Jane Victoria Winifred Banks is a character from the 1964 film, Mary Poppins. She was portrayed by Karen Dotrice.
Jane is the daughter of George Banks and Winifred Banks. Her age isn't given, but based on appearance, she appears to be the oldest child. On one hand, she can be kind, friendly, and caring. On the other hand, it is implied that she, along with her brother, can be very mischievous. By the time of the film's opening, they had gone through 6 nannies in the past 4 months. She and her brother try to please their father (whom they address as simply "Father" throughout the film), but have often failed, leading to some insecurity.
Role in the film
At the beginning of the film, the current nanny, Katie Nanna, had quit due to the children's rampant misbehavior. The children had gone missing, having run away from Katie Nanna for the fourth time that week. Later, Constable Jones brings them home, revealing that the children had not run away, but had merely lost track of Katie Nanna while having trouble with their kite. Jane notes that the kite wasn't very good, as they had made it themselves. Jane and Michael are then sent upstairs.
Later, Jane and Michael approach their father with an advertisement for a new nanny to replace Katie Nanna. Their adverstisement calls for a fun, caring nanny. It also hints at the pranks they had played on former nannies. However, Mr. Banks dismisses the advertisement as ridiculous, and after tearing it up, he throws it in the fireplace. The next morning, Jane and Michael are watching the line of nanny applicants, whom appear to be the exact opposite of the kind they wanted. However, they watch in amazement as a sudden wind blows them all away. Then, a person who fits their advertisement comes to the home.
Later, the woman meets the children, and amazes them with her bottomless carpet bag. She then measures the children with her tape measure. Instead of numbers, the tape measure reveals something about the person. For Jane, it says that she is "rather inclined to giggle and doesn't put things away." The woman then allows herself to be measured, and reveals her name as Mary Poppins, which Jane notes as being lovely.
Next, Mary Poppins plays a game with them, which turns out to be cleaning the nursery with the use of magic. Jane is able to snap her fingers and toys put away themselves. Afterwards, Jane accompanies Mary and her brother on an outing. On the way, they meet Mary's friend Bert. Bert laughs when they say they are going to the park. Bert is able to trick Mary into transporting them into one of his pictures, which depicts the English countryside. Jane and Michael play at a fair for a time, while Mary and Bert take a stroll.
Later, they meet at Mary's private carousel. Jane is amazed at the idea of a private carousel, and is even more so when the horses jump off. Jane accompanies the rest of the group on a ride. She later witnesses Mary Poppins effortlessly witness a horse race, and learns about her special word, Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. However, the outing is cut short when it begins to rain. Back home, Jane is forced to take medicine to prevent a cold, and is surprised when it changes flavor to become a lime cordial for her. Though they try to discuss the day's events with Mary Poppins when the two are about to fall asleep, she sternly denies it.
The next day, Jane accompanies Mary Poppins to see about Mary's Uncle Albert, who has floated into the air due to too much laughing. Bert is there as well, and is eventually stricken with the "disease" as are Jane and her brother. They have a good time, even having tea while floating thanks to Mary's magic. However, everyone sinks to the ground due to sadness at having to leave to go home. at home, Jane and Michael tell their father of their adventures, which worries and angers Mr. Banks. He sends them up to the nursery as usual, and then decides to try to fire Mary Poppins, but is prevented by Mary planting an idea into his head to take the children on an outing to the bank.
The next morning, Jane goes with her father and brother to the bank as "proposed". They are confused and frightened by the descriptions of finance, and simply want to use their money to feed birds at the old cathedral. When Michael's money is taken by Mr. Dawes Sr, the children unknowingly cause chaos. Frightened they escape, and eventually run into Bert. They tell Bert that they believe their father hates them. Bert helps Jane and Michael to understand that their father is simply trapped in a cage due to his responsibilities, and has no one to turn to but himself, hence his strict and uncaring attitude towards the family.
At home, Bert is employed by Mrs. Banks to watch the Jane and Michael as it is Mary Poppins's day off. Jane and Michael assist Bert in cleaning the chimney, but gets drawn up the Chimney after her brother, just as Mary Poppins warns them of the danger. Mary and Bert come after them and decide to lead an exploration of the rooftops. They meet Bert's chimney sweep friends, and have a party, which ends up in the living room of the Banks' home. After Bert and the chimney sweeps leave, it is revealed that Mr. Banks is due to be fired because of the events at the bank. To try to fix things, Jane and Michael give their father the tuppence that had caused the incident.
The next morning, Jane and Michael are saddened as Mary Poppins is preparing to leave. They are called by their father, though they think it's not him initially due to the voice being so happy. Going downstairs, Jane and Michael find that their father has had a change of heart, and has fixed their broken kite. Mr. Banks takes the entire family kite flying, symbolizing his intent to become a more involved father and husband.