Since the Christmasy month of December seems like a fine time to watch fairytale films, here’s a look at the first film adaptation of one of our most beloved children’s stories. (And speaking of the holiday season, did you know that J.M. Barrie’s original play was meant to be performed during Christmas time? And did you know the earliest official Peter Pan merchandise was a set of Christmas crackers authorized by Barrie in 1906?)
I’ve always had a soft spot for J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan tales. Like countless others I grew up with the 1953 Disney film (and practically memorized it), but I first encountered Barrie’s writing in an excerpt from his novel The Little White Bird. This excerpt was part of a lushly-illustrated anthology of children’s literature that my grandparents kept around when I was little. They always knew that at some point–usually during the dinner parties they used to host–I would trot over to the bookshelf, pull out the book, and pore over all those pictures as the adults chatted over their pre-dinner drinks.
In time, of course, when I was old enough to read “chapter books” (do you remember when your elementary school friends began bragging that they could read “chapter books”?), I started pouring over the actual stories, too. The Little White Bird excerpt came with an introduction that has fixed itself in a corner of my imagination ever since I first read it: “Many of us know about [Peter]…through stage plays, motion pictures, and television. But there is an earlier Peter, a somewhat different Peter Pan…” Continue reading →
UPDATE 10/18/17: The winner of the drawing (conducted by me literally writing names on paper strips and putting them in my ’20s-style cloche hat) is MovieMovieBlogBlog! Congratulations–we will be in touch. 🙂
The latest Halloween-flavored post is on the way, folks–here’s a clue:
Hmm, not quite, but you’re close! In the meantime, here’s the latest giveaway I’m hosting, which involves a particularly inspired project.
A few years ago an independent filmmaker named Alex Barrett contacted me about a silent film he was making. He described it as a modern-day “city symphony,” the genre of documentary from the 1920s that created artistic portraits of cities such as Berlin. This time, however, the subject would be the great city of London, which had never been given a “city symphony” of its own (and which happens one of my very favorite places to visit, as countless others would agree!). I thought it sounded like an excellent project, and I agreed to help spread the news about its crowdfunding campaign.
Well, several years and 300 London filming locations later, and with the support of such notables as Kevin Brownlow, BFI and the Toronto Silent Film Festival, Barrett’s project is complete! His film’s been screened at the Edinburgh International Film Festival 2017 (and was nominated for the Michael Powell Award for Best British Film!), is currently being shown in select cinemas around the world, and just yesterday was released as a region-free MOD by the venerable Flicker Alley (a distributor I probably couldn’t live without–where else am I going to get beautiful copies of True Heart Susie and Tol’able David?) Continue reading →