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 1929-49, which were sold to MCA/Universal in 1958 for television distribution, and have been owned and controlled by Universal ever since. This was first released to DVD 31 May 2005 as one of four titles in Universal's Gary Cooper Franchise Collection. 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 »
If you are at this site and reading about "Peter Ibbetson"-----congratulations on having an exotic taste in films coupled with a deep-seated fascination with romance, fantasy, destiny and the power of love to conquer the most formidable of difficulties! We have seen a number of films from Hollywood's Golden Age that touched upon similar themes. From "Death Takes a Holiday" (1934) to "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941), we suffered along with sympathetic lovers whose path to true fulfillment was strewn with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. But in the end---somehow-----the force of love overcame every problem to ultimately allow for what was meant to be.
These stories are ageless and have appeared as recently as "Somewhere In Time" (1980) and "Meet Joe Black" (1998)---itself a reworking of "Death Takes a Holiday." "Peter Ibbetson" may be one of the very best films to explore the force of destiny on young lovers linked from childhood to be together "forever." The beauty of this film is in its design, execution and performances.
Henry Hathaway, the director, worked with Gary Cooper earlier in 1935 in the rousing action adventure "Lives of a Bengal Lancer." Are there two more dissimilar films than these? It is a tribute to Hathaway's skill and artistry that he could make both stories work so well when they were completed almost at the same time.
Cooper excelled in portraying sensitive characters ("Pride of the Yankees" (1942), "Sergeant York" (1941), etc.) and Peter Ibbetson was well within his range of projecting an introspective romantic hero whose great love must be found in the world of dreams. It is a fine, deeply felt performance.
Ann Harding, not well known today as a romantic actress, captures the complexity and subtlety of the story. Her ability to will the Cooper character into believing that their love must persist even if it exists only in their own imagination is both powerful and enduring.
When contemporary critics take shots at the old Hollywood Studio System as nothing more than a glorified factory grinding out entertainment fodder for the masses, they ought to take a look at this strange, moving and truly unusual film. Its creators probably knew going in that it was not likely to be a box office hit given the nature of the subject matter. The fact that it was made at all and in such a sumptuous manner is an excellent tribute to the taste of the powers that be at Paramount.
Seek out "Peter Ibbetson," You will be transported to a world that no longer exists---and into a story that requires the viewer to be a real romantic with great imagination. It will reward you with a deeply touching tale where true love finally wins out under the most extraordinary of circumstances. What more need be said?
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