Classic Movie Hub (CMH)

Peter Pan (1924)

December 09, 2019 <m>(Monday)
Music Box Theatre
3733 N. Southport Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60613 (US)

Event Details

Directed by Herbert Brenon • 1924

Theatrical convention dictated that the eponymous lead of J.M. Barrie's 1904 play Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, be played by a girl. Every actress in Hollywood eyed the role, but Barrie himself insisted on casting the unknown seventeen-year-old dancer Betty Bronson over the likes of Gloria Swanson and Mary Pickford. Here and elsewhere, Herbert Brenon's glorious adaptation benefits from its peculiar fidelity to the stage version: the Darling family dog is played by a man in a mutt costume and the very theatrical moment when Peter begs the audience to clap to save Tinker Bell (Virginia Browne Faire) is imported wholesale to the cinema. As curator James Card, who saved the last surviving copy of the film from the antechamber of the Eastman Theatre in Rochester, put it, "The greatness of Peter Pan resides in its magic, the roots of which stretch back three decades and across the ocean. The beauty of Peter Pan derives directly from Georges Méliès and, like his films, and like Caligari, too, demonstrates anew that film is not part of photography-that its goal need not be banal realism." By locating the magic in plain sight, Brenon fashions an unassuming masterwork of silent cinema. (KW)

102 min • Paramount Pictures • 35mm from Kino Lorber

Cartoon: "Peter Pan Handled" (Walter Lantz, 1925) - 7 min - 16mm

Live accompaniment by Music Box house organist Dennis Scott

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