‘That Corner of the Disney Studios that is Forever England’: Disney’s Vision of the British Family

Brown, Noel (2019) ‘That Corner of the Disney Studios that is Forever England’: Disney’s Vision of the British Family. In: Discussing Disney. John Libbey Publishing, New Barnet, pp. 73-90. ISBN 978-0-86196-962-3

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Between 1950 and 1978, Disney filmed fifteen of its live-action productions in Britain, initially as a means of circumventing trade restrictions implemented by the post-war Labour government. Early films of this type, such as The Story of Robin Hood (1952) and Rob Roy, the Highland Rogue (1953), were comparatively straightforward adventure stories, privileging rugged individualism within a pastoral setting. Disney’s British films of the 1960s and 1970s were altogether different, bringing home and family to the forefront of their fictional representations. This chapter focuses specifically on three of Disney’s live-action films of the 1960s and 1970s which centre on the British nuclear family unit: Mary Poppins (1964), Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971), and Candleshoe (1977). These films are nostalgic period pieces in which the central family is seen to be endangered by malign external forces, before finally being reconstructed in the final act. Each film has at its heart a central dynamic in which a failing and incomplete family is healed and completed by the interventions of an outsider. In Mary Poppins, it is Julie Andrews’s ‘practically perfect’ eponymous nanny; in Bedknobs and Broomsticks, the reformed shyster Emelius Browne; and in Candleshoe, Jodie Foster’s teenage delinquent, transposed to an archetypal English manor house.

Item Type: Book Section
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Creative and Performing Arts
Depositing User: Noel Brown
Date Deposited: 05 Dec 2019 16:18
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2019 12:57
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2958

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