BrianRxm Coins in Movies 63/115
Mary Poppins (1964)
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The 1964 Walt Disney film "Mary Poppins" features two British penny coins, known as "tuppence",
which are shown in close up, figure in the story, and have a song sung about them.
 
The film is set in 1910, and was based on the "Mary Poppins" books were written by P. L. Travers
and illustrated by Mary Shepard.
The film stars Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins, a nanny who is hired by the parents of two children
to take care of them, and Dick Van Dyke as her friend Bert.
 
The song "Feed the Birds" ("Tuppence a Bag") was written by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman
who wrote most of the songs for the film.
 
The British pennies displayed in the film are from the reign of King Edward VII (1901-1910).
Mary Poppins
1. Title
 
The film starts with an aerial view of London in 1910.
 
Mary Poppins
2. London
 
Mary Poppins, the magical nanny, gets ready for her next assignment.
 
Mary Poppins
3. Mary Poppins gets ready
 
She receives a letter from the children of Mr. and Mrs. Banks requesting a nanny and goes to
meet the parents.
 
Mary Poppins
4. The parents, Mr. and Mrs. Banks
 
Mr. Banks is a stiff conservative banker and Mrs. Banks is a suffragette, working for women's rights,
including the right to vote.
 
Mary Poppins
5. Mary Poppins arrives with the letter
 
She has the letter the children wrote, which the father thought he had destroyed.
 
Mary Poppins
6. Mary Poppins meets the children Jane and Michael
 
She finds that the children are "naughty" sometimes.
 
Mary Poppins likes birds and sings to them.
 
Mary Poppins
7. Mary Poppins and a bird
 
Birds will figure more importantly in the story later.
 
Egyptian Magic Coin Woman
8. Egyptian Magic Coin variation with a similar pose
 
Just a coincidence, of course.
Mary Poppins couldn't be that old.
 
She has a friend Bert who is a street artist, and later a chimmney sweep.
 
Mary Poppins
9. Bert the street artist
 
Bert has his cap out for "coppers", or British copper coins.
 
Mary Poppins
10. Bert's coppers in the hat
 
The coins appear to be Edward VII pennies.
 
The father thinks that Mary Poppins is not preparing the children for life, and she agrees and works
him around to taking the children to his bank, sort of a 1910 version of "take your kids to work day".
 
Mary Poppins sings the song "Feed the Birds" to the children, the song is about giving.
 
Mary Poppins
11. Mary Poppins sings "Feed the Birds"
 
During the song, the "Bird Woman" appears, she sits on the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral selling
bags of bird food for tuppence (two pence) a bag.
 
The British pound was worth then US five dollars, there were 240 pence (pennies) to the pound.
Therefore "tuppence" would have been worth around four US cents.
 
Mary Poppins
12. The Bird Woman
 
The song and it's message put the children in the correct frame of mind for their visit to the bank.
 
Next morning Mr. Banks takes the kids to his bank.
The bank is the "Dawes, Tomes, Mousely, Grubbs Fidelity Fiduciary Bank".
 
Mary Poppins
13. Father takes the children to his bank
 
Michael has two pence, and as they pass the Bird Woman, Michael wants to "feed the birds".
His father ridicules the idea and they continue to the bank.
They arrive at the bank and are met by the board of directors.
Mr. Banks asks Michael to show them what is in his hand.
 
Mary Poppins
14. Michael holding tuppence
 
The board members, especially the senior member Mr. Dawes, greedily eye Michael's tuppence.
 
Mary Poppins
15. The bankers make a strong suggestion
 
The bankers advise Michael to "invest" his tuppence in the bank.
 
Mary Poppins
16. Michael has his tuppence in hand
 
The banker is able to grab the coins.
 
Mary Poppins
17. The banker gets the goods
 
Micheal screams for his money, the customers outside hear the noise, and they start withdrawing
their money, causing a panic and a "run on the bank".
 
Mary Poppins
18. The "run on the bank"
 
Michael and Jane escape the confusion and head home.
 
They are met by Bert, Mary Poppins, and Bert's chimmney sweep friends for a long musical number
set on the rooftops of London.
 
Bert explains to the children about how hard their father works for them.
 
Back at home, they meet their father, and Michael, unhappy with the trouble he has caused,
gives his tuppence to his father.
 
Mary Poppins
19. Michael hands the tuppence to father
 
Mr. Banks receives a telephone call from the bank board requesting his presence.
He knows that he will be "sacked" or discharged.
 
Mary Poppins
20. Mr. Banks heads to the bank
 
Mr. Banks enters the chamber which is set up almost like a military court-martial.
 
Mary Poppins
21. In the chamber
 
The senior banker explains that the bank has not such a disgrace since they financed a
shipment of tea to America in 1773 (destroyed during the "Boston Tea Party").
 
The board cashiers (dishonorably discharges) Mr. Banks; one banker punches a hole
in his bowler hat, the symbol of a banker.
 
Mary Poppins
22. Mr. Banks is cashiered
 
Mr. Banks, having lost his position, makes sarcastic jokes to the bankers, quotes Mary Poppins'
favorite word, and shows them the tuppence.
 
The tuppence are finally ready for their closeup:
 
Mary Poppins
23. The tuppence
 
The coins are two large worn British pennies, one showing King Edward VII (1901-1910)
 
A British Penny of King Edward VII:
 
Britain HalfPenny 1902
24. A British Edward VII Penny from 1902
 
Mr. Banks angrily waves the tuppence around frightening the bankers.
 
Mary Poppins
25. Mr. Banks waving tupppence
 
Things end happily for Mr. Banks the next morning, he takes his wife and children out to fly kites,
and meets the bankers who have taken his advice, they inform him that the senior Mr. Dawes
"died happy" and offer him his position back and a promotion.
 
Mary Poppins
26. The Banks family flying kites
 
Mary Poppins had told the children that she would stay only until the wind changes.
The wind changes and she gets ready to leave.
 
Mary Poppins
27. Mary Poppins' goodbye
 
Notes:
 
Cast:
Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins
Dick Van Dyke as Bert and Mr. Dawes Senior (the old banker)
David Tomlinson as Mr. Banks
Glynis Johns as Mrs. Banks
Karen Dotrice as Jane Banks
Matthew Garber as Michael Banks
Jane Darwell as The Bird Woman
 
Director: Robert Stevenson
Writers: Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi
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