Author Topic: Screen versions of Peter Pan  (Read 16112 times)

AlexanderDavid

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Screen versions of Peter Pan
« on: March 08, 2010, 07:03:26 AM »
Sorry for another thread like this but I wanted a bit of a different focus....

Of the following screen incarnations of Peter Pan, what do you think were merits and flaws in each, and overall how would you rank them, both in terms of quality and faithfulness to Barrie?  I'm looking for detail and depth to the extent that you can provide them.

The 1924 silent film
The 1953 Disney film
The 1960 Mary Martin musical
The 1976 TV special starring Mia Farrow
The 2000 Cathy Rigby musical
The 2003 live-action film

Obviously I don't want to alienate those who may not have seen each version, but if you've seen at least three, say, you can give your opinions on those.  I've only included adaptations of Barrie's story, so movies like Hook, Return to Neverland and Finding Neverland don't count, nor does The Lost Boys.

Also, what would you like to see in a screen adaptation of Peter Pan that has not of yet been done (from Barrie's original or not)?  (Or conversely, what would you NOT like to see that they usually do?)
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 09:10:26 AM by AlexanderDavid »

TheWendybird

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2010, 01:04:08 PM »
The 1924 silent film-I just wanted to say..I've never seen this...how do I get my hands on it?


The 1953 Disney film- TOO FLUFFY!!! No depth of character. The Lost Boys talk like they have a retardation or something and I'm not sure why. Wendy doesn't seem to enjoy hardly anything about Neverland...not that I can blame her in this one because Peter acts like such a jerk allowing her to be bullied by numerous "people". Doesn't quite fit with his attitude of "It wouldn't be sufficiently respectful" etc etc..totally not the Peter we know and love. At the same time i still feel childhood nostalgia for it and it was a nice start as a child. However I'm originally from Newfoundland Canada and we have one of the Peter Pan statues in my home town and when I was little...I use to always want to visit this statue...and I always felt there was something deeper to Peter Pan than what Disney led on...which I obviously discovered when mom took me to see Hook when I was a bit older....but obviously that's not the actual story either..however it did let me know I was right..there was more to it lol

The 1960 Mary Martin musical- Too.....bright and happy and silly? Where's Neverland's dark side? Peter is too happy a character...where's the devilish killer? We just have someone who plays up the cuteness without the danger. Wendy hardly has a role in this once she's in Neverland..there isn't much to her part in the middle..I find Tiger Lilly gets more screen time than her. If I remember right I don't think the kisses are in this either which is so disappointing because I love the acorn and the thimble so much!


The 2003 live-action film - I will admit I do like the spunk Jeremy had as Peter..I know some probably won't agree...but I wish he had the british accent as he was most likely from london and probably visited london the most. But there is only one or two really mischevious scenes in this..like when he charges the Lost boys with his sword....I would have liked to have seen more of that rambunctious (Did I totally spell that wrong? lol) side....especially after seeing Where the Wild Things Are ...I feel that kind of obnoxious but cute element wasn't there as much as it should have been. That being said...when Jeremy Sumpter acted angry from time to time during the flying fight with Hook before he fell to the boat deck..he played angry pretty well and I enjoyed seeing that for once. That being said...flying Hook= gag. I loved the I do believe in faeries scene..kinda handled well considering clapping would have been odd in movie form i suppose..but I guess if done the right way it could have worked. That being said....while it's amusing some of the silly stuff stuck in there...the thing I enjoy most about it is the passionate belief of the children bringing Tink back. The storm going on I absolutely love as well. The power of innocence in the scene is just awesome. I like the look they take into Peter and Wendy's relationship..and I think everything they did with it was fine but I missed one aspect...they are a complicated duo and I wanted to see more of Peter's confusion about mother's and how Wendy fit in as a mother figure but as well as an obvious first love and how it would be hard for him to understand what the difference between the two is...I would have liked to have seen the whole Peter crying in his sleep stuff. I do feel Barrie's air in the movie but it does fall short in quite a few ways. Still it's my favorite version so far.

