Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Peter Pan [1953]

US Animated Movie (1953). Disney. Pr Walt Disney. Dir Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske. Special processes Ub Iwerks. Based on the various versions of Peter Pan by J M Barrie. Voice actors Kathryn Beaumont (Wendy), Candy Candido (Indian Chief), Paul Collins (John), Hans Conried (Hook/Mr Darling), Bobby Driscoll (Peter), Tommy Luske (Michael), Bill Thompson (Smee/pirates). Special credit "With gratitude to the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London." 77 mins. Colour.

Unlike the case with many other Disney animated features, the story in PP differs in detail but not in substance from the original play, the sole significant additional piece of fantastication being that, at movie's end, all the children travel back to London in the Pirate ship, which is able to travel through the sky thanks to "pixie dust" supplied by Tinker Bell. As proof of her adventures, Wendy is able to point out to her parents the silhouette of the ship against the full Moon; