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The English Countryside Painting is a location featured in the 1964 Disney film, Mary Poppins. One of the drawings made by Bert on the sidewalks of Cherry Tree Lane, Bert, Mary Poppins, Michael, and Jane travel there so that they can have adventures there throughout the animated sequence.

Background

The English countryside painting is one of the paintings that Bert created on the sidewalk. Inside the painting itself are animated humans and animals on it with Mary Poppins, Bert, and the children Michael and Jane Banks in live-action forms when they arrive there.

Development

The English countryside painting was the first scene ever shot when Mary Poppins began principal photography on May 6, 1963. Originally, the Walt Disney Studios used this sequence in an early draft with a deleted song for Mary and Bert's relationship titled "Through The Eyes of Love". However, P.L. Travers, author of the original book, insisted that there should never be a hint of romance between Mary and Bert's relationship. Additionally, the background where Mary, Bert, and the children were at would just feature only the landscape's background elements while the characters encountered in the landscape which the main characters would meet would be played by live actors but it was decided to add in an animated sequence as previously done by Walt Disney who reviewed the combination between live-action and animated sequences as what happened in the 1946 film, Song of the South. During a later meeting, Walt discussed with the team, "I think we can do some interesting things with Dick and Julie and animation." Ham Luske, supervising animator on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, served as the animation director for this sequence.

McLaren Stewart, one of the layout artists who served as animation art director, designed the English countryside set - the painted background in which the live-action elements and animated sequences take place. The animated sequence set in the English countryside painting was filmed indoors at the Disney Studios. The idea of creating the sequence where the "Jolly Holiday" set was filmed in an orange screen known as a "sodium vapor process screen", a type of screen where actors are filmed in front of the screen while the set was constructed at the Disney Studios to which while using the set, the animated background was used for the live-action reference scene to which the use of this mixes the live actors with the animated characters in it.

The scene where Mary and Bert stand on turtles to cross the river proved to be the most difficult scene ever filmed due to the actors balancing on the pedestals without wires at the time as the actors had to stand on one leg to pretend that they are standing on turtles. After filming the footage of the actors standing on the pedestals, the animation sequence where the two are standing on the animated turtles was made in which the live actors were mixed together with the turtles for this scene.

While making the scene featuring Mary Poppins and Bert interacting with the Penguin Waiters, the sodium vapor process was used in the scene to insert the actors within the animated footage after the actions were used in a series of drawings alongside storyboards to which after creating the reference drawings, the live actors were first used in this sequence on the set albeit with life-sized cutouts of the penguins followed by animators using the animation tests before finalizing the penguins. After finalizing the penguin animation, the scene was later combined with the live actors using the reference footage in order to finalize the scene. Dee Dee Wood, who choreographed the dance with three assistants, created the dance sequence between Bert and the penguins to which the choreographer herself was filmed performing the dance routine for animation reference and while Wood had to think of a dancing part for the penguins' dancing sequences as penguins don't have shoulders, bendable waists, or knees. Additionally, the penguins themselves were originally going to be human waiters for this scene but it was decided to make the waiters into penguins as waiters reminded Walt of penguins while animator Frank Thomas discovered that there are 26 varieties of penguins when designing the Penguin Waiters so the artists drew the look most people think of as penguins.

During the scene where Mary, Bert, Jane, and Michael ride on carousel horses, the scene where the Merry-Go-Round Guard pulls the lever to disconnect the horses was one of the most difficult scenes to shoot due to the posts that the horses which the four were riding on being disconnected from a carousel and go down a long track down the length of the Walt Disney Studio with the live-action props being set in an animated scene, so wires were used for the carousel horses to bob up and down in order to move them in the part where the Merry-Go-Round Guard disconnects them in which film editor Cotton Warburton noted that the abundant use of "invisible wires" was done smoothly while the carousel's horses are moved up and down using a technique called "mechanical natural tube suspension". Additionally, Irwin Kostal who composed the music added two glockenspiels and nine French horns for the part.[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Points of interests

  • Barnyard: A barnyard inhabited by animated animals. The animals encountered there are sheep, chickens, geese, pigs, a cow, and a horse.
  • Tea Café: A café run by penguins. When Bert and Mary Poppins arrive there, the penguins dance in front of Bert just as Mary is impressed by Bert's dancing with the penguins.
  • Merry-Go-Round: A live-action merry-go-round which is described as Mary and Bert's private attraction. Inside is an animated human character, the Merry-Go-Round Guard, who pulls the lever to disconnect the carousel's horses
  • Derby Track: A derby area where Mary, Bert, and the children arrive there encountering a group of derby men on horses competing to win the race. Mary's carousel horse speeds up in front of them to win the race. It is also the area where the Pearly Band appears and performs the musical number, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious".

