BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com
It's less than a week until Disney releases it's crown jewel in high definition: Mary Poppins, winner of five Oscars including Best Actress (Julie Andrews in her film debut.)
Mary Poppins, celebrating its 50th anniversary, co-stars Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Ed Wynn, Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber. Anyone born in the late '50s or early '60s remembers the thrill of watching Julie Andrews sliding up a bannister, popping into chalk pictures or having afternoon tea on the ceiling.
The film also helped secure the songwriting Sherman Brothers a permanent place in American pop culture with A Spoonful of Sugar, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, Feed the Birds and the Oscar-winning Chim-Chim-Cheree.
Technically, Mary Poppins (1964) will be 50 in 2014, but Disney is releasing the new Blu-ray/DVD set a bit early, in time for the current holiday season and also in advance of Saving Mr. Banks, a Tom Hanks-Emma Thompson film about the making of Mary Poppins. Hanks plays Walt Disney; Thompson is Poppins author P.L. Travers. Saving Mr. Banks opens theatrically on Dec. 13.
Disney has also released several other big Blu-rays this holiday season:
The Little Mermaid (1989) is back in standard high definition and 3D for those with compatible monitors.
Mickey's Christmas Carol starring Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck celebrates its 30th anniversary. Back in 1983, the film was the first new Mickey Mouse theatrical film in 30 years.
Winnie the Pooh: A Very Merry Pooh Year is a direct-to-video holday special first released on DVD in 2002. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, featuring the original Disney theatrical cartoons, was released on Blu-ray earlier this year.