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Architect Peter Ibbetson is hired by the Duke of Towers to design a building for him. Ibbetson discovers that the Duchess of Towers, Mary, is his now-grown childhood sweetheart. Their love revives, but Peter is sentenced to life in prison for an accidental killing. Mary comes to him in dreams and they are able to live out their romance in a dream world. Written by
Jim Beaver <email@example.com>
One of over 700 Paramount Productions, filmed between 1929 and 1949, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. See more »
In the film's first scene, as Gogo is leaving his mother's bedroom he passes a mirror in which the reflection of a crew member is briefly visible. See more »
To think that Henry Hathaway made the same year "the lives of a Bengal Lancer" and "Peter Ibbetson"!Both are classics in their genre :the first was an adventures film no one could do today;the second one is simply my favorite Hathaway movie.I know it was his favorite too.
"Lancer" and "Peter" could not be more different,they are worlds apart,and who could believe the same director (and actor) made the two works?
"Peter Ibbetson" had a strong influence on the French cinema of the thirties/forties ,particularly those of Marcel Carné ("Les Visiteurs du Soir""Juliette ou La Clé des Songes" ) Marcel Lherbier ("la Nuit Fantastique" ) and Cocteau/Delannoy ("L'Eternel Retour").Henry Hathaway's film spawned a whole school of "escapism" cinema.
The first part deals with childhood and depicts the worst misfortune a young boy can know:the death of his mother.It takes place in the chic suburbs of Paris ,where,we are told,wealthy English people own their town house.After his mother's decease ,"Gogo" is separated from the little girl with a white dress...and returns to England where he will live with his uncle.
Peter/Gogo's only desire (and it's everyone's desire ) is to come back to this lost paradise ,to the place he was a child ..Early in the movie,we have a first pilgrimage with a girl (Ida Lupino ,a future great actress/director in one of her first parts)who does not care (she cannot share his memories)and whose only interest is the swing.
Although he briefly appears ,Slade is a very important character.He is a blind man,but he can see;his words are not different from those by Saint Exupery in "Le Petit Prince" -which was yet to come for it was published in 1943) ("It is only with the heart that one can rightly see;what is essential is invisible to the eyes") If the heart can give eyesight to the blind ,then what can true absolute love do?When you are in jail,a paralyzed prisoner ,what can you expect from life?
The last part is one of the peaks of the American cinema of the thirties ,predating dozens of films not only the French escapism movies from the German Occupation but also such works as "Stairway to Heaven" (Powell) or "Portrait of Jennie" (Dieterle) and "Bid Time Return" (Swarc) These dreams when the lovers meet up are the impossible return to childhood man longs for in his whole life;but these dreams are fragile:the castle Peter built for his beloved one is nothing when the storm set in.A surrealistic film,"Peter Ibbetson" is love's triumph over everything:the laws that man made,our Cartesian spirit ,even death itself.Just make your dream longer than the night.
Gary Cooper and Ann Harding have become legendary hearts.
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