Peter pan the boy who never grew up who charms wendy and her brothers to fly with him to never never land. On this island of dreams and magic they struggle to rescue the lost boys from captain hook and his band of pirates ... more »encountering along the way the delightful fairy tinkerbell a crocodile and indians. Studio: Kino International Release Date: 11/23/1999 Starring: Betty Bronson Virginia Browne Faire Run time: 102 minutes Rating: Nr« less
"I watched the Kino DVD of PETER PAN last night and was delighted to have this most charming of silent films finally available in a quality video release.The picture quality, which was subtly tinted, will disappoint no one, although it looked more like a really good 16mm print than a 35mm to me. Perhaps I'm spoiled because I've never seen the film in any gauge but 35mm. A great deal of the magic in PETER PAN was supplied by cinematographer James Wong Howe. Scenes that could have been foolish in other hands became enchantment in his.Phil Carli's score works perfectly: It had that "turn of the century, concert in the park on Sunday afternoon" feel to it. It wouldn't have worked with many silent films, but for PETER PAN it was marvelous------a tribute to Carli's ability to match a narrative theme with it's programmatic musical compliment.PETER PAN is filled with magical touches that never seem to go too far or become foolish. Peter's heart to heart talk with the crocodile when they conspire to "get" Captain Hook was one of my favorites, as were the mermaids on the beach. The only point that has ever bothered me is at the end when Peter actually stabs and kills two of the pirates. Somehow I thought this was out of place and brought too much realism to a light hearted fairy tale. But this is very minor nit-picking of an otherwise flawless silent film.The "value ads" are production stills from the film along with a poster and lobby card. There are also interviews with Esther Ralston (one video and three audio), who plays Mrs. Darling. The things she has to say about Louis B. Mayer are more than just interesting.A title card at the very beginning tells the audience that the acting may seem whimsical to an adult but that "all the characters are seen with a child's outlook on life.....even to the adults in the story. Pull the beard on a pirate and you would find the face of a child." So for 102 minutes, clap your hands and pretend you believe in fairies.Jay F."
Jay Fenton | 09/05/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Paramount's 1924 production was a major film in its day, an epic and a hit. Although James Barrie had written extensive screen treatments (totally new Peter Pan material now lost, apparently), for this film, none of it was used by the studio.
However, Barrie retained casting approval, even after a massive search for the woman to play Peter. Nevertheless, the creator's presence and imprimatur proved to be good fortune for the studio. This 1999 dvd of a restoration of the film is important, although I believe it deserves a better overall presentation for us today. The story is an adaptation of the little fairy play we're all familiar with. Though stiffly directed by the temperamental Herbert Brenon, the story takes its own time and was filmed on a stage. The picture looks fine, and the orchestral score composed for this release shows affection for the material. The special effects are often simple, ingenious, and charming. However, it includes a real pirate ship in open water and mermaids on an island shore. George Ali's performance as Nana and the crocodile are almost worth the price of the disc; if you see it, you'll know what I mean. The special features of the disc, goodies we've all come to enjoy, are the bargain basement variety here. There is a fine essay on screen describing the film's background. But the feature of Esther Ralston's remembrances (she played Mrs. Darling) doesn't work on my disc. Selecting it stops the disc. Cold. The feature of production stills is adequate but incomplete. Perusing other books on the subject and the silent film era reveals many more production and publicity stills than are on the disc, including a theater lobby photo of Michael Darling (7 year old Philippe de Lacy) standing up bare in the bathtub while Nana, with cloth in paw,washes him. The adaptation also includes many of the traditional errors relating to Peter Pan, for example, Peter (Betty Bronson) crows like a rooster, but in the real story Peter doesn't do that, that is, his "crowing" means that he's bragging and strutting around; and it's not Never Never Land, it's the Neverland. At the end, after some patriotic American sloganeering, the Lost Boys fly off in the Jolly Roger and raise the Star and Stripes. The meeting between Peter and Wendy is described in the essay as "fey", and that's accurate. One of the things they got right was how unapproachable Peter is. Both Wendy and Tiger Lilly (played by Anna Mae Wong) want Peter as a husband. Well, boyfriend. All Peter wants is a mother. There's always been a problem understanding Peter Pan. There've been Freudian and Jungian interpretations, such as, Hook is Peter's father and Peter represents the collective myth of eternal youth. I see Peter as representing the