Ellison Trashes Banks

In the view of the gifted if blunt-spoken Harlan Ellison, Saving Mr. Banks is “bullshit from one end to the other.” It’s about “the dead hand of Walt Disney reaching up from Missouri…even in death…it’s not about P.L. Travers, who has been reviled by this movie [as] a hateful, spiteful, intransigent woman…this movie is about Walt Disney…it’s about burnishing Disney’s reputation…half of it is made up, and despite what you see in the picture, P.L. Travers went to her grave despising the movie of Mary Poppins.”

  • Terry McCarty

    Alan Alda’s SWEET LIBERTY isn’t remembered these days, but the controversy over SAVING MR. BANKS brings back memories of the similar author vs. filmmakers storyline.

  • http://www.twitter.com/danrevill Dan Revill

    I wouldn’t say he’s trashing the movie, as much as the story they chose to tell.

  • brenkilco

    So personal and corporate aggrandizement thy name is Disney. And Ellison should be able to relate since it takes him ten self congratulatory minutes to tell us something that could have been conveyed in thirty seconds.

  • berg

    ellison just blew the lid off nooky

  • Mr. F.

    “…despite what you see in the picture, P.L. Travers went to her grave despising the movie of Mary Poppins.”

    I’m guessing she didn’t despise the money that Disney paid her. Funny how that happens.

  • bentrane

    Obviously, no one put a gun to her head and forced her to take the money. And Ellison is so full of himself, my God!

  • pizan܍amore

    So I guess it’s out of the running for best documentary.

    Also, GET A LAV.

  • Joe Blowe

    So happy to see someone TELL IT LIKE IT IS. Thank you Mr. Ellison! Seriously, it’s amazing how critics continue to kiss Disney’s ass…what’s next for Hollywood. Fox doing the ‘insider account’ of how Titanic got made?! Let’s get real America, this is just Disney cashing in on their so called ‘storybook’ past (for at its best, its a pile of BS — otherwise, it’s just a corporate fable to hide the true darkness at the heart of the Mickey Mouse Empire).

  • JoeS

    I don’t know why anybody had genuinely high expectations for this film considering it was a Disney Production about themselves. And, once that trailer went out – geez, middlebrow sop.

    The film itself isn’t horrible, just blandly mediocre. Every time they cut to yet another flashback, you could hear a collective sigh of, “NO! Not another one….”

    The ONLY interesting thing about SAVING is I want an investigation into WHO exactly was behind the whispering campaign that this was some stealth major threat to win Best Picture?!! Probably, a Disney plant.

    Certainly, not a film worth hopping on a transcontinental flight to go see………….

    • pretto

      Travers loved the movie! The old story that she hated it was a lie spread by Jack Warner, Marni Nixon and the producers of “My Fair Lady” as part of their negative Oscar campaign.

  • Correcting Jeff

    As much as I admire Ellison the writer– and do I ever!– as a human being, the guy has been a miserable crank for so long, I wonder when the time ever was where he WASN’T a miserable crank.

    Shit, he still holds a grudge at Gene Roddenberry, and Roddenberry’s been dead since the first Bush administration.

    Meaning: if you’re reduced to quoting the support of Harlan Ellison, you’re one step removed from quoting the support of the homeless guy down on Olympic who smells like pee and yells at clouds.

    • brenkilco

      It’s not just that he’s an egocentric curmudgeon. It’s that he gets such a kick out of being an egocentric curmudgeon. He sort of makes being an asshole an art.

    • Brian Bouton

      But he’s a homeless guy who LOVES Jiminy Cricket dressed as Zorro.

  • George Prager

    I’m sure the movie is dogshit, but if you read interviews with the composers, Travers had her head firmly up her ass:
    “She didn’t care about our feelings, how she chopped us apart,” Mr. Sherman said with a shudder. Travers wasn’t just sharp-tongued, he added; she also misunderstood the meaning of original score. Often after they’d finish singing her a song, she would scoff at their labors and
    then suggest replacements like vaudeville classics. “She said, ‘I rather fancy ‘Ta-ra-ra Boom-de-ay,’ ” said Mr. Sherman, still able to summon up his exasperation with the author. “What?”

    Seriously, who gives a shit what she thought of the movie? Who the fuck has ever read the book?

    • Perfect Tommy

      I read the book to my kids. The movie is much better.

  • Brian Bouton

    Pictured below is Travers at gunpoint attending the premiere of the movie with Disney and Andrews after they pulled her bound and gagged out of the trunk.

    Who am I to question the great Harlan Ellison, who was allegedly fired from the studio by Roy Disney for joking about making a pornographic animated film with the characters which possibly led to him holding a slight grudge?

    According to Valerie Lawson’s “Mary Poppins, She Wrote,” Travers was terribly bitter over the film version and the studio’s treatment as evidenced by this episode…

    “… Walt Disney Television, which wanted to produce thirteen episodes of a (Mary Poppins) TV series … Early in 1984, the company offered her $86,000 for an initial six one-hour TV episodes. If Disney went ahead and made thirteen episodes, as planned, her share for the rights and consulting fees would be consulting fees would be close to $200,000. In February Ed Self, from Walt Disney Television in the United States, called on Pamela. SHE AGREED [bold mine] (to the TV deal) and they celebrated with a couple of Jack Daniels. Next month, he told her that he wanted her to collaborate on the TV series with Max Shulman, a novelist and screenwriter who wrote Rally Round the Flags Boys! , The Tender Trap , House Calls and the Dobie Gillis TV series .”

    I guess allowing Disney to produce a Mary Poppins television show was her way of holding a grudge. And of course, she also was trying to work up a Broadway version of the story that was reported to have movie numbers as part of the production.

  • JoeS

    I had no idea that everybody on Hollywood Elsewhere has led perfect lives where they never entered into an agreement, business contract, or relationship with someone that they later regretted. Must be nice always having 20-20 hindsight and ripping on a successful author no longer with us.

    • pretto

      No worse than ripping on a successful artist/producer/entrepreneur who is also no longer with us.

  • hupto

    I love Harlan, but he’s way off-base here. Disney comes off like a shrewd, manipulative tycoon who’s not above using his own children to get what he wants. It’s the genius of Hanks that he makes everyone believe he’s jes’ plain ol’ folksy Uncle Walt–including Harlan. And his defense of Travers is absurd–everyone agrees she was far, far worse in real life than as depicted in the film. He also misinterprets the ending. But hey, the fact that no less than Richard Sherman attests to the authenticity of the script is of no consequence here, because Harlan knows what he knows.

    I smell an axe grinding in the next room.

  • CBJ

    “Saving Mr. Banks” is a corporate movie about the founder of said corporation. Stunned this film isn’t hard-hitting journalism at its finest. My only surprise is that anyone’s surprised.