Peter Pan (1953 film)

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Peter Pan
PeterpanRKO.jpg
Original release poster
Directed byClyde Geronimi
Wilfred Jackson
Hamilton Luske
Produced byWalt Disney
Screenplay byMilt Banta
William Cottrell
Winston Hibler
Bill Peet
Erdman Penner
Joe Rinaldi
Ted Sears
Ralph Wright
Story byJ. M. Barrie (Play)
Narrated byTom Conway
StarringBobby Driscoll
Kathryn Beaumont
Hans Conried
Paul Collins
Tommy Luske
Music byOliver Wallace (score); Sammy Fain and Frank Churchill (music); Sammy Cahn, Ed Penner, Winston Hibler, and Ted Sears (words)
StudioWalt Disney Productions
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • February 5, 1953 (1953-02-05)
Running time76 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4 million[1]
Box office$87,404,651[1]
 
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Peter Pan
PeterpanRKO.jpg
Original release poster
Directed byClyde Geronimi
Wilfred Jackson
Hamilton Luske
Produced byWalt Disney
Screenplay byMilt Banta
William Cottrell
Winston Hibler
Bill Peet
Erdman Penner
Joe Rinaldi
Ted Sears
Ralph Wright
Story byJ. M. Barrie (Play)
Narrated byTom Conway
StarringBobby Driscoll
Kathryn Beaumont
Hans Conried
Paul Collins
Tommy Luske
Music byOliver Wallace (score); Sammy Fain and Frank Churchill (music); Sammy Cahn, Ed Penner, Winston Hibler, and Ted Sears (words)
StudioWalt Disney Productions
Distributed byRKO Radio Pictures
Release dates
  • February 5, 1953 (1953-02-05)
Running time76 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$4 million[1]
Box office$87,404,651[1]

Peter Pan is a 1953 American animated fantasy-adventure film produced by Walt Disney and based on the play Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up by J. M. Barrie. It is the 14th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and was originally released on February 5, 1953 by RKO Pictures. Peter Pan is the final Disney animated feature released through RKO before Walt Disney's founding of his own distribution company, Buena Vista Distribution, later in 1953 after the film was released. Peter Pan is also the final Disney film in which all nine members of Disney's Nine Old Men worked together as directing animators. It is also the second Disney animated film starring Kathryn Beaumont, Heather Angel, and Bill Thompson after their roles in the animated feature Alice in Wonderland.

The film was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival.[2] A sequel titled Return to Never Land was released in 2002, and a series of direct-to-DVD prequels focusing on Tinker Bell began in 2008.

Plot

As the narrator tells the viewing audience, the action about to take place "has happened before, and will all happen again", only now it will happen in Edwardian London, in the neighborhood of Bloomsbury, where George and Mary Darling's preparations to attend a party are disrupted by the antics of the boys, John and Michael, acting out a story about Peter Pan and the pirates, which was told to them by their older sister, Wendy. Their father, who is fed up with the stories that have made his children less practical, angrily declares that Wendy has gotten too old to continue staying in the nursery with them, and it's time for her to grow up and have a room of her own. That night, they are visited in the nursery by Peter Pan himself, who teaches them to fly with the help of his pixie friend, Tinker Bell, and takes them with him to the island of Never Land.

A ship of pirates is anchored off Never Land, commanded by Captain Hook with his sidekick, Mr. Smee. Hook boldly plots to take revenge upon Peter Pan for cutting off his hand, but he trembles when the crocodile that ate it arrives; it now stalks him, hoping to taste more. Hook also forms a plan to find Peter's hideout using the knowledge of Tiger Lily. The crew's restlessness is interrupted by the arrival of Peter and the Darlings. The children easily evade them, and, despite a trick by jealous Tinker Bell to have Wendy killed, they meet up with the Lost Boys: six lads in animal-costume pajamas, who look to Peter as their leader. Tinker Bell's treachery is soon found out, and Peter banishes her "forever" (though she is eventually forgiven). John and Michael set off with the Lost Boys to find the island's Indians, who instead capture them, believing them to be the ones responsible for taking the chief's daughter, Tiger Lily. Big Chief, the Indian chieftain and Tiger Lily's father, warns them that if Tiger Lily is not back by sunset, the Lost Boys (along with John and Michael) will be burned at the stake.

Meanwhile, Peter takes Wendy to see the mermaids. Wendy is considering leaving when the mermaids try to drown her, but things change when the mermaids flee in terror at the sight of Hook. Peter and Wendy (who quickly spy on Hook) see that he and Smee have captured Tiger Lily, so that they might coerce her into revealing Peter's hideout. Peter and Wendy free her, and Peter is honored by the tribe. Hook then plots to take advantage of Tinker Bell's jealousy of Wendy, tricking her into revealing the location of Peter's lair. However, his plan to kill Peter becomes a bit compromised when Tinker Bell makes him promise "not to lay a finger, or a hook, on Peter Pan". He agrees, and then locks Tinker Bell in a lantern as a makeshift jail cell. Wendy and her brothers eventually grow homesick and plan to return home. They invite Peter and the Lost Boys to return to London and be adopted by the Darling parents. The Lost Boys agree, but Peter is so set against growing up that he refuses, presumptuously assuming that all of them will return shortly. The pirates lie in wait and capture the Lost Boys and the Darlings as they exit, leaving behind a time bomb to kill Peter. Tinker Bell learns of the plot just in time to snatch the bomb from Peter as it explodes.

Peter rescues Tinker Bell from the rubble and together they confront the pirates, releasing the children before they can be forced to walk the plank. Peter engages Hook in single combat as the children fight off the crew, and finally succeeds in humiliating the captain. Hook and his crew flee, with the crocodile in hot pursuit. Peter gallantly commandeers the deserted ship, and with the aid of Tinker Bell's pixie dust, flies it to London with the children aboard. However, the Lost Boys decide to return to Never Land rather than be adopted in London.

Mr. and Mrs. Darling return home from the party to find Wendy not in her bed, but sleeping at the open window; John and Michael are asleep in their beds. The parents have no idea that the children have even been anywhere. Wendy wakes and excitedly tells about their adventures. The parents look out the window and see what appears to be a pirate ship in the clouds. Mr. Darling, who has softened his position about Wendy staying in the nursery, recognizes it from his own childhood, as it breaks up into clouds itself.

Production

Peter Pan was one of Walt Disney's favorite stories and in 1935 he intended for Peter Pan to be his second film after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.[3] However he could not get the rights until four years later, after he came to an arrangement with Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, to whom Barrie had bequeathed the rights to the play.[4] The studio started the story development and character designs in the late 1930s and early 1940s, and intended it to be his fourth film, after Snow White, Bambi and Pinocchio (Bambi was later put on hold for a short while for technical difficulties and ended up being his fifth film while Pinocchio became his second film).[5]

During this time Disney explored many possibilities of how the story could be interpreted. In the earliest version of the story, the film started by telling Peter Pan's back story. But on May 20, 1940 during a story meeting Disney said "We ought to get right into the story itself, where Peter Pan comes to the house to get his shadow. That's were the story picks up. How Peter came to be is really another story."[3] Walt also explored opening the film in Neverland and Peter Pan coming to Wendy's house to kidnap her as a mother for the Lost Boys. Eventually, Disney decided that the kidnapping was too dark and went back to Barrie's original play where Peter comes to get his shadow and Wendy is eager to see Neverland.[3] The scene in the nursery went through many alterations. For instance in one version it was Mrs. Darling who found Peter Pan's shadow and showed it to Mr. Darling as in the original play.[3] In another version of the film, Nana went to Neverland with Pan and the Darling children, and the story was told through her eyes.[3] In other interpretations of the story John Darling was left behind for being too serious, practical and boring. The film also included Wendy taking her "Peter Pan Picture Book" and Peter and the children eating an "Imaginary Dinner".[3] At one point there was a party in Peter's hideout where Tinker Bell got humiliated and in her rage went and deliberately told Captain Hook the location of Peter Pan's hideout at her own free will. However, Walt felt that this was against Tinker Bell's character and that she had "gone too far" and changed it to Captain Hook kidnapping and persuading Tinker Bell to tell him. There is a point in Barrie's play where Captain Hook puts poison in Peter's dose of medicine and Tinker Bell saves Peter by drinking the poison herself only to be revived by the applause by the theater audience. After much debate Disney discarded this fearing it would be difficult to achieve in a film.[3] In earlier scripts there were more scenes involving the Pirates and the Mermaids that were similar to what Disney had previously done with the "Seven Dwarfs" in Snow White. Ultimately these scenes were cut for pacing reasons.[6] The film was also a little bit darker at one point since there were scenes involving Captain Hook being killed by the crocodile, the Darling family mourning over their lost children, and Pan and the children discovering the pirates' treasure which is loaded with booby traps.[3]

Then on December 7, 1941, the United States joined the Second World War after Pearl Harbor was attacked. The following day the U.S military took control of the studio and commissioned them to produce war propaganda films. They also forced Peter Pan as well as Alice in Wonderland, Wind in the Willows, Song of the South, Mickey and the Beanstalk and Bongo, among others, to be put on hold. After the war ended in 1945, the studio was in debt and they could only produce package films to support themselves. It was not until 1947, as the studio's financial health started to improve again, that the actual production of Peter Pan commenced, even though Roy O. Disney did not think that Peter Pan would have much box office appeal.

Rumor has it that Tinker Bell's design was based on Marilyn Monroe, but in reality her design was based on Tinker Bell's live-action reference model, Margaret Kerry. Margaret Kerry posed for reference film shots on a sound stage; the footage was later used by supervising Tinker Bell animator Marc Davis and his team when they drew the character. Kerry also provided the voice of the redheaded mermaid in the film.

Like Kerry, Bobby Driscoll was both the live-action reference model, mainly used for the close-up scenes, and the voice actor for Peter Pan. Peter's flying and action reference shots, however, were provided by dancer and choreographer Roland Dupree. In an interview, she said she had to hold out her arms and pretend to fly for all the scenes requiring it. Kathryn Beaumont, the voice of Wendy, eldest of the Darling children, also performed for the live-action reference footage. Similarly, Hans Conried, the voice of both Captain Hook and Mr. Darling, also performed the live-action reference footage for those characters (it was one of the few elements left over from the play, that Hook and Mr. Darling were played by the same actor). In contrast to rotoscoping the animators did not merely trace the live-action footage, for this would make the animation look stiff and unnatural. Instead the animators used it as a guide for animating by studying the human movement in the situation required. For example: "How far does the head turn when a character looks over his shoulder?"[7] Milt Kahl the supervising animator of Peter Pan and The Darling Children, claimed that the hardest thing to animate was a character floating in mid air.[4]

Cast and characters

Crew

The movie was adapted by Milt Banta, William Cottrell, Winston Hibler, Bill Peet, Erdman Penner, Joe Rinaldi, Ted Sears, and Ralph Wright from the play and novel Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie. The film was directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, and Hamilton Luske.

Music

The incidental music score for the movie is composed by Oliver Wallace.

Music releases

Marketing

In 1990, when Disney announced that it would release Peter Pan on video, it had a promotional tie in with RJR Nabisco.[11]

Reception

Peter Pan was praised most critics during its initial release.[12] As of 2013, the reviews have remained mostly positive with a 75% "fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[13] The New York Times gave the film a mixed review, praising the animation itself, but also declaring that the film was not really true to the spirit of the original Barrie play.[14] However Time Magazine gave the film a highly favorable review, making no reference to the changes from the original play.[15] Alternately the controversies over the differences between the play and the film were short lived and Peter Pan is today considered one of Disney's animated classics.

Michael Jackson cited Peter Pan as his favorite movie of all time, from which he derived the name for his estate Neverland Ranch in Santa Barbara, where he had a private amusement park. Ronald D. Moore, one of the executive producers of the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica, has cited this film as the inspiration for the series' theme of the cyclical nature of time, using the film's opening line, "All of this has happened before and it will all happen again," as a key tenet of the culture's scripture.

