Disney animation has always been top drawer. Peter Pan was originally done in 1953 and still is entertaining to young ones almost sixty years later. Adapted from J.M. Barrie’s play it is a memorable one for both kids and parents. I had not seen it since I was a kid and let me tell you did I discover new things watching it with my adult eyes and way of thinking.
The Darlings live on a quiet street in London. They have three children – Wendy (Kathryn Beaumont – Alice in Wonderland), John (Paul Collins – Evan Almighty, Executive Decision) and Michael (Tommy Luske). Mrs. Darling (Heather Angel – from television’s Peyton Place) believes that Peter Pan embodies eternal youth. John, Wendy and Michael believe in Peter Pan so much that they made him the hero of all of their games/stories.
Mr. Darling (Hans Conried – Horton Hears a Who!, The Hobbit – 1977), angry that the kids’ games are making him late for an important party, implores Wendy to stop filling the boys’ heads with stories that aren’t true. At the end of his rope, he then roars that Wendy is too old to be sleeping in the nursery and that Nana would no longer be the nurse.
The Darlings leave for the party with George bellowing that the children have to grow up. Wendy tells her mom to leave the window open as Peter Pan might come back because she has his shadow. Peter Pan (Bobby Driscoll – Treasure Island) and Tinkerbell arrive to look for his shadow. While Wendy is sowing the shadow back on she tells him that she will have to grow up tomorrow. Peter realizes that means no more stories so he offers to take Wendy to Neverland so she’ll never have to grow up. Michael and John wake up and join them. With the help of pixie dust from Tinkerbell Peter teaches the kids how to fly. They start off to Neverland which is the second star to the right and on until morning.
On Neverland in a lagoon, Captain Hook (Hans Conried) is obsessing about finding Peter Pan’s hideout. Captain Hook wants his revenge on Peter Pan for cutting off his hand and feeding it to a crocodile which has been following Hook around since. He will not give up until he captures the eternally young boy.
Peter Pan is a classic tale that will appeal to everyone’s inner child. The desire to stay eternally young is one that we all carry around with us throughout our lives. This is what attaches us emotionally to this particular story.
Looking at the film with my adult perspective I saw some stereotypes that frightened me a little. For instance, the way Native people and women are portrayed. The Natives are all goofy and verging on violence at the drop of a headdress. As for women they are all portrayed as jealous beings that will stop at nothing to eliminate another woman they see as competition for the man they fancy. I mean, have you ever really paid any attention to Tinkerbell’s behaviour? Atrocious!!
Another thing that hit me while rewatching Peter Pan was a wave of nostalgia. Not just for the story and the time in my life it brought back to me, but also a time in film history when animation was painstakingly and lovingly done by hand. Ah, the good old days.
- Stories from Walt’s Office: Walt & Flight
- A “Darling” Conversation with Wendy & John: Kathryn Beaumont and Paul Collins
- You Can Fly”
- “Never Smile at a Crocodile”
- Sing-along Version of the film
- Growing Up with Nine Old Men
- Deleted Song: “The Pirate’s Song”
- Deleted Song: “Never Smile at a Crocodile”
- Deleted Song: “The Boatswain Song”
- Deleted Scene: “The Journey Home”
- Deleted Scene: “Alternate Arrival”
- Disney Song Select
- “The Second Star to the Right”
- “You Can Fly”
- “A Pirate’s Life”
- “Following the Leader”
- “Your Mother and Mine”
- Audio Commentary Hosted by Roy Disney
- Music and More
- “Never Land”: The Lost Song – A bonus piece that sets up the backstory of where this lost song was found and how Richard Sherman recomposed it.
- Music Video: “Never Land” – Music Performed by Paige O’Hara – A music video of the song “Never Land”
- Music Video: “The Second Star to the Right” – Music Performed by T-Squad – A music video of the song “The Second Star to the Right” performed by T-Squad.
- Backstage Disney