I present side-by-side photo comparisons featuring images from the "Saving Mr. Banks" trailer(right) and images of people and places that inspired scenes from the movie (left).
I found myself more and more anxiously for the December release of "Saving Mr. Banks" starring Tom Hanks as Walt Disney. The film takes place during the years leading up to and including the 1964 release of "Mary Poppins". How well did movie-makers recreate the period?
In the trailer we see a persistent Walt Disney invite a reluctant P.L. Travers (author of the Mary Poppins children novels) to come with him to Disneyland. During filming last November, reproductions of various now-extinct props were temporarily added to parts of Disneyland. The classic oval "D-I-S-N-E-Y-L-A-N-D" letters were added to the turnstyle rooftops. Attraction posters were added to the wall in front of the Floral Mickey and Railroad Station. And on the Railroad Station, a Santa Fe sign covering up the current sign.
Extras wore clothing from the era. And look... No new-school snow on Sleeping Beauty Castle (like many fans have been fearing).
Here we see a very close replica of Walt's office.
Back when the first images of production appeared online, I created and tweeted this photo comparison. It was quickly used by hundreds of movie and news sites. But the joke's on you, Hollywood! I mistakenly used the wrong Walt portrait. I later found the correct one (below). It appears they added a photo of Tom Hanks' head onto the photo of Walt Disney, keeping the same suit and background.
Emma Thompson plays P.L. Travers and pulls off the look rather well.
Robert and Richard Sherman are played by B.J. Novak and Jason Schwartzman.
This black-and-white television footage of Walt Disney interacting with an animated Tinkerbell is nicely recreated with Tom Hanks.
In the original footage, Walt is elevated towards the ceiling of his studio office with Pixie Dust but then is lowered to the ground once he brushes the dust off his suit jacket. Tom Hanks is also elevated until he brushes off the Pixie Dust in the same manner.
The Hollywood premiere of "Mary Poppins" is beautifully recreated. The exterior of Graumann's Chinese Theatre has changed a bit since 1964 but the feeling the premiere is captured beautifully.
How fun is it to see Walt's wife, Lillian, in the film as well (played by Dendrie Taylor).
From what little we've seen, how well do the actors capture the personalities of the people the depict? I say quite well. How well does the film capture the period? Very well. Are there post-1964 architecture and props visible in the Disneyland shots? Yes. Pinocchio's Daring Journey (opened in 1983) can be seen behind Tom Hanks while he's on the Carousel. But really, everything in the trailer feels right, in my opinion. No views of Tomorrowland '98! Overall, was 1960s Disneyland presented well? Absolutely. Will overly-picky fans find endless fault with the film? Most-likely. Will the film present a completely accurate version of the Walt–P.L story? Not likely. Will there be some creative and/or historical license taken? Duh. It's not a documentary. Will the film offer a charming, delightful, and nostalgic "based on" account of this true story? Let's hope so.