American Film Institute Lists

Racial stereotyping of Native Americans

Although loved by families for decades, Peter Pan has been seen as politically incorrect in recent years due to the way Disney portrayed the Native American "Indians" in the film.[19][20] They are stereotypical and considered by some to be offensive. They are displayed as wild, savage, violent and speak in a stereotypical way. The characters often call them savages and at one point Captain Hook refers to them as "redskins". John, Michael and the Lost Boys go hunting them like animals (the Lost Boys mention lions and bears as other alternatives). The "What Made the Red Man Red?" song is highly controversial because the Indians themselves are reflecting on how they got the colour of skin; that Indian men maintain a permanent blush due to their constant pursuit of Indian women, and that asking "How?" is a major catalyst for Indian education.[9] These stereotypes are present in J. M. Barrie's play and many films of the time (mainly Westerns and cartoons). Marc Davis, one of the supervising animators of the film said in an interview years after the production that "I'm not sure we would have done the Indians if we were making this movie now. And if we had we wouldn't do them the way we did back then."[21]

Release and later history

Peter Pan was first released in theaters on February 5, 1953. The film was a commercial success and was also the highest-grossing film of 1953. In 1955, it was reported that the film had earned $7 million against its budget of $4 million.[12] Due to its success Peter Pan was re-released theatrically in 1958, 1969, 1976, 1982, and 1989. The film also had a special limited re-release at the Philadelphia Film Festival in 2003. It also played a limited engagement in select Cinemark Theatres from February 16–18, 2013.[22] The movie has earned a lifetime gross of $87,404,651.[1]

Home video release

Peter Pan was first released on VHS in 1990. A THX 45th anniversary limited edition of the film was then released on March 3, 1998 as part of the Walt Disney Masterpiece Collection. The first DVD release of Peter Pan was November 23, 1999 as a Walt Disney Limited Issues. Peter Pan had its first release on a special edition DVD in 2002 to promote the sequel, Return to Neverland. In 2007, Disney released a 2-disc Platinum Edition DVD of the film. A Blu-Ray Diamond Edition of film was released on February 5, 2013 to celebrate the movie's 60th anniversary.[23][24] A DVD and digital copy of the Diamond Edition was released on August 20, 2013.[25]

Media and merchandise

Promotional film

The same year as the film was released Walt Disney produced a promotional film entitled The Peter Pan Story and it was shown on Television.[26]

Disney Fairies

Disney Fairies is a series of children's books published by Random House, which features Tinker Bell and her friends. It also has a film series starting in 2008 with the self-titled film about Tinker Bell.

Theme parks

Cast Member as Peter Pan in Disneyland Paris.

Peter Pan’s Flight is a popular ride found at Disneyland,[27] Walt Disney World,[28] Disneyland Paris and Tokyo Disneyland.[29] Peter Pan, Wendy, Captain Hook and Mr. Smee make appearances in the parades, as well as greetings throughout the theme parks.

Ice shows

Video games

Neverland is a playable world in both Kingdom Hearts and Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories, with Tinker Bell appearing as a summon. Peter Pan appears as a summon in the sequel, Kingdom Hearts II.[30] Neverland also appears as a playable world in Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days and returns as a playable world in Kingdom Hearts Birth by Sleep.

Board game

Walt Disney's Peter Pan: A Game of Adventure (1953) is a Transogram Company Inc. track board game based upon the film. The game was one of many toys that exploited the popularity of Walt Disney's post-World War II movies.[31] The object of the game is to be the first player to travel from the Darlings' house to Neverland and back to the Darlings' house.

Play begins at the Darlings' house in the upper left hand corner of the game board. Each player moves, in turn, the number of spaces along the track indicated by his spin of the dial. When a player reaches the Never Isle, he selects a character from the film (Peter, Wendy, Michael, or John) and receives the instruction card for that character. The player follows his chosen character's track on the board, obeying instructions upon the character's card. The player is also obligated to follow any instructions on those spaces he lands upon after spinning the dial during the course of his turn at play. The first player who travels from Never Land to Skull Rock and along the Stardust Trail to Captain Hook's ship, and returns to the Darlings' house is declared the winner.

The board game makes an appearance in the 1968 version of Yours, Mine and Ours as a Christmas present.

Legacy

This was Disney's first Peter Pan film. In the early 2000s a Peter Pan franchise was spawned, involving a number of other animation projects:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c "Peter Pan". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2012-01-05. 
  2. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Peter Pan". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h The Peter Pan That Almost Was-Peter Pan, 2007 DVD
  4. ^ a b You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan-Peter Pan, 2007 DVD
  5. ^ Commentary-Pinocchio 2009 DVD
  6. ^ Commentary-Peter Pan ,2007 DVD
  7. ^ Frank Thomas-You Can Fly: The Making of Peter Pan-Peter Pan, 2007 DVD
  8. ^ Peter Pan (1953) Trivia Retrieved April 24, 2013
  9. ^ a b Wainer, Alex. "Reversal of Roles: Subversion and Reaffirmation of Racial Stereotypes in Dumbo and The Jungle Book". www.regent.edu. Archived from the original on 1997-07-28. Retrieved 2012-02-10. 
  10. ^ Walt Disney Records CD#DIS609587
  11. ^ Pendleton, Jennifer. "RELEASE OF `NINJA TURTLES' WILL FUEL BUSY VIDEO-BUYING SEASON THIS FALL." Los Angeles Daily News at The Deseret News. July 22, 1990. Retrieved on September 6, 2011.
  12. ^ a b Peter Pan @ TCM Turner Classic Movies, Retrieved July 28, 2013
  13. ^ Peter Pan (1953) @ Rotten Tomatoes Retrieved April 24, 2013
  14. ^ Crowther, Bosley (1953-02-12). "THE SCREEN: DISNEY'S 'PETER PAN' BOWS; Full-Length Color Cartoon, an Adaptation of Barrie Play, Is Feature at the Roxy". The New York Times. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Cinema: The New Pictures, Feb. 2, 1953". Time. 1953-02-02. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  16. ^ AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes and Villains Nominees
  17. ^ AFI's Greatest Movie Musicals Nominees
  18. ^ AFI's 10 Top 10 Ballot
  19. ^ http://neverleavingneverland.weebly.com/racism-in-peter-pan.html
  20. ^ http://graphicdesigndegrees.org/10-disney-characters-who-stirred-up-controversy/
  21. ^ Commentary-'Peter Pan', 2007 Platinum Edition DVD
  22. ^ Cinemark Announces the Return of Favorite Disney Classic Animated Movies to the Big Screen
  23. ^ "Review: "Peter Pan" Diamond Edition Blu-ray soars with outstanding "Nine Old Men" bonus feature, gorgeous digital restoration". "Celebrating its 60th anniversary, Disney has released the timeless classic animated film “Peter Pan” onto Blu-ray for the first time with an impressive trip to Neverland given “Diamond Edition” treatment." 
  24. ^ "Peter Pan Blu-ray Review". "Pardon the nostalgic digression, but Walt Disney's fourteenth animated feature, now celebrating its 60th anniversary, has the look and whimsy of a much younger production." 
  25. ^ "Peter Pan (Two-Disc Diamond Edition Blu-ray/DVD Combo in Blu-ray Packaging) (1953)". Amazon.com (US), Amazon.com Inc. Retrieved 2013-06-12. 
  26. ^ http://disneyfilmguide.page.tl/Disney-Shorts-d--1950ies.htm
  27. ^ "Peter Pan's Flight". disneyland.disney.go.com. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  28. ^ "Peter Pan's Flight". Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  29. ^ "Peter Pan's Flight". www.tokyodisneyresort.co.jp. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  30. ^ "The Official KINGDOM HEARTS Portal Site". na.square-enix.com. Retrieved 2009-01-10. 
  31. ^ Rich, Mark. Warman's 101 Greatest Baby Boomer Toys. kp books, 2005. p. 72.

External links