Friday, February 1, 2013

Peter Pan – From Neverland to Bryant Park

In honor of Disney' Peter Pan screening at the Winter Film Festival at Citi Pond, Isabelle takes a look back at some of the various depictions of this popular character. 

Peter Pan, whose creator J.M. Barrie, a Scottish novelist, first wrote about him in 1902, is known to children around the world. Little did I know, that the character originally appeared for the first time in a book for grownups called ‘The Little White Bird'. Peter Pan is the carefree, never-aging boy, whose adventures on the island of Neverland have entertained thousands of readers and spectators.


Citi Pond will screen the classic 1953 animated version of Peter Pan on Monday as part of the Winter Film Festival in the park. Peter Pan is so beloved that this Disney version was neither the first nor the last movie inspired by Barrie’s theater play. Here is a short and not exhaustive list with the most notable other Peter Pan movies and TV adaptations:


1924, Peter Pan, Herbert Brenon
Herbert Brenon directed the first movie version of Peter Pan, which was totally silent. Peter was played by Betty Bronson, a female actor, and Captain Hook was played by one of silent film's most notable villains, Ernest Torrence.

1953, Walt Disney's Peter Pan, Disney
This classic story gets the full Disney treatment with child star Bobby Driscoll providing the voice of Peter himself, creating one of the most memorable depictions of this tale.

 Source Left, Source Right

1960 Peter Pan, NBC TV adaptation
Another female, Mary Martin takes the lead role of Peter in this 1960 TV version, which was based on a re-staged version of the 1954 musical adaptation.

1991, Hook, Steven Spielberg
In 1991 Steven Spielberg wrote and directed Hook, starring Hollywood actors Robin Williams as Peter Pan, Dustin Hoffman as Captain Hook and Julia Roberts as Tinker Bell. The movie tells the story of grown-up Peter, who is now a lawyer and whose children get kidnapped by Hook. Peter is forced to return to Neverland and face his old enemy again.

2003, Peter Pan, P.J. Hogan
The 2003 version, directed by P.J. Hogan, who also wrote the movie together with Michael Goldenberg, is the latest version to hit theaters.


2004, Finding Neverland, Marc Foster
Finding Neverland came out in 2004 and approaches the story from an unseen angle. It is not based on fiction, but rather is a biography of Barrie, telling the story of how he wrote Peter Pan. Johnny Depp embodies Barrie and the wonderful Kate Winslet personifies his platonic love, Sylvia Davies.

Disney’s Peter Pan
Citi Pond Winter Film Festival
Mondays, 7pm
February 2013

By Isabelle Steichen

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