Author P.L. Travers reflects on her childhood after reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.

[first lines]
Travers Goff: [voiceover] Winds in the east / Mist coming in / Like something is brewing / About to begin / Can't put me finger / On what lies in store / But I feel what's to happen / All happened before.
Richard Sherman: Room here for everyone / Gather around / The constable's "responstible!" / Now how does that sound?
P.L. Travers: No, no, no, no, no! "Responstible" is not a word!
Richard Sherman: We made it up.
P.L. Travers: Well, un-make it up.
Richard Sherman: [hides sheet music of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious."]
Walt Disney: George Banks and all he stands for will be saved. 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.
[last lines]
[Travers is at the premiere and she is crying]
Walt Disney: It's all right, Mrs. Travers. It's alright. Mr. Banks is going to be all right. I promise.
P.L. Travers: No, no. It's just that - I can't, I can't abide cartoons!
[Travers gives Ralph a list of people to his handicapped daughter, Jane]
Ralph: "Albert Einstein, Van Gogh, Roosevelt, Frida Kahlo" - What is this?
P.L. Travers: They all had difficulties. Jane can do anything that anyone else can do, do you understand?
P.L. Travers: Look on the back.
Ralph: [turns it over] "Walt Disney."
P.L. Travers: Deficiencies in concentration and hyperactive behavior. Explains everything!
[Travers sees Disney character plush dolls in her room, including one of Winnie the Pooh]
P.L. Travers: Poor A. A. Milne.
Walt Disney: "No whimsy or sentiment!" says the woman who sends a flying nanny with a talking umbrella to save the children.
P.L. Travers: You think Mary Poppins is saving the children, Mr. Disney?
[Walt and the other filmmakers are stunned silent]
P.L. Travers: Oh, dear!
[Walks away]
Ginty: [while seeing her father shave] Why do you do that?
Travers Goff: For you my dear!
[He flicks the blade in the air like a swordsman]
Travers Goff: Swish! Which kind of kisses do you prefer, Gintamina? Swoosh! Scratchy ones or silky ones?
Ginty: [thinks] Silky ones.
Travers Goff: A man must shave for to spare his daughter's cheeks! Swish!
[Travers and Disney are at Disneyland, and Travers is on a carousel horse]
Walt Disney: The boys have had an idea for your Mr. Banks. I think it'll make you happy.
P.L. Travers: You brought me all the way out here to tell me that?
Walt Disney: No. I brought you all the way out here for monetary gain. Had a wager with the boys that I couldn't get you on a ride. I just won twenty bucks!
Travers Goff: Don't you ever stop dreaming. You can be anyone you want to be.
Porter: Would you like me to unpack for you, ma'am?
P.L. Travers: Young man, if it is your ambition to handle ladies' garments, may I suggest you take employment in a launderette?
[from trailer]
Ralph: Welcome, Mrs. P.L. Travers, to the city of angels.
P.L. Travers: It smells... of...
Ralph: Jasmine?
P.L. Travers: Chlorine, and sweat.
[last lines]
Travers Goff: [voiceover] Winds in the east / Mist coming in / Like something is brewing / About to begin / Can't put me finger / On what lies in store / But I feel what's to happen / All happened before.
Walt Disney: Look at you! I could eat you up!
P.L. Travers: That wouldn't be appropriate.
P.L. Travers: You are the only American I have ever liked.
Ralph: May I ask why?
P.L. Travers: No.
P.L. Travers: [as she throws a Mickey Mouse doll off her bed] You can stay over there until you learn the art of subtlety.
Walt Disney: It's not the children she comes to save. It's their father. It's YOUR father, Travers Goff.
P.L. Travers: It is blasphemy to drink tea from a paper cup.
[Travers sees Robert Sherman walk out of the room with a cane]
P.L. Travers: What is wrong with his leg?
Richard Sherman: He got shot.
P.L. Travers: Hardly surprising.
Walt Disney: I've fought this battle from her side. Pat Powers, he wanted the mouse and I didn't have a bean back then. He was this big terrifying New York producer and I was just a kid from Missouri with a sketch of Mickey, but it would've killed me to give him up. Honest to God, killed me. That mouse, he's family.
P.L. Travers: [On Walt Disney adapting Mary Poppins] I know what he's going to do to her. She'll be cavorting, and twinkling, careening towards a happy ending like a kamikaze.
Walt Disney: You know, you've never been to Disneyland, that's the happiest place on earth.
P.L. Travers: I cannot tell you how uninterested - no, positively sickened I am at the thought of going to see your dollar-printing machine.
Walt Disney: Well come on! When does anybody get to go to Disneyland with Walt Disney himself?
P.L. Travers: Disappointments are to the soul what the thunderstorm is to the sky.
[Disney hangs up angrily]
P.L. Travers: [offended] Hello? Hello? He hung up!
