Julie's film debut began the world's love affair with her--and what a marvelous vehicle for doing so. Julie appears here in fine voice and is radiantly beautiful.
The performance is more than deserving of the Oscar, especially considering that she had to act to blue screens and objects/characters from within her imagination. No easy task, certainly.
I also love the way Julie, as Mary, refuses to acknowledge the free-for-all that is going on around her. She simply pushes her hair primly back in place and presses on, despite the dancing chimney sweeps and giggling uncles that surround her. "I never explain anything," she blithely comments.
The score is one of my favorites in all the Disney canon. The Sherman brothers outdid themselves with "Stay Awake," one of the most under-appreciated lullaby's ever written, and the hauntingly winsome "Feed the Birds."
The Disney animators have created a visual feast as bottomless and surprising as Mary Poppins' carpetbag. The Peter Ellenshaw matte shots are breathtaking. My favorite visual moments? Bert and Mary's live-action reflections in a pond are eddied by a family of cartoon geese. I also love when Bert, Mary, and the children ascend a staircase constructed only of chimney smoke. Brilliant!
In addition, Van Dyke was an excellent choice for his singing and dancing (and popularity).