Role in the film

Bert is seen busy drawing paintings using chalk on the sidewalk while singing "Chim Chim Cher-ee" and while drawing, he sees Mary Poppins behind him alongside Jane and Michael just as Mary introduces to him as they are planning to go to the park to which Bert explains that the park isn't his place to stay and instead decides to take the children to explore the world of his paintings just as he shows the children the paintings he made from "Punting on the Thames" and "At the Circus" so that Michael and Jane could get an experience of what it is like on the painting. Bert then shows the children an English countryside telling them that there is a little county fair down the road just as Bert finishes adding a few details to the countryside painting just as Bert tells Michael and Jane to think of magic to which Mary helps the three jump into the painting with magic.

Upon arriving at the English countryside painting, Mary, Jane, Michael, and Bert find themselves wearing unique outfits and as Michael and Jane see the country fair from a distance, they run to the area where the county fair is at just as Bert and Mary Poppins sing the musical number, "Jolly Holiday". As the two walk across the countryside, they stroll past a field of flowers and later in a farm encountering several animated farm animals. As they encounter the animals, a ram sings his part during the musical number, followed by lambs, a horse, a cow, some geese, a pig, and some chickens singing along and as the animals sing along, Mary and Bert dance with each other leaving their umbrella and cane behind just as they use magic to bring it back together while strolling past animated squirrels, birds, and deer.

Retrieving the umbrella and cane back, Mary and Bert walk across two animated turtles who help the two cross a river so they can get to the other side just as she thanks the turtles for bringing them to the other side of the countryside just as the musical number, "Jolly Holiday" resumes and as the two walk across the two, a mother swan and her cygnets swim below them, just as the couple sits on a table with two chairs under a willow tree while behind them is a tea house run by animated anthropomorphic penguins who serve as waiters. As the Penguin Waiters approach them, they each give the two a menu as Mary decides to order raspberry iced tea with cakes just as the Penguins explain to them that the orders are complimentary with Mary being their favorite customer. Suddenly, Bert dances in solo with the four animated penguins together with him. As Bert continues dancing with the penguins, the musical number "Jolly Holiday" resumes just before the Penguins leave and as Mary and Bert dance with the penguins, Michael and Jane are riding on a merry-go-round with Mary and Bert following along riding on the carousel's horses while a merry-go-round guard (also in animation form) pulls a lever where the four ride on their horses across the countryside together.

While riding on their horses, they suddenly encounter a group of huntsmen on their horses with their dogs running alongside them chasing a fox. Seeing the Fox being chased by the dogs, Bert manages to rescue the Fox in time and evade the dogs and the huntsmen. Seeing Mary on the racetrack where a group of derby riders on their horses is competing to win the trophy. Mary goes past the finish line where a judge declares her the winner of the race as a crowd cheers for her. Upon winning the race, animated journalists are interviewing with Mary to know how the race was while Bert, Michael, Jane, and the Fox celebrate with candy apples just before she begins the musical number, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious". During the musical number, "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", the Pearly Band plays in front of them just as Bert and Mary dance together alongside the journalists interviewing Mary during the musical number. After the song, it suddenly rains on the painting, causing the animated characters to retreat, causing them to end up back at Cherry Tree Lane again. Upon arriving back at the real world, Mary brings the children back home again where Mary gives Michael and Jane medicine just as Mary tells them that people who get their wet must take medicine just before singing the musical number "Stay Awake" to them to get ready for bed.

Trivia

  • In the original book by P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins spends her day off with Bert in the painting without the children Michael and Jane unlike the one in the film.
  • According an interview with Julie Andrews heard in the Mary Poppins audio commentary on home releases, the scene where Mary Poppins and Bert arrive in the English countryside painting was the first time the actress spoke on camera.
  • The barnyard animals whom Mary Poppins and Bert encounter are voiced by Bill Lee (ram), Mary Virginia Tyler (lambs), Paul Frees (horse), Marc Breaux (cow), Marni Nixon (geese), and Thurl Ravenscroft (pig) respectively.
  • According to animator Ollie Johnston, he found the "Jolly Holiday" sequence in the English countryside painting the most difficult scene to animate.
    • Additionally, animator Frank Thomas watched filming carefully as Dick Van Dyke danced while trying to put in the spaces where the penguins would dance at to know how penguins would appear in the scene.
  • In the original book, Mary Poppins and Bert had raspberry-jam cakes and tea on their day off while in the film, the snacks they had were raspberry ice, cakes and tea.
  • Some of the barnyard animals from the English countryside painting also made a cameo in the Mickey Mouse episode, "Our Homespun Melody".
  • While not directly featured in Mary Poppins Returns, the Royal Doulton Bowl shows an homage to the English countryside painting. Coincidentally, both works of art where the live-action characters appear at feature animated characters in both sequences.
  • Each of the four carousel horses are actual caricatures of the actors who rode on them (example, the yellow horse which Bert was riding on is a caricature of his actor Dick Van Dyke) in which the horses were carefully designed by Disney artist Blaine Gibson.
    • Additionally, the Merry-Go-Round Guard was voiced by the late Dallas McKennon.

