Nanny McPhee

  • Directors: Kirk Jones
  • Producers: Lindsay Doran, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner
  • Writers: Screenplay, Emma Thompson, Books, Christianna Brand
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy
  • Actors: Emma Thompson, Colin Firth, Angela Lansbury, Imelda Staunton, Kelly Macdonald, Thomas Sangster, Eliza Bennett, Jennifer Rae Daykin, Holly Gibbs

Taking place in 19th century England, widower and undertaker 41-year-old Cedric Brown (Colin Firth) has seven children: 12-year-old Simon (Thomas Sangster), 10-year-old Tora (Eliza Bennett), 9-year-old Lily (Jennifer Rae Daykin), 8-year-old Eric (Raphaël Coleman), 7-year-old Sebastian (Samuel Honywood ), 5-year-old Christianna (Holly Gibbs) and 1-year-old Aggie (Hebe Barnes and Zinnia Barnes). He loves his children very much, but spends little time with them, unable to handle raising them all on his own. The children have had a series of seventeen nannies, whom they systematically drive out; it is a point of pride for them to get rid of each nanny as fast as possible. They also terrorize the cook, Mrs. Blatherwick (Imelda Staunton) but are cared for and loved by Evangeline (Kelly Macdonald), the young scullery maid.

Cedric attempts to hire another nanny from the agency that sent the past seventeen nannies, but the agency refuses him, as the children have sent the past nannies away, terrorized. Desperate to find another nanny, Cedric heeds the advice of a mysterious voice from the house, which says, “the person you need is Nanny McPhee.” After a series of mysterious events, an unusual and hideous woman named Nanny McPhee (Emma Thompson) arrives at Brown home, introducing herself as a “government nanny”. With discipline and magic, she transforms the family’s lives. In the process, she herself transforms from ugly to beautiful. The children, led by Simon, attempt to play their tricks on her, but gradually start to respect her and ask her for advice. They change into responsible people, helping their hapless father in solving the family problems, and making Nanny McPhee less and less needed. (The storyline is, at this point, very similar to Mary Poppins).

Interestingly, not all of the lessons are for the children. In addition, the last one can vary depending on interpretation.

The Elephant Man

  • Directors: David Lynch
  • Producers: Jonathan Sanger, Stuart Cornfeld, Mel Brooks
  • Writers: Screenplay, Christopher De Vore, Eric Bergren, David Lynch, Books, Sir Frederick Treves, Ashley Montagu
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History
  • Actors: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller

Frederick Treves (Anthony Hopkins), a surgeon at the London Hospital, discovers John Merrick (John Hurt) in a Victorian freak show in London’s East End, where he is managed by the brutish Bytes (Freddie Jones). Merrick is so deformed that he must wear a hood and cape when in public. Bytes further claims that his “exhibit” is an imbecile. Treves is professionally intrigued by Merrick’s condition and pays Bytes to bring him to the London Hospital so that he can examine him. He then presents a lecture to his colleagues on Merrick’s disability, dispassionately displaying him as a prize physiological curiosity. Treves draws attention to the oversized deformities of Merrick’s skull; it is his most obvious disability and (as he was so informed by Bytes) also the most life-threatening, as he is compelled to sleep sitting with his head resting upon his knees, as the weight of his skull would asphyxiate him if he were to ever lie down. On Merrick’s return, Bytes beats him so severely that a sympathetic apprentice (Dexter Fletcher) alerts Treves, who attempts to take him back to the hospital. Bytes confronts Treves, accusing him of likewise exploiting Merrick for his own ends, which leads the surgeon to resolve to do what he can to help the unfortunate man.

As the shocked mob backs away, he collapses from illness and exhaustion. Treves, consumed with guilt over Merrick’s plight, takes action against the night porter with the help of Mrs. Mothershead. When the police return Merrick to the hospital, he is reinstated to his rooms. He recovers a little but it is soon clear he is dying from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. As a treat, Mrs. Kemble arranges an evening at the musical theatre, where Merrick is accompanied by his beloved friends: Treves, Mrs Mothershead, Nurse Nora, and HRH The Princess Of Wales. Resplendent in white tie, he rises in the Royal Box to an ovation, having had the performance dedicated to him from Mrs Kemble. That night, back at the hospital, Merrick thanks Treves for all he has done and finishes his model of the nearby church. Imitating one of his sketches on the wall — a sleeping child — he removes the pillows that have allowed him to sleep in an upright position, lies down on his bed and dies, consoled by a vision of his mother.

Mary Poppins

  • Directors: Robert Stevenson
  • Producers: Walt Disney
  • Writers: Screenplay, Bill Walsh, Don DaGradi, Books, P L Travers
  • Genres: Comedy, Family, Fantasy, Musical
  • Actors: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, David Tomlinson, Glynis Johns, Hermione Baddeley, Ed Wynn

The film begins with Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews) perched on a cloud high above London in Spring 1910.[1] The action descends to earth where Bert (Dick Van Dyke), a Cockney jack-of-all-trades is performing as a one-man band at a park entrance. After the show, he breaks the “Fourth wall” and introduces the audience to the well-to-do but troubled Banks family, headed by the cold and aloof Mr. Banks (David Tomlinson) and the loving but highly distracted suffragette Mrs. Banks (Glynis Johns).

The Banks’ latest nanny, Katie Nanna, quits out of exasperation after the Banks children, Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) run off in pursuit of a wayward kite. Mr Banks returns home from his job at a bank, and Mrs Banks reveals the children are missing. A policeman arrives with the children, who ask their father to help repair their damaged kite, but he dismisses them and advertises for an authoritarian nanny-replacement. Jane and Michael draft their own advertisement asking for a fun, kind-hearted and caring person, but Mr. Banks tears up the paper and throws it in the fireplace. Unnoticed, the note’s remains float up the chimney.

The next day there is a queue of old and disagreeable nanny candidates waiting at the door. However, a strong gust of wind literally blows the queue away, and Mary Poppins floats down with her umbrella to apply. Mr. Banks is stunned to see that this calmly defiant new nanny has responded to the children’s ad despite the fact he destroyed it. As he puzzles, Mary Poppins hires herself and begins work.

Her work done, Mary Poppins takes to the air with a fond farewell from Bert.