"We better keep an eye on this one. She's tricky."
Arbogast1960 - wrote on 04/02/08
Unlike most Disney live action efforts from the era (e.g., Swiss Family Robinson, The Shaggy Dog, The Parent Trap), this is a truly classic film--it's neither insultingly one-dimensional nor neutered for young audiences. (This is not to say that I don't enjoy some of those other films; they just aim lower, and in some cases--I'm looking at you, Shaggy Dog--too low).
Julie Andrews got an Oscar for her film debut, no doubt partly as a consolation prize for having been overlooked by the producers of My Fair Lady, but it was a well-deserved award nonetheless. She takes a role that could so easily be insufferable and insipid and instead adds enough sarcasm and confidence to give the titular nanny depth and make her a true delight. And her singing is breathtakingly beautiful and clear, with remarkable range. Dick Van Dyke hams it up to amusing effect in multiple roles, and the supporting roles are filled out with all due absurdity. David Tomlinson is particularly good as the workaholic father, adding a poignant touch to a well-worn stock role. The songs, the animation--everything is there, and (thanks largely to its setting in early 20th century London) it still holds up after all these years.