JAQ

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2010, 04:32:15 PM »
The 1924 silent film-I just wanted to say..I've never seen this...how do I get my hands on it?
It's available on DVD from Kino Video.
Quote
I loved the I do believe in faeries scene..kinda handled well considering clapping would have been odd in movie form i suppose..but I guess if done the right way it could have worked.
If Barrie was nervous about whether the audience would clap for Tink in a 1904 theatre, Hogan had even more reason not to count on it in a 2003 cinema.  Except maybe at the end of a big crowd-pleaser on opening weekend, it just doesn't happen.  I thought his on-screen solution was quite effective... and it was based how the scene was handled in the novel, which also earns it points.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 04:42:01 PM by JAQ »

AlexanderDavid

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 08:12:19 PM »
Thanks for your reply, Wendybird!  :D

JAQ is right--I managed to acquire a copy of the silent film on DVD, and I enjoyed it!  :)

You make good points about each version that you've seen (and don't worry, you spelled "rambunctious" right!  ;)).

Also, I'm guessing since you said nothing about it that you haven't seen the Cathy Rigby musical?  It's considerably better than Mary Martin's version.  It has the darker element to the Neverland, and I believe Wendy has a larger role (and the "kisses" ARE in this version!).

(By the way, I've heard word on wikipedia that there are plans--though no word since 2007--to make a TV movie based on the musical....  Don't know how to feel about that....)

TheWendybird

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 08:42:23 PM »
Thanks for your reply, Wendybird!  :D

JAQ is right--I managed to acquire a copy of the silent film on DVD, and I enjoyed it!  :)

You make good points about each version that you've seen (and don't worry, you spelled "rambunctious" right!  ;)).

Also, I'm guessing since you said nothing about it that you haven't seen the Cathy Rigby musical?  It's considerably better than Mary Martin's version.  It has the darker element to the Neverland, and I believe Wendy has a larger role (and the "kisses" ARE in this version!).

(By the way, I've heard word on wikipedia that there are plans--though no word since 2007--to make a TV movie based on the musical....  Don't know how to feel about that....)

Yay I spelled it right without needed a spell check haha!
I've seen a clip of "I'm Flying" on youtube with Cathy Rigby but never saw it..is it available on dvd? Do you think they took more from the original play and fleshed out the musical?

Movie musical of Peter Pan? For some reason I'm finding this hard to picture...dunno why lol

AlexanderDavid

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 08:54:15 PM »
Yay I spelled it right without needed a spell check haha!
I've seen a clip of "I'm Flying" on youtube with Cathy Rigby but never saw it..is it available on dvd? Do you think they took more from the original play and fleshed out the musical?

Movie musical of Peter Pan? For some reason I'm finding this hard to picture...dunno why lol

It is--I have it on DVD as well.  And they certainly did--no "Oh My Mysterious Lady" in Cathy Rigby.  :P  Instead there's the Mermaids' Lagoon segment, straight out of Barrie!  :D  I'm not sure what you mean by "fleshed out," though....

Well, I'm not so much finding it hard to picture as not knowing whether to be interested or dreading it....

<.<

>.>

TheWendybird

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 09:14:10 PM »
Fleshed out meaning...more developed than Mary Martin's in the characters and story rather than just flat and underdeveloped like Disneys for example.

AlexanderDavid

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2010, 11:04:06 PM »
Fleshed out meaning...more developed than Mary Martin's in the characters and story rather than just flat and underdeveloped like Disneys for example.

That I can't really tell you--I've only seen the Mary Martin version once, awhile ago, and I don't want to see it again.

I will say this, though--watching the Cathy Rigby version, I started crying way before Tink drank the poisoned medicine....
« Last Edit: March 09, 2010, 03:38:46 AM by AlexanderDavid »

Westh76

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 09:47:43 PM »
I haven't seen Mary Martin's musical, nor Mia Farrow's TV special but, of the others, I think I'd go for the silent movie for its simplicity and freshness, and because it's closer (in my view) to Barrie's original (although his own film script is better). Disney is too cutesy and makes Peter Pan an elf-like creature with pointy ears, not a boy - and introduced the awful line of 'second star to the right', taking away any imagination a child could have. I have tried to watch Cathy Rigby but had to fast forward it. Wasn't she a little too old to play a boy?? Mind you, I am prejudiced because I'm not very fond of musicals (although I have seen Bernstein's Peter Pan and enjoyed his songs)...