Walt Disney: Have you ever been to Kansas City, Mrs. Travers? Do you know Missouri at all?
P.L. Travers: I can't say I do.
Walt Disney: Well, it's mighty cold there in the winters. Bitter cold. And my dad, Elias Disney, he owned a newspaper delivery route there. A thousand papers, twice daily; a morning and an evening edition. And dad was a tough businessman. He was a "save a penny any way you can" type of fella, so he wouldn't employ delivery boys. No, no, no... he used me and my big brother Roy. I was eight back then, just eight years old. And, like I said, winters are harsh, and Old Elias, he didn't believe in new shoes until the old ones were worn through. And honestly, Mrs. Travers, the snowdrifts, sometimes they were up over my head and we'd push through that snow like it was molasses. The cold and wet seeping through our clothes and our shoes. Skin peeling from our faces. Sometimes I'd find myself sunk down in the snow, just waking up because I must have passed out or something, I don't know. And then it was time for school and I was too cold and wet to figure out equations and things. And then it was back out in the know again to get home just before dark. Mother would feed us dinner and then it was time to go right back out and do it again for the evening edition. "You'd best be quick there, Walt. You'd better get those newspapers up on that porch and under that storm door. Poppa's gonna lose his temper again and show you the buckle end of his belt, boy."
[Travers looks noticeably unsettled by his story]
Walt Disney: I don't tell you this to make you sad, Mrs. Travers. I don't. I love my life, I think it's a miracle. And I loved my dad. He was a wonderful man. But rare is the 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. And I am just so tired, Mrs. Travers. I'm tired of remembering it *that* way. Aren't you tired, too, Mrs. Travers? Now we all have our sad tales, buy don't you want to finish the story? Let is all go and have a life that isn't dictated by the past? It's not the children she comes to save. It's their father. It's *your* father... Travers Goff.
P.L. Travers: I don't know what you think you know about me, Walter...
Walt Disney: You must have loved and admired him a lot to take his name. It's him this is all about, isn't it? All of it, everything. Forgiveness, Mrs. Travers, it's what I learned from your books.
P.L. Travers: I don't have to forgive my father. He was a wonderful man.
Walt Disney: No... you need to forgive Helen Goff. Life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself.
P.L. Travers: [reading the script] 'Scene one, exterior, Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane, Day.' Yes, that's good. That can stay.
Richard Sherman: That's just a scene heading.
P.L. Travers: Though I do think we should say 'Number Seventeen,' instead of just 'Seventeen.'
Don DaGradi, Robert Sherman: No one's going to see it!
P.L. Travers: *I* will see it.
Walt Disney: Please sit down.
P.L. Travers: I shall not sit in the seat of a trickster! A fraudster! A sneak!
Walt Disney: Mrs. Travers, what in the world has upset you so?
P.L. Travers: Penguins have very much upset me! Animated, dancing penguins! Now, you have seduced me with the music, Mr Disney, yes, you have. Those Sherman boys have quite turned my head but I shall NOT be moved on the matter of *cartoons!*
Walt Disney: There's no greater joy than that seen through the eyes of a child, and there's a little bit of a child in all of us.
P.L. Travers: Maybe in you, Mr. Disney, but certainly not in me.
Walt Disney: Get on the horse, Pamela.
Don DaGradi: [to Travers] so this is the rest of your team, Dick and Bob Sherman! Music and lyrics.
[to the Shermans]
Don DaGradi: Boys, this is the one and only Mrs. P.L. Travers, the creator of our beloved Mary!
P.L. Travers: Poppins.
Don DaGradi: Who else?
P.L. Travers: Mary Poppins. Never, ever just Mary.
[to the Shermans]
P.L. Travers: It's a pleasure to meet you. I fear we shan't be acquainted for too long.
Robert Sherman: Why is that?
P.L. Travers: Because these books simply do not lend themselves to chirping and prancing. No, it's certainly not a musical. Now, where is Mr. Disney? I should so much like to get this started and finished as briskly as is humanly possible.
Walt Disney: Well, Pamela Travers! Oh, my dear gal, you can't tell how excited I am to finally meet you...
P.L. Travers: It's an honour, Mr. Disney.
Walt Disney: Oh, Walt, now, you gotta call me Walt.
Walt Disney, Richard Sherman: [singing] My world was calm, well ordered, exemplary / Then came this person, with chaos in her wake /And now my life's ambitions go with one fell blow / It's quite a bitter pill to take.
Walt Disney: Inspired by someone we know?
Richard Sherman: [feigning innocence] You'd have to ask Bob.
Walt Disney: We can't make the picture without the color red. The film is set in London, for Pete's sake!
P.L. Travers: And?
Walt Disney: Well, there's buses and mailboxes and guard's uniforms and things - Heck, the English flag!
P.L. Travers: I understand your predicament, Mr. Disney. I do. It's just - I don't know what it is, I'm suddenly very anti-red. I shan't be wearing it ever again.
Walt Disney: Is this a test, Pamela? Are you requiring proof as to how much I want to make you happy so we can create this beautiful thing together?
P.L. Travers: I took you at your word, Mr. Disney, and it seems my first stipulation has been denied. There will be many more. So perhaps we should just call it quits and I...
[She takes out the rights]
P.L. Travers:
[pause. Disney faces his crew]
Walt Disney: All right. No red in the picture.
Ralph: Hey, sun came out again.
P.L. Travers: You say it as if you're surprised, as if the sun were particular about for whom it appears. It seems you think I am responsible for its miraculous dawning every day. For heaven's sake, it's California.
Ralph: Certainly is!
P.L. Travers: I'd so much rather be accountable for the rain.
Ralph: Oh, that's sad.
P.L. Travers: Sad is entirely the wrong emotion. I shan't bother explaining why. It would just... Zip!
Ralph: Huh. Okey-dokey.
P.L. Travers: The rain brings life.
Ralph: So does the sun.
P.L. Travers: Be quiet!
Ralph: Yes, ma'am.
P.L. Travers: The rumor is that this is to be your Mr. Van Dyke, is it?
Richard Sherman: We hope so.
P.L. Travers: Hmm. We'll see about that, he's totally wrong. Totally and utterly.
Robert Sherman: Dick is one of the greats!
P.L. Travers: Dick Van Dyke? Robert, my dear, Olivier is one of the greats. Burton, Guinness, greats without question. I can assure you...
P.L. Travers: [speaking into the tape recorder] ... Dick Van Dyke is *NOT!*
P.L. Travers: Aren't you going to pour it for us?
Polly: You're perfectly capable of pouring it your self.
P.L. Travers: She's quite the worst maid I've ever had.
Diarmuid Russell: So why do you keep her?
P.L. Travers: I don't know. She reminds me of me.
P.L. Travers: [on finding a first name for Mrs. Banks] I will not have her called Cynthia, absolutely not. It feels unlucky. It should be something warm, a bit sexy. How about Mavis?
[last lines]
[the authentic recordings of the rehearsals are being played on tape]
P.L. Travers: Now, who's reading? And go slowly.
Don DaGradi: You start and I'll take over.
Robert Sherman: "Autumn. In the early part of the 20th century, 1910. London. At Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane, the Banks household is in an uproar."
P.L. Travers: Hold it. Now, I see that Cherry Tree Lane as not too townified on one side of the park. And we'll get you a photograph of 50 Smith Street, in order to see that the house is really quite like that. But it has more of a garden than my house had. But it might be useful and amusing to put it in as my house. You see?
Don DaGradi: "Upstairs in the nursery, where Mary is measuring up the children with a long row of tape measure, Mary reads off the tape that Jane is..." Well, first she says, "What kind of material have we got to work with?"
P.L. Travers: No, no. That, we cannot have. That would be quite un-English.
Richard Sherman: Mrs. Travers, basically what we want to do here is use pretty much what you have in the book.
P.L. Travers: Yes, yes. Now, I want this tape measure to be used, because it was a tape measure that my mother had when she was a little girl.
Richard Sherman: Mmm-hmm.
P.L. Travers: And I think it would be very nice.
Don DaGradi: "At the end of the chorus..."
P.L. Travers: Read me all that, now.
Don DaGradi: We were going to.
P.L. Travers: Read it. No, no. You read it.
Don DaGradi: Do you want to bear us?
P.L. Travers: No. Go on.
Don DaGradi: This is torture!
P.L. Travers: Now, go on. "At the end of the chorus..." There ought perhaps to have been people in this countryside, you see? Are you making note of it? And they would be the Pearly people. They'd be arriving and they'd come nearer and they'd see, "Ah. Hmm." They know they are not grand enough to eat at this table. Have you got this on tape? Because I think it's important. I'm not going to do this film unless I'm available for it.
Robert Sherman: Well, there are these tapes also, you know.
P.L. Travers: No, it's not enough.
Robert Sherman: We, uh... We have to feel the impact of it.
P.L. Travers: Yes, yes. Well, anyway, it brings about whatever it is. Mr. Banks, um, is able. He has a tender, good heart, not a change of heart, because he's always been sweet, but worried with the cares of life.
[the tape ends]
Walt Disney: [preparing tea] And a spoonful of sugar?
P.L. Travers: No, I think I'll have whiskey.
Travers Goff: This world is just an illusion, Ginty, ol' girl. As long as we hold that thought dear they can't break us, they can't make us endure their reality, bleak and bloody as it is. Money, money, money, don't you buy into, Ginty. It'll bite you on the bottom.
Walt Disney: I have my own Mr. Banks. Mine had a mustache.
P.L. Travers: [sarcastically] So it's not true that Disney created man in his own image?
Walt Disney: No, but it is true that you created yourself in someone else, yes?
Walt Disney: You look at me and you see some kind of Hollywood King Midas. You think I've built and empire and I want your Mary Poppins as just another brick in my kingdom.
P.L. Travers: And don't you?
Walt Disney: Now, if that's all it was, would I have suckered up to a stubborn, cranky dame like you for twenty years? No, I'd have saved myself an ulcer.
Ralph: Are you All right, missus? Would you like me to drive you home?
P.L. Travers: All the way to England? Yes, please.
P.L. Travers: Why did you have to make him so cruel? He was not a monster!
Don DaGradi: Who are we talking about? I'm confused.
P.L. Travers: You all have children, yes? And do those children make letters for you? Do they write letters? Do they make you drawings? And would you tear up those gifts in front of them? It's a dreadful thing to do. I don't understand. Why must Father tear up the advertisement his children have made and throw it in the fireplace? Why won't he mend their kite? Why have you made him so unspeakably awful? "In glorious Technicolor"? "For all the world to see"? If you claim to make them live, why can't he... they live well? I can't bear it. Please don't. Please don't. I feel like I let him down again.
P.L. Travers: [At the airport, seeing a sign that say "Walt Disney presents P. L. Travers"] Oh, he does, does he?
P.L. Travers: Will the child be a nuisance? It's an 11-hour flight.
Woman with Infant: Uh...
P.L. Travers: Jolly good.
P.L. Travers: [Shoving plush dolls of Donald and Pluto into her hotel closet] Duck... dog... out!
P.L. Travers: [In the plane, about to go to Los AngeIes] I hope we crash.
Don DaGradi: We were hoping to give you a little tour of the studio.
P.L. Travers: No, thank you.
Don DaGradi: Walt just wanted to show the place off.
P.L. Travers: No one likes a show-off.
Walt Disney: Pam, a man cannot break a promise he's made to his kids, no matter how long it takes for him to make it come true. Now, you kept me dangling all this time. But now, I gotcha.
P.L. Travers: Gotcha, indeed! Mr. Disney, if you have "dangled", it is at the end of a rope you have fashioned for yourself. I was perfectly clear when you approached me 20 years ago that she wasn't for sale and I was clear again when you approached me the following year and clear again when you approached me every annum for the subsequent 18 years and quite honestly, I feel corralled!
Walt Disney: Don't you want to finish the story?
Ginty: [to Goff who has died after losing his battle with alcoholism] I dropped the pairs. I'm sorry daddy.
Aunt Ellie: Helen!
Ginty: [to Ellie] You said you'd FIX everything!
P.L. Travers: [Being driven in a cart to Disney's office] I am perfectly capable of walking!
[Dolly is relaying Mrs. Travers' notes to Disney]
Dolly: She wants to know why Mr. Banks was given a moustache.
Walt Disney: [off-handedly] Oh, I asked for that.
Dolly: Yes, she wants to know why.
Walt Disney: [pointedly] Because *I* asked for it.
Walt Disney: I think life disappoints you, Ms. Travers. I think it's done that a lot. And maybe Mary Poppins is the only person in your life who hasn't.
P.L. Travers: Mary Poppins isn't real.
Walt Disney: That's not true. She was as real as can be to my daughters, and to thousands of other children - adults too. She's been a nighttime comfort to a heck of a lot of people.
P.L. Travers: Then where is she when I need her? I open the door for Mary Poppins, and who should be standing there but Walt Disney!
Ginty: [Ginty turns over in bed and sees Margaret staring at her coldly from outside her bedroom] Mother!
Margaret Goff: [Referring the hidden pain killers and Goff] I knew you give them to him. Take care of your sisters.
Ginty: [Shocked] No!
Margaret Goff: I know you love your father more. But one day you'll understand.
[Turns away to kill herself]
Margaret Goff: .
P.L. Travers: My point is that, unlike yourself, 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. One must clean one's room, it will magically do it by itself! This entire script is flim-flam! Where is its heart? Where is its reality? Where... is the gravitas?
[She throws the script out the window]
P.L. Travers: [to a mother] Will the child be a nuisance? It's an 11 hour flight! Jolly good!
[after sitting down]
P.L. Travers: I hope we crash!
Travers Goff: [the Travers have just arrived at their new home which is a rundown farm and it is obvious the family are in poverty but Goff tries to pretend otherwise] A Palace! Complete with mighty steed!
Ginty: And chickens!
Margaret Goff: [Shocked and disappointed] Oh my!
Travers Goff: [to Margaret] We'll make beautiful memories here my angel
[Pecks his wife on the cheek and she pretends to smile]
Travers Goff: Girls, come on. In this house you get to share a room!

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