References

  1. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins" (Mary Poppins DVD/Blu-ray releases).
  2. Mary Poppins Audio Commentary (Mary Poppins DVD/Blu-ray releases).
  3. "Movie Magic" featurette (Mary Poppins DVD/Blu-ray releases).
  4. "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious: The Making of Mary Poppins" (Mary Poppins DVD/Blu-ray releases).
  5. Poppins Pop-Up Facts (Mary Poppins DVD releases).


v - e - d
Mary Poppins Logo.png
Media
Films: Mary Poppins (video/soundtrack) • Mary Poppins Returns (video/soundtrack) • The Cat That Looked at a KingMusicalThe Legacy CollectionPractically Poppins in Every Way: A Magical Carpetbag of Countless Wonders
Disney Parks
Garden of the Twelve FriendsMary PoppinsThe Great Movie Ride

Entertainment: Disney Adventure Friends CavalcadeDisney's BelieveDisney Classics: The Music & The MagicFollow Your DreamsMickey's Magical Music WorldOne Man's Dream II: The Magic Lives OnOnce Upon a Mouse
Restaurants: Jolly Holiday Bakery Cafe
Parades: Celebrate A Dream Come True ParadeDisney's Dreams On Parade: Moving OnDisney's Magical Moments ParadeDisney's Party ExpressDisney Cinema ParadeDisney Magic on ParadeDisney on Parade: 100 Years of MagicDisney Stars on ParadeDisney Stars 'n' CarsDreaming Up!Happiness is Here ParadeMickey's Soundsational ParadeThe Wonderful World of Disney Parade
Fireworks: Believe... There's Magic in the StarsDisney Dreams!Disney Movie MagicDisneyland ForeverFantasy in the SkyMagical
Spring: Disney's Easter WonderlandDisney's Spring Promenade

Characters
Mary Poppins: Mary PoppinsBertGeorge BanksWinifred BanksJane BanksMichael BanksPenguin WaitersFoxAdmiral Boom and Mr. BinnacleUncle AlbertMr. Dawes Sr.Katie NannaMrs. BrillEllenMr. Dawes Jr.Constable JonesThe Pearly BandMiss LarkChimney Sweeps

Mary Poppins Returns: William Weatherall WilkinsJackTopsyThe Balloon LadyClydeShamusJohn BanksAnnabel BanksGeorgie BanksAngusHamilton Gooding and Templeton FryeThe Park KeeperPenny FarthingLamplighters
The Cat That Looked at a King: CatKing
Musical: Miss Andrew

Locations
LondonCherry Tree LaneEnglish Countryside Painting
Songs
Mary Poppins: Sister SuffragetteThe Life I LeadThe Perfect NannyA Spoonful of SugarSobre las OlasJolly HolidaySupercalifragilisticexpialidociousStay AwakeI Love to LaughFeed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)A British BankFidelity Fiduciary BankChim Chim Cher-eeStep in TimeA Man Has DreamsLet's Go Fly a Kite

Mary Poppins Returns: (Underneath the) Lovely London SkyA ConversationCan You Imagine That?The Royal Doulton Music HallA Cover is Not the BookThe Place Where Lost Things GoTurning TurtleTrip a Little Light FantasticNowhere to Go But Up
Musical: Temper, TemperPractically PerfectAnything Can HappenBrimstone and TreaclePlaying the GameBeing Mrs. BanksGood for NothingCherry Tree LanePrecision and Order
Deleted Songs: The Anthropomorphic ZooThe ChimpanzooThe Right SideThe Land of SandAdmiral BoomMary Poppins' MelodyYou Think, You BlinkThrough The Eyes of LoveWest WindTiki TownThe North Pole Polka

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