As for the 2003 movie, I'm with WendyBird on this - Peter with an American accent is just wrong (no offence meant!). Jason Isaacs was a great Capt Hook, even though they made him fly. I thought it tried hard, but in the end, succumbed to the temptation of adding too many farcical elements.

What I would like to see in a new screen adaptation:
- Peter played by a real boy, no older than 13 years
- no pointy ears and no robin-hood-like costume with a jaunty feathered cap
- definitely not a musical, nor a panto (you're lucky in the US to be spared that)
- Barrie's original dialogue and humour with nothing superfluous added, explained or expanded
- more of the dark side of the original story

Perhaps one day?

AlexanderDavid

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 10:46:59 PM »
I agree with you about the silent film (and that his script is better--although I felt it sagged in the middle, and went overboard elsewhere in a few places).

I don't know about that line taking away children's imaginations, but aside from taking away the ambiguity it also seems to set Neverland in space instead of on earth....

I haven't seen Bernstein's musical, how did you see it?

None taken--I'm American and I agree that Peter should sound English.  Not "overdone," necessarily, but English.  I don't quite agree about Hook, though--I feel Jason Isaacs could have done better (and I didn't want to see him fly).  Too many farcical elements is right.

Nothing superfluous, certainly, but I think a filmmaker should definitely EXPAND on Barrie's original while sticking to the same spirit and not contradicting it.

We can only hope....

JAQ

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2010, 02:23:36 AM »
I don't know about that line taking away children's imaginations, but aside from taking away the ambiguity it also seems to set Neverland in space instead of on earth....
In my personal opinion, the most unforgivable consequence of Disney inserting "star" into that line is that it will still be remembered that way in the 23rd century, and at the end of six feature films full of moaning about feeling old, Jim Kirk will use that line as a corny cap-stone to the three decade career of the original Star Trek crew.  But that may be a personal hang-up of mine. :)

TheWendybird

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2010, 03:15:09 AM »
I just take the comment Peter makes in the original to mean star because it makes sense...people navigated by the stars in the old days...so i don't really mind "second star to the right". I dislike most the other things disney did though :P Personally I liked Kirk saying that...even if Neverland isn't in outer space...just because LOL I mean even if you look at it as just how to navigate it still would make sense even if it wasn't meant that it was outer space.

AlexanderDavid

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2010, 04:05:49 AM »
Well, that makes sense (even if that's not how Disney interpreted it), but I still don't like it--aside from the fact that Peter was just making up nonsense out of his head, as admitted by Barrie in the book, Wendy says "What a funny address!"  In other words, it's as though it applied to the Home Under the Ground, as opposed to the Neverland in general.  That being the case, "star" wouldn't make sense.

TheWendybird

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2010, 04:41:45 AM »
Agreed.

Westh76

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Re: Screen versions of Peter Pan
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2010, 08:36:56 AM »
I saw Bernstein's version on stage, so shouldn't count here... It came on a couple of years ago in a pub/theatre in North London -- the King's Head in Islington. The production was a marvel of ingenuity, since the stage is very small and all the cast doubled up in different parts (e.g. Lost Boys also played Pirates). Bernstein didn't write a full score, just a few key songs and they were charming. I think you can get it on CD, though not a filmed version.

I agree with the comment about ambiguity in the interpretation of the directions to Neverland - that's what I was trying to say. I feel Barrie's line was meant to challenge a child's (and adult's) conception and make them wonder... instead of a flat  interpretation. By the way, I didn't know Capt Kirk had used that phrase (I'm not a Star Trek fan) - but it is depressing to think the Disney line is the one that's probably going to endure into the 23rd Century!