos from the look of them, note too self, don't subscribe and make sure i click "Not interested"

  11. The Doctor says:

    I should also note here, that Walt Disney has brought more happiness and joy too people then anyone you may ever meet, so the likelihood of him being some kind of monster or bad person is pretty damn low, the only line i will quite from this that i agree with is check your sources.

  12. Tim Buktu says:

    At 10:00 I like how in Mary Poppins Returns the bank saves the day with that tuppence.

  13. Meg DiPaolo says:

    Was it such a technological breakthrough with animation and live action? Disney had done that in the 30s with their (pre-film) Alice in Wonderland black-and-white shorts.

  14. Meg DiPaolo says:

    Was that “I know a little German” Dopey T-shirt lifting the joke from Top Secret or was that joke around before that (wonderful, go watch it) comedy?

  15. dentoncrimescene says:

    If hell existed, it'd be Disneyland.

  16. NuncNuncNuncNunc says:

    Disney's not racist, but for some reason that crowd scene at his park was shot with all white extras, the Mouseketeers were all white, the movie princesses of his time were all white, Disney movies when showing blacks usually resorted to racist stereotypes, as late as 1963 Disney was still under pressure to hire black employees at Disneyland, even Mary Poppins had at least one racist line, but old Walt, no he was not a racist. Check my sources.

  17. dsskater539 sckupty says:

    Walt Disney was a black man

  18. Justin Eberlein says:

    Saludos Amigos and the Three Caballeros are interesting examples, because they're actually tied to FDR's Good Neighbor policy, which was essentially a counter-propaganda campaign, trying to convince Latin America to side with the United States, not the Nazis.

  19. Andrew Smith says:

    I find it funny that America prides itself for it's revolt against British rule but the song being sung in the Disney park is a reworking of God Save the King/Queen.

  20. Jason Ready says:

    How wasted were you in Disney Land? All the footage has you drinking 😉

  21. Sheldon Strahl says:

    It's wonder that George Lucas EVER thought that this corporation would do "a good job of respecting and preserving" the legacy of the LucasFilms/Arts brand. H.P. Lovecraft had it right: release your I.P. into to the public domain where the fans will take the best possible care of it because they love it the most.

  22. No One says:

    OMG when she got in bed with the mouse the scene from The Shining with the guy in the bear suit immediately flashed into my head

  23. Amber Hernandez says:

    Someone in 2019 actually referenced Drawn Together.

    Instant sub.

  24. Small Umbrella In The Rain says:

    Mary Poppins in the Mary Poppins books, she is not a very nice person. She is quite rude and judgemental..bit like Travers herself. When I read the books I had hard time liking Mary´s character. #sorrynotsorry I prefer Julie Andrew´s Poppins. Some years ago I watched a documentary about Travers. What I got out of it was that she was a talented but very complicated lady with lots of traumas.

  25. aNewKingdom says:

    lol, 2:23 – She almost misses her straw when trying to take a drink 🙂

  26. Jenny T20 says:

    Man, the total gray area about this whole concept and if it’s okay or just ignorant to focus on only the good parts of history or art— it just makes me sad lmao
    That’s life tho 🤷‍♀️

  27. Gabriel The Great says:

    18:17 Illuminati confirmed.

  28. Cinder Ella says:

    I think you’re contradicting your point with the pirates example. By changing that scene Disney is sugar coating the truth of the past.

  29. createbykate says:


  30. JeSuis Tadpole says:

    you got kids? they still go to their own gender roles no matter how much the media or parents try to change their minds on it

  31. Leo Méndez México says:

    Im sorry; super smart, educated and creative…but eyes, lips, voice and hands take over every time. I swear I pay attention; even look up words and cinema concepts in order to better understand your videos, but… yeah I'll see myself out.
    P.S. Idgaf, I would prefer a thousand times being called pretty rather than be called a good singer, or musician or whatever.

  32. I do stuff with movies and maybe tv shows says:

    good video subscribed

  33. charles mcgrew says:

    "true-ish" is generous…

  34. Simone says:

    I fucking hate Disney, so, so much

  35. SimmerRose says:

    PLEASE do a video about the allegations of Walt being a Nazi (which you briefly mentioned in this video)! I would love to see your take on it!