Green Man myth. Barrie, from Scotland, would've known this Celtic myth. The Green Man wears a mask of leaves, comes in the Spring, and often takes a consort, the Spring or Flower Maiden, back to the forest. Peter Pan wears only leaves, comes in the Spring, and takes Wendy to Neverland. The Green Man is a symbol of new or reborn life after Winter, and Peter states he is like the little bird just hatched. There is Spring in Neverland whenever Peter's in residence. Peter has almost always been played by a woman in professional, commercial productions (there have been a few men who've done it). Even the famous statue in Kensington Gardens, which Barrie deplored because it doesn't "show the Devil in Peter", was modeled by a girl in a dress. There is a new film opening this December 25, based more on the novel, that has a young boy, 13 year old Jeremy Sumpter, in the role. A little revolution, now and then, is a good thing. Contrary to the publicity, though, he's not the first boy to play Peter Pan in a professional production. That would be the famous child star, Freddy Bartholomew, in a radio play in 1936. Given Bartholomew's precise, educated British treble, that show would've been charming to hear. It's a pity it is lost to the ether. Curiously, almost every major production has claimed to follow Barrie's intentions, but none, including this famous film from 1924, ever has. Like with productions of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, the grown ups or censors squash the fun or alter the characters. They can't help themselves. But I've read of people, including Walt Disney, who recalled seeing this film in 1924 and always had fond memories of it. It opened Christmas morning; just imagine what a treat for the children then! Despite its flaws and the disc's faults, this is an important film of the silent era, and is fun to watch. I recommend it to anyone who has an interest in the history of cinema or even Peter Pan. I know Peter would love it; he loves any story about himself."
The unsung masterpiece
axel david tilche | france | 02/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This film is the unsung masterpiece of cinema, along with Harold Lloyd's KID BROTHER and a couple of others. Enchanting and ravishing in the most deepest meaning of these words. Though I cry easily, this one got me crying all along - tears of joy. And there are no words to describe that kind of tears. Kino's edition is a must and it should be in every collection. It would even be better if this film was to be the first element of a new collection - it has everything to make you want to see more things like this. But I believe it's one of a kind."
An Adorable Peter Pan
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 01/21/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I know that Betty Bronson is playing a boy in this film, but she is still as beautiful a silent actress as I have seen. It's a wonder that she did not really go on to greater things. All the more reason then to enjoy her performance in this film. It is delighful, subtle and strangely sexy especially with regard to her somewhat reluctant romance with Wendy. One has to accept from the beginning the conventions of this film. It is theatrical and thus a dog is obviously a man in a costume, a crododile is obviously fake etc. That is not to say however, that the special effects are primitive. The scenes of Peter and the children flying are as realistic as anything done with 'blue screen.' It is worthy of note that J.M. Barrie did not much care for this adaptation of his work. It is hard to see why, but perhaps one can conjecture that he did not much care for some of the added americanisms. Maybe he had a point. It does seem a little strange to see the lost boys running up the Stars and Stripes on the pirate flag pole. Nothing against Old Glory of course, but it's rather like seeing the Union Jack run up a flag pole in Little Women. Still this is a very minor point. Whatever Barrie may have thought, this is clearly the best adaptation of his play on film. The print, on the DVD, is as good as any silent film I have seen, it is clear and tinted in a subtle manner. The score is amusing and fits in well with the action. The DVD extras are welcome, especially a large photo gallery mainly featuring Bronson. In conclusion I would say that this is one of the very best silent films I have seen. It is hard to imagine that it could dissapoint silent film fans."
Katie | Spanaway, WA United States | 01/08/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I recently bought this movie because I'm a huge fan of Peter Pan and I was curious to see this 20s rendition of the lovely story. Though I wasn't expecting much, it was very accurate to the story. A very good movie, but I was a little disappointed at how they made the Darling children into patriotic Americans. Sure that would have been fine had they really been American..but no... Yeah the patriotism was borderline cheesy. But I guess we can't win all the time. If you can get past that, it's an amazing movie. Betty Bronson did a good job at the boy who never grows up, very cute. I'd recommend it for anyone who likes Peter Pan or old movies (or both for that matter)."