"The Boys," Documentary About Songwriting Sherman Brothers, Will Get Fall DVD Release

News   "The Boys," Documentary About Songwriting Sherman Brothers, Will Get Fall DVD Release "The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story," the film documentary about the prolific, tuneful, award-winning — and contentious — collaboration of songwriting brothers Robert Sherman and Richard Sherman, will be released on DVD Nov. 30.
Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman
Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman

The Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment release is "an intimate journey through the lives of Robert and Richard Sherman, the astoundingly prolific Academy Award-winning songwriting team. While their songs [for 'Mary Poppins,' 'The Jungle Book,' 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang' and more] celebrated family entertainment and happy endings, their life together was not as harmonious. Go behind the scenes, including interviews with Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, Roy E. Disney and many more, for a fascinating glimpse into how Walt Disney used the language of music to bring the brothers together, creating a cinematic legacy like no other."

The picture had limited theatrical release in 2009.

According to studio notes, the Bonus Features include:

• Why They're "The Boys"—Through interviews with their friends and co-workers from throughout the years, learn why Bob and Richard Sherman are called "The Boys" and, in turn, why this film is called what it is called.

• Disney Studios in the '60s—Take a look at the era of the legendary studio when the Sherman Brothers were under contract and part of the life and culture of a creative playground of animators, filmmakers and producers. • Casting "Mary Poppins"—Learn how Julie Andrews got the part of Mary Poppins from the point of view of Bob and Richard and those who know them.

• The Process—Join Richard Sherman for a look at the Sherman Brothers' song writing process.

• Theme Parks—In addition to composing scores for many classic Disney movies, the Sherman Brothers also wrote many popular songs for Disney theme parks. Learn how they went about composing a song for rides such as "It's a Small World."

• Roy Williams—Roy Williams was a Disney animator who had an office right next to the Sherman Brothers. Through Roy's artwork, we learn some of the stories of what it was like to work in the Animation Building in the 1960s.

• Bob's Art—In addition to being an amazing lyricist, Bob Sherman's other passion is painting. Here he shares his inspiration.

• Celebration—A collection of testimonials from celebrities and Hollywood legends who share their experiences about the Sherman Brothers, this piece earned "The Boys" a special honor from the President of the United States.

• Sherman Brothers' Jukebox—This collection of Sherman Brothers songs — and stories behind the songs — provides a unique look into the extensive careers of Bob and Richard. Included are "Tall Paul," "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "Feed the Birds," "Gold Can Buy Anything (But Love)," "There's a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow," "Jolly Holiday" and "Oh, Gee, Georgie!" (performed by Eddie Cantor, 1924) and "Up, Down and Touch The Ground" and "A Spoonful of Sugar" (performed on the guitar by Laurence Juber), "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious," "Ugly Bug Ball" and "Der Wienerschnitzel" commercial.

The 101-minute film is rated PG.

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The brothers are currently represented on Broadway by the Disney-Cameron Mackintosh stage version of Mary Poppins, which borrows Sherman songs written for the classic 1964 movie. "Chim Chim Cher-ee," "A Spoonful of Sugar," "Feed the Birds" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" are among their songs in the film and stage show.

The Academy Award-winning writers penned songs for Broadway's Over Here! and the Broadway-aimed Busker Alley, plus such movie musicals as "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "The Jungle Book" and more.

The filmmakers "explore the brothers' peripatetic childhoods, marriages, early careers and close personal and professional relationship with pioneering filmmaker and studio chief Walt Disney to create a unique portrait of these two extremely gifted but very different artists."

"The Boys" is produced and directed by Gregory V. Sherman and Jeffrey C. Sherman — cousins, and the sons of the songwriters.

Jeffrey C. Sherman, Dick Van Dyke and Gregory V. Sherman
photo by © Disney Enterprises, Inc.

The brothers' collaboration encompasses 50 motion pictures and resulted in a catalog of more than a thousand songs for television, records, theme parks and stage. (The Sherman songbook includes "It's a Small World After All" from the popular Disneyland attraction.) They also penned songs for the films "The Aristocats," "The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh," "The Parent Trap," "Charlotte’s Web," "Tom Sawyer" and "Snoopy Come Home." They also wrote the hit song "You're Sixteen," which twice hit Billboard's Top 10; first in 1960 with Johnny Burnette, then in 1974 with Ringo Starr, when it went all the way to No. 1.

Among their honors are two Academy Awards (plus seven additional Oscar nominations), the BMI Lifetime Achievement Award, a Grammy and five Golden Globe nominations. They are members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In a 2008 ceremony at the White House, the Sherman Brothers were awarded the National Medal of Arts, the highest honor the United States government bestows on artists.

Richard M. Sherman currently resides in Beverly Hills "where he continues performing his music and writing new songs." Robert B. Sherman lives in London, "where in addition to his ongoing collaboration with his brother, he has completed an autobiography and continues his life commitment to painting."

Filmmakers Gregory V. Sherman and Jeffrey C. Sherman, the producers and directors of "The Boys," grew up within blocks of each other in Beverly Hills, but the cousins never knew each other.

"There was a 'keep out' sign posted over that part of our lives," stated Gregg, an Emmy Award-winning producer and feature film writer who is the son of Richard M. Sherman. "My family would see his family at a Sherman Brothers event, but we would never be seated at the same table or near them in the theatre. We would acknowledge that they existed, but we had no relationship with them."

Jeff, a writer, producer, director and composer for film and television and son of Robert B. Sherman, stated, "It's uncomfortable to go to a premiere and smile for the camera, and then walk to separate sides of the theatre. I got dribs and drabs of the story as time went on, but we were all told 'they have their life, we have our life and they shouldn't cross.' As adults, Gregg and I decided to break that tradition."

The two finally connected in 2002 at the London premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the stage adaptation of one of their fathers' most successful films.

Gregg stated, "We both thought we could do a wonderful tribute to our fathers if we worked together."

The cousins decided to pitch a scripted film biography about their fathers. They couldn't sell it.

With a new stage adaptation of Mary Poppins coming to Broadway, the cousins decided to record their fathers' first meeting in several years. "That was the point at which we started thinking about doing a documentary," Jeff stated. "We thought it would be interesting to film them coming from their hotel rooms to the theatre and see what happened. At the premiere, we also interviewed our fathers and some of the people from Disney who were there."

Eventually, they showed a short promo reel for the documentary to Roy E. Disney and Tom Schumacher, president of Disney Theatrical Productions. "We knew we wanted to make this at Disney, because it is so much a part of their legacy," stated Jeff. "Roy and Tom urged Dick Cook, chairman of Walt Disney Studios, to take a look at it. After he saw it, Dick turned to Gregg and me and just said, 'Let's do this.'"

"The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story" uses original interviews, archival footage and personal photographs to create full portrait of the songwriters' lives. "There have been a lot of documentaries about creative people," said Gregg. "In this case, we get to peek into the creative process. We have the footage of them working together."

Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman with Walt Disney
Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman with Walt Disney
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