OPINION LETTER TO THE EDITOR – Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t seen Saving Mr. Banks, you might not want to read this review and perspective.
First, I found the movie “Saving Mr. Banks,” produced by the Walt Disney Company and BBC Films, delightful; but also a travesty.
The making of this movie, especially by the Walt Disney Company, is further evidence of our society’s loss of ethical and moral behavior by our modern capitalistic corporate society.
The original movie, “Marry Poppins,” was released just five years before the death of Walt Disney, who died in 1966. Walt spent over twenty years in obtaining the rights to this book, and personally negotiated a hard fought deal with P. L. Travers; the author of several books associated with that character. Walt spent a fortune gaining those rights, because of a promise he made to his daughter.
During Walt’s difficult and extensive negotiation with Travers, as portrayed in Savings Mr. Banks, he promised that her father would be portrayed in his film only as the mythical wonderful gentleman as she had portrayed in her books. This was the “smoking gun” for the rights of bringing Marry Poppins to the movie screen; and in the Movie, is the key scene portrayed in the final capitulation by Travers to release the literary rights to Walt.
In less than fifty years after the death of Walt Disney, and only eighteen years after Travers’ passing, the Walt Disney Company threw out all moral and ethical considerations, and produced a movie that portrays her father as an alcoholic worthless dying bum, as the subtitle to portraying the negotiation.
I believe if Walt Disney was alive today, the film “Saving Mr. Banks” would have never been made; because of his commitment and respect for P. L. Travers. I believe Travers would be mortified at the portrayal of her family, which she strived so hard to keep hidden.
This begs the question; do we always want to see behind the curtain, at any costs? Are commitments of our past generations, worth any moral or ethical value today? Does this behavior teach the next generation, a new distractive code of ethics acceptable in America?
I did not know the background of this movie before viewing it; and now wish I had not contributed my tuppence to the profits of the Walt Disney Company. Whenever I think of the Mary Poppins movie in the future, I will always have an opposing view of the whimsical emotions I once felt as a child of such an epic production. I also now carry a negative view of the Walt Disney Company, contrary to the traditions I’m sure Walt wanted passed down in his legacy. My own spoon full of sugar is a little bitter towards the contemporary Disney brand.
The Walt Disney Company isn’t the first to transform a great heritage. One only needs look at the dynasty left by Sam Walton, who wanted American Made products sold in his store at the lowest possible price. Today, it’s estimated over ninety percent of Wal-Mart’s goods are now made in foreign countries, not by the hands and machinery of Americans. But Americans are ecstatic at the even lower prices; much like our thrill for the entertainment value watching “Savings Mr. Banks.”
The Millennial generation might laugh and scoff at such an analysis, but what would our forefathers think? How would Sam Walton, Walt Disney, and P. L. Travers view the legacy they built, judged by the morals and ethical values their inheritor’s live by today? I don’t believe they would see this as progress, but rather a walkway from the honest and truthful core values they exemplified.
By David E Whipple 1-18-2014
Email: [email protected]
Letters to the Editor are not the product of St. George News, its editors, staff or news contributors. The matters stated and opinions given are the responsibility of the person submitting them. They do not reflect the product or opinion of St. George News and are given only light edit for technical style and formatting.