7.1/10
904
24 user 21 critic

Peter Pan (1924)

Peter Pan enters the nursery of the Darling children and, with the help of fairy dust, leads them off to Never Never Land, where they meet the nefarious Captain Hook.

Director:

Herbert Brenon

Writers:

J.M. Barrie (play), Willis Goldbeck (screenplay)
Reviews
1 win. See more awards »

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
George Ali George Ali ... Nana the Dog
Esther Ralston ... Mrs. Darling
Cyril Chadwick ... Mr. Darling
Mary Brian ... Wendy Moira Angela Darling
Jack Murphy Jack Murphy ... John Napoleon Darling
Philippe De Lacy ... Michael Nicholas Darling (as Philippe deLacy)
Virginia Brown Faire ... Tinker Bell (as Virginia Browne Faire)
Betty Bronson ... Peter Pan
Anna May Wong ... Tiger Lily
Maurice Murphy ... Tootles
Mickey McBan ... Slightly
George Crane Jr. George Crane Jr. ... Curly
Winston Doty Winston Doty ... First Twin
Weston Doty Weston Doty ... Second Twin
Terence McMillan Terence McMillan ... Nibs
Edit

Storyline

Peter Pan, the kid who doesn't want to grow up, arrives at the Darling home searching for his shadow. He meets the Darling children and takes them to Never-Never Land, where they will fight against Capt. Hook and his pirate ship and crew. At the end the children will be back in their warm beds. Written by Adalberto Fornario

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

The beloved Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up Is here, To gladden the heart of everyone from eight to eighty. The wonder-picture of the year. (Print Ad- Evening News, ((San Jose, Calif.)) 29 December 1924) See more »


Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Assuming its copyright has not lapsed already, this film and all others produced in 1924 enters the U.S. public domain in 2020. See more »

Goofs

Peter Pan casts a shadow on the floor and on the furniture prior to retrieving his shadow. See more »

Quotes

Peter Pan: [in intertitles] Oh, Wendy's mother, I don't want to grow up! Don't want to be President!
See more »

Alternate Versions

After the climactic fight with the pirates, Peter and the Lost Boys hoist a flag aboard the Jolly Roger. For the UK release of the film, the flag is the Union Jack; in the US version, this shot is replaced with one of the Stars and Stripes. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters (2016) See more »

User Reviews

 
The boy who refused to grow up
17 December 2006 | by JohnHowardReidSee all my reviews

When Sir James M. Barrie agreed to allow Famous Players—Lasky to make a movie version of his 1904 Christmas pantomime Peter Pan, he laid down some pretty stiff terms. Not only was he to have casting approval, but the title cards were to use as far as possible the dialogue of the stage play; the plot line was to keep to the original Three-Act structure; the characters were to be those of the play—none were to be eliminated and additional characters were not to be introduced; and above all, the characters were to fly realistically. Sir James also insisted on writing a long Preface to the movie in which he made the point that Peter Pan was a pantomime and needed to be accepted as such.

Unfortunately, he was unaware of the fact that Americans do not know what a panto is, let alone what are its traditions. Luckily, this didn't really matter. The picture was a huge success anyway and catapulted eighteen-year-old Betty Bronson (whom Barrie himself had chosen for the lead) into celebrity status overnight.

So to really appreciate the picture we need first to understand what a panto is and what Barrie did to change or modify its structure and traditions.

By the turn of the century, the annual Christmas pantomime had become a very elaborate affair. In fact, every year theatre managements vied with each other to offer presentations even more spectacular than they had staged in the past. (A successful panto didn't just fill the theatre at Yuletide but would run right through Easter). Although largely (and very loosely) based on nursery rhymes and fairy tales, pantomimes had a rigid cast system. The lead role was always the Dame—a middle-aged woman, enacted by a leading funnyman, the more raucous, the better. Next in line, was the Principal Boy, always played by a very sexy young lady who wore abbreviated costumes to show off her legs. The Villain was usually billed next, and then came the specialty acts. These were vaudeville turns by jugglers, singers, magicians, etc., often used to entertain the audience while stagehands readied the spectacular main set for the next Act, but just as often actually interpolated into the panto itself. Of course, pantos always had plenty of real children milling around the stage, but the leader (who had practically all the lines) was a young adult (even though he or she might be a impersonating a character supposedly ten or twelve years younger).

Doubling was quite common in the panto. Often it was a matter of necessity, but just as often it was done deliberately. Barrie intended that Mr Darling and Captain Hook always be played by the same actor. Unfortunately, both Brenon and Paramount jibed at this idea and finally convinced Barrie that on a motion picture set, it was impractical.

The principal change (and it was a brilliant one) that Barrie made to the traditional structure was not to turn the Dame into a dog (Dames had often played comic animals in the past) or even to restrict the Dame's frolics to Two Acts (although top-billed, the Dame's role was often not all that large. In some pantos, he/she didn't even make her entrance until the Second Act). What Barrie did was absolutely startling. He made the Dame silent. He/she doesn't utter a word. The role is all pantomime, you see. Pantomime yet—in a pantomime! Brilliant!

Now we can appreciate the movie for what it is: not just a filmed pantomime but one that goes beyond the restrictions of the stage to make the spectacle more spectacular, and the special effects even more wonderful and startling.

Also we can now enjoy the way the movie is cast and played. It's a pity Hook and Darling are no longer played by the same man (though admittedly it is just as hard to imagine dull Chadwick, perfect as stuffy Darling, brandishing a villainous hook, as it is to see Ernest Torrence toning down the foam as Wendy's dad). However, super-sexy Betty Bronson makes an ideal Peter Pan (it's important that the character be lasciviously attractive yet act as if she is totally unaware of this fact—and this Miss Bronson accomplishes remarkably well, no doubt due to Brenon's meticulous direction).

Eighteen-year-old Mary Brian is also superbly cast as Wendy. Even though her stage age is around twelve or thirteen, she is not only the leader of the children, but a genuine mother figure and is supposed to look just a few years younger than the actress playing her mother, in this case twenty-two year old Esther Ralston. (You're not supposed to be mathematically minded and try to work out how a twenty-two year old can have a twelve year old daughter. Pantomimes are inevitably fanciful). The father figure is usually much older. Forty-five year old Cyril Chadwick fits the bill nicely.

It's a tribute to Brenon's skillful yet sensitive direction, James Wong Howe's beautiful photography, Pomeroy's fascinating special effects and the enduring charm and cleverness of Barrie's fairy tale that the movie is just as enchanting in 2007 as it seemed to appreciative worldwide audiences in 1925.


21 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 24 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

None

Release Date:

29 December 1924 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Peter Pan See more »

Edit

Box Office

Gross USA:

$630,229
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed