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Tom Hanks ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ Hits Latest Trend: Films About Films

Tom Hanks will play Walt Disney in a film about the making of 1964 classic Mary Poppins.

Tom Hanks will play Walt Disney (inset) in a film about the making of 1964 classic Mary Poppins.

Tom Hanks’s latest film “Saving Mr. Banks,” is featured in a new trailer, but the real star of the picture is Disney’s classic 1964 movie “Mary Poppins.” This is another picture in a recent Hollywood trend of films about films. Has tinseltown become totally infatuated with itself?

Or is this a sign that the movie business has become so risk averse that the safest movies to make are about other hit movies?

Either way it seems like another nail in the coffin of Hollywood creativity.

Hanks plays the master himself, Walt Disney, but the film actually centers on Australian author P. L. Travers, (Emma Thompson) who wrote the book by the same name.

It begins with her childhood in Queensland, Australia, leading up to negotiations with Disney to make the movie, which starred Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, David Tomlinson and Glynis Johns.

A Scene From the 1964 Film

The film was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won five, including Best Actress in a Leading Role for Andrews. The others were for best song, editing, visual effects and original score. Now some loopier reports, like the HuffingtonPost’s, are hyping Hanks for an Oscar.

But this looks more like another Hanks stinker along the lines of 2004’s “The Ladykillers.”

It’s hard to see how there will be much action in the film, or much controversy, unless it focuses on Van Dyke’s drunkenness, which seems unlikely. His cockney accent in “Poppins” is considered the worst in film history, although it seemed endearing at the time.

Aside from that, this is part of the unimaginative film-about-a-film trend, which shouldn’t be mistaken for films about film-making like 2011’s “The Artist” or about Hollywood, like 1950 classic “Sunset Boulevard.”

This is about films about films, like last year’s release “Hitchcock,” a biographical comedy-drama that centers on film director Alfred Hitchcock’s making of the classic horror movie “Psycho.”

Before that it was the 2011 film “My Week With Marilyn,” a story about one of sex siren Marilyn Monroe’s romantic interludes during the making of the 1957 film “The Prince and the Showgirl.”

Upcoming is the biopic “Lovelace.” Amanda Seyfried plays adult film star Linda Loveace, but the movie centers on the making of the ’70s porn classic “Deep Throat,” which revolutionized adult film-making and moved it closer to the mainstream.

After high-risk bombs like Disney’s “John Carter” and “The Lone Ranger” maybe it’s decided it needs to seek some shelter in safer fare. It’s counting on “Saving Mr. Banks” to hit a homerun during the crucial Christmas holiday season. It’s set for release on Dec. 25.

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