  36. RTE says:

    Travers is a stick in the mud tho

  37. Dale Twokey says:

    >Marry Poppins is now a disney movie first
    Oh man, Anglo-centrism is one hell of a drug.

  38. Kevin Corcoran says:

    Socialism curious LoL

  39. Matthew Fodell says:

    You know, when your critique of capitalism is framed in terms of “it can make people worse parents” (it harms traditional family values) and “banks/bankers are evil” (bankers being a very common anti Semitic stand-in for just saying what they mean: Jews), I think I can see why this particularly appealed to Walt Disney. Seems like less of a principled socialist economic critique and more like a lot of the kinds of cultural messaging and imagery that Nazis liked to use to direct people’s criticisms toward very specific scapegoats (i.e. “It’s those Jewish finance capitalists and communists and all those cultural Bolsheviks trying to undermine good German family values!”). I definitely get why you read socialist subtext there, but Nazis and other fascists have co-opted symbols of the left pretty much since their inception in order to appeal to regular working class people who, at that time, often had positive associations with socialism. Naturally lots of people (especially during hard times) find it agreeable to criticize the greedy bankers, but what those bankers represent, why you think they’re villainous, can vary quite a lot.

    One side gives a narrative about the ruling class and exploitation in which the bankers are bad because, like all other capitalists, they are part of the class that is doing the exploiting and profiteering (and playing a uniquely important role in sustaining and fueling the whole system), and on the other hand you have people offering the narrative that sine ancient times Jewish people have disproportionately been the bankers, and it’s all part of some conspiracy (communism too), and they want power to serve their own racial interests by hurting the interests of white Aryans. One takes a serious scientific look at the institutions, processes, and social relations that make up our society in order to explain and improve them… The other plays up fears, resentments, and grievances in order to opportunistically misdirect people’s very justified feelings that the economy is working for someone else, not them, onto anyone except the ruling class, anything except the system that actually causes their problems.

    I’m not trying to cast any aspersions at Mary Poppins— I don’t think it was literally a Nazi film or something. Just wanted to note that the qualities which one could read as “socialism curious” could also appeal to someone on the far right or even be read by them as far-right sympathetic. Knowing Walt Disney’s own political sympathies, this just seems far more likely to be what about the message/tone appealed to him, certainly more so than any pro-socialism vibe you could get out of it. If he read it as pro-socialism I highly doubt he’d have produced it

  40. Kay Haven says:

    Sooooooo……is it bad that I really liked Saving Mr. Banks?

  41. Kay Haven says:

    Also, Mary Poppins in the book is a total bitch and vain. I’m serious. You can’t change my mind.

  42. Kay Haven says:

    Also I must’ve just missed seeing taking a wench for a bride part of that ride. I went in June this year and didn’t see it at all-and I rode the ride twice.

  43. Skyler Conn says:

    Here is some reality all that stuff is true and her book may have been disneyfied but my daughter is 2and a half and marry Poppins singing a spoon full of sugar brings her nothing but joy and honestly that's all that matter to her there's so much pain and unhappiness in the world let's spread some joy even if it's not 💯 true

  44. H Egan says:

    I gotta find me those books…

  45. Tornado Dee says:

    Pleakly shouting "EDUCATE YOURSELF!!" made my day 😀

  46. TheHardMode says:

    I read the first Mary Poppins book and I have to say this. I didn't feel any moment where the book is about "It's not about saving the children, it's about saving the father" theme that P.L. Travers was talking about in the "Saving Mr. Banks" film. It could be in the next books but I don't know.

  47. Terminal Montage Ness says:

    Walt bad Schlesinger good

  48. Richard Boettger says:

    As you are well-aware madam, that opener is a skilful, funny and dazzlingly-strong swipe of brilliance.

  49. sanch Sanchayan says:

    Your essay is totally out of focus . It could have been done better

  50. Kim Morgan says:

    Glad I discovered you! Thank you for doing what you do!

  51. Boardman Austin says:

    That huge hat XD

  52. Anthony Johnson says:

    Lindsay should do a Loose Canon on Uncle Walt.

  53. squirrelbuddi says:

    How often do you go to visit Disney parks lady?! XD

  54. squirrelbuddi says:

    I don't think anything about the park should be changed because it casts an ill light on how anything is represented. I don't like it or care for it but I think it's important to keep it as is for posterity. So we can see it and witness it and try to understand it or learn from it. It's like when my more religious acquaintances spout about not reading a book or watching a movie because, "X thing's in it that (insert thing they find morally wrong here) happens in it." But my retort to that way of thinking is always. Your religious texts have tons of things in it that are bad, does that make the book you study your faith from bad? The answer is no, the bad things are put there to teach a lesson and inform on the nature of your faith. And I find that it is in literature and other media that we all can do the same. Bad things are represented in art because it gives us a way to examine and process it in a way that is constructive and safe. I want the horrible murder scenes, the rape of cultures, and even the intentional harm of the innocent portrayed in media. Not for the sake of showing terrible things but for the sake of creating a narrative were everyone as a community can openly talk about issues that not only plague the past but our present. Not all endings are happy, injustice is more common than people like to believe, and more often than not there is no hero to swoop in and save you from your troubles. None the less it is important to recognize these things when we see them and contextualize them in a way that is teachable to our contemporaries and later generations. If we wipe that away if we scrub out all the offensive and terrible things from our world record then we will forget about them in time and will be doomed to repeat them.

  55. ventas 1 says:

    Get in bed with the mouse🐁

  56. Claire Baker says:

    18:15 I thought your drink was violently bubbling lmao

  57. Matthew says:

    This, combined with Kyle's video essay on Hyperreality (, I feel are very good sibling pieces. Kyle's examples were yes, Disney, specifically bringing in Umberto Eco's book and his travels through the park and views on it as is proper. And then leads into things like the American Western, and how it, even when it isn't explicitly about creating a wonderful fiction for it's users (a la his example West World) is still making a reality more "real" than that of what truly was, for the sake of it's audience.

    And this I think just as aptly shows Disney tackling that argument. Why does Disney make places that are more "real" than reality, places that are microcosms of entire cultures, or eras, or what not? Because why do people? It's easy, and more than easy it's comforting. And you can totally be upset by that, as if yours is the culture being minimized for "comfort" thats awful. But at the same time, comfort is a neutral thing. Adding comfort into the world is a net positive, thats just the truth of it. We just need to be aware of why the thing is comforting, why, and take the truth of the matter over the comfortable hyperreal when its necessary. Thats something we as a culture are having huge problems with nowadays, but like many things a culture struggles with, it's a lot more complicated than "is this good or bad?"

    Great video in general.

  58. Jack Passmore says:

    Holy crap youre hot.

  59. Nina Sgro says:

    gEt In BeD wItH tHe MoUsE

  60. johnny joestar says:

    It does feel a bit unethical of Disney or the fanbase to shield the company's policy of redacting history (even though It is a bit more complicated than that) with dying children

  61. John Matthias says:

    Great review.

  62. Andrew Murphy says:

    Lindsey your content rocks but that intro was rough your cadence sounded like Chris Chan

  63. Steve Burstein says:

    My Aunt said she didn't want to see SAVING MR. BANKS because Walt Disney was a "fascist".

  64. Steve Burstein says:

    Note the voice of the very late(died 1986)Paul Frees can still be heard in the "Pirates" ride.

  65. Rhett Gedies says:

    Or you realize we're grownups and can understand where we've come from, where we went wrong, and come to terms with being better? The ride is a piece of history and I hate when they change crap like that. And if you're worried about the kiddies, it's called letting parents parent and using the ride as point of a lesson/conversation. But no, let's modernize the nastiness that was shades of the antebellum era being portrayed during the ride.

  66. Shoezz says:

    I'd really love to know what version of "Feed The Birds" is playing towards the end, with an accordion solo. It may be really obvious, but I have had troible finding it.

  67. THEPETERC1 says:

    You're always brilliant, but, like everyone else, you have hobbyhorses. The spinning dollar signs were inappropriate for two reasons: (1) Disney wasn't just a capitalist; he was a filmmaker very nearly as enthusiastic about quality content as he was about money. (2) Travers' reluctance to sell the film rights was finally overcome by her own need for money.

  68. Rew King says:

    So strange to think he worked o hard to get the story…only to tell such a different one.
    Why not get the creative teams to read Mary Poppins then say ' like that but…'
    Then just DO the story he actually wanted. Just call it Sally Pippins or something lol

  69. zimnomel says:

    It's a bit weird watching this vid as I'm probably the only person on the planet who read the books but never saw the movie.

  70. federico amadeo says:

    «Feed the Birds» should be Bernie's campaign slogan.

  71. mady says:

    24:27 im not crying you are

  72. Danilo Valadão says:

    And now I really want a Tequila Sunrise

  73. anhellica1 says:

    The problem is that we want to make mere humans an absolute. We do not accept the notion that people have nuances, and we are not perfect. Awful persons can have a bright side, and bright persons can have awful flaws.

  74. Elle Palabra says:

    Lindsay Ellis be like: Stories are like onions. They have LAYERS

  75. PilotMars 713535 says:

    At different points it seems like your advocating for more historical accuracy and less and I can’t tell what was the intent

  76. arrow77 says:

    Lindsay, you never turn in the direction I expect you to turn but it's always the right direction.

  77. Overachiever03 says:

    What? No “Song of the South” reference? Lmao

  78. Scarlett Dale says:

    I finally watched Saving Mr. Banks recently. I have to admit that I was surprised. Disney was rather honest about the company's flaws. Danger of ultra capitalism? Totally there. Walt as a smoking,drinking businessman who desperately wanted reality to be more like our dreams? Present. Escape from poverty as a motivation deeply rooted in trauma and pain? Check. It's still a pro-Disney take,each flaw carefully explained. But it did feel like the artists honestly believed those explanations. They weren't attempting to deceive,or presenting anything that they felt false. So while adaptational changes were made, I can't call the film propaganda. I was invited to interact with the work,to meditate on it's themes and ideas. For me,that's the bar. Artists can have opinions all day. The question is,do they present those opinions as indisputable fact? Or,as a more honest alternative,do they present multiple sides to those viewpoints,inviting conversation? I do think the film falls firmly into the second category.

  79. Alexander Sopov says:

    And this video is why you're such a gift! You're very, very left leaning but that never stops you from trying to see both sides of an argument and, sometimes, recognising them to be two sides of a coin.

  80. JCO2002 says:

    You're brilliant, the video was very well done, but I didn't make it through to the end. Couldn't take hearing about any more Walt Disney. I was born/raised in Canada, and always hated that tacky, plastic, phony crap with a passion. The apex of Murrican culture. Bloody ridiculous. And now it's the land of Trump. Pitiful excuse of a country.

  81. Not Applicable says:

    It's funny that Travers liked Feed the Birds as that was the one Disney liked the most. They agreed on one thing at least

  82. RickRomo says:

    853 people refused to G E T I N B E D W I T H T H E M O U S E.

  83. James Matthews says:

    Another brilliant animated spoof of Disney culture is the "Fractured Fairy Tales" version of Sleeping Beauty! (Does that prince look familiar?)

  84. Johanna {NOT a christie Fan !} says:

    What I liked about Mary Poppins' author was the fact that she loved her characters enough to fight for them. Her reasoning came from a place that (for the sake of making the point) Walt understood. And he may well have. However, given his own troubled childhood, he wanted to paint brighter than it was.

    Sadly, I know of an author who LOATHED a character who only did her financial good. I would have LOVED for Disney to take a certain….Belgian detective from that bitch's clutches and lock her out entirely. Hey, a girl can dream.

  85. MrParkerman6 says:

    *think about. You misquoted Disney to "know about".

  86. IamthePocket Ironpocket says:

    18:13. That triped me out for a half second, when I thought her drink was erupting. My brain went, "What is that!? I want one. Oh wait, thats a fountain behind her. Carry on."

  87. Irving IV says:


    Okay, I know this is technically irrelevant, but Disney sounds a lot like Dutch Van Der Linde in Red Dead Redemption 2.

    (For those who know a lot about Dutch, this means Disney is written and voiced quite appropriately.)

  88. Dhoaungelsas says:

    Production values matter… ask President Bloomberg

  89. grumpyotter says:

    I loved this movie. It had one of the greatest surprises for me in the moment when i saw who played the real Mary Poppins and I squealed and applauded.

  90. Dan B says:

    I'm pretty sure I was at Disney the same time you were

  91. brian townsend says:

    I really love how, in all the videos I’ve seen so far, you try to strike a middle ground between being critical and enjoying things, even when you are talking about things you don’t personally enjoy…kudos to you…!!

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