- “Winds from the east
Mist comin' in
Like something's a brewin'
About to begin
Can't put me finger
On what lies in store
But I feel what's to 'appen
All 'appened before”
- ―Bert, realizing that Mary is coming back
Bert is a jack-of-all-trades with a Cockney accent. He never stays with one trade too long, and adapts to current conditions. He is a long time friend of Mary Poppins, though their relationship is noted to be strictly platonic (but there are hints to suggest a more romantic interest between them). He is shown to be very much at ease with her magic, and implies that she has helped numerous families using her powers.
Role in the film
Bert appears at the beginning of the film, trying to earn money as a one-man-band. After impressing the crowd with various songs, as well as impromptu poetry, he notes a change in the weather, which he notes as a sign of events to come. He then notices the viewer. After being asked, he shows the viewer the route to 17 Cherry Tree Lane, home of the Banks family. Along the way, he introduces the viewer to some of the residents, and is warned by Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle, that the Banks residence is dealing with "heavy weather". Upon arrival, he is surprised to hear loud arguing coming from the house.
Later, Bert is shown trying to earn money as a street artist. He has drawn pictures depicting his adventures with Mary Poppins. Soon, Mary appears along with the Banks children, Jane and Michael, for whom she has been employed as a nanny. They tell him that they are on their way to the park. Bert scoffs at the mundane outing, and is able to successfully goad Mary into transporting the group into one of his pictures, a depiction of the English countryside.
While Jane and Michael go to a nearby fair, Bert and Mary enjoy a stroll through the countryside, and enjoy lunch at a small cafe. They talk of their long relationship, which is shown to be platonic. Afterwards, they join the children for a ride on Mary's private carousel. At Mary's word, the horses jump off the carousel, and the group enjoys a horseback ride. Along the way, Bert notices a Fox running from hunters, and saves it by putting it onto his carousel horse. The two end up in a horse race, where they see Mary easily win it. After being asked for a word to describe herself, she tells them of her special word, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, and Bert contributes by noting that he used to say the word to save his nose from being tweaked by his father for being rude for not speaking. Soon, it begins to rain, which washes off the drawing, and the group is forced to cut the outing short. Though Mary laments the loss of the pictures, Bert notes that he intends to take advantage of the rain and change businesses by selling hot chestnuts.
Bert appears the next day, at the home of Mary's Uncle Albert, who is "suffering" from a strange sickness. Apparently he has laughed too much, and is floating in the air, unable to come down. Bert warns the children not to laugh, as the condition is contagious. However, he succumbs to it himself, and joins Uncle Albert in the air. After the children float as well, Mary allows them to enjoy tea together, by making the table float to join them. Eventually, the group floats to the ground, due to the sadness at realizing they must go home. Mary asks Bert to stay and keep an eye on Uncle Albert. He attempts to cheer him up with a joke, but fails and both of them end up sobbing.
After a disastrous outing with their father, Jane and Michael run away and become lost. They run into Bert, but do not recognize him initially, as he is covered in soot from cleaning chimneys. He helps them to understand that their father does not hate them as they fear, and takes them home. At the Banks residence, he is abruptly hired by Mrs. Banks to babysit the children, as it is Mary's day off. He cleans the chimney and allows them to watch. Mary soon returns home after enjoying her day off, and warns the children of the danger. Just as she speaks, they are drawn up the chimney onto the roof. Bert and Mary follow, and Mary leads the group on an exploration of the rooftops. They run into Bert's chimney sweep friends, and a joyous party breaks out, which eventually ends up at the Banks' home.
After Mr. Banks returns, Bert shoos off the sweeps. As he is cleaning up he talks with Mr. Banks, who confides that he feels that the bank outing was a setup by Mary, and notes that his dreams have seemingly been shattered. Bert sympathizes, but implies that Mr. Banks has focused so much on work, that he has ignored the emotional needs of his children. Bert apologizes for troubling him and leaves.
Bert is seen at the end of the film, selling kites to various bypassers learning the news that Mr. Banks has changed, the children are now close to him, and that he has gotten back his briefly lost job at the bank. He sees Mary as she is leaving, and asks her not to stay away too long.
Bert is a somewhat common character at the Disney theme parks, mostly appearing at Disneyland in California. He appears as an animatronic figure with Mary Poppins in The Great Movie Ride in a scene based on Chim Chim Cher-ee.
Mary Poppins (film) | Soundtrack | Mary Poppins (musical) | House of Mouse
Characters: Mary Poppins | Bert | George Banks | Winifred Banks | Jane Banks | Michael Banks | Penguin Waiters | Fox | Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle | Uncle Albert | Mr. Dawes Sr. | Katie Nanna | Mrs. Brill | Ellen | Mr. Dawes Jr. | Constable Jones | Bird Woman | Andrew
Songs: Chim Chim Cher-ee | Sister Suffragette | The Life I Lead | The Perfect Nanny | A Spoonful of Sugar | Jolly Holiday | Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious | Stay Awake | I Love to Laugh | Fidelity Fiduciary Bank | Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag) | Step in Time | A Man Has Dreams | Let's Go Fly a Kite | The Chimpanzoo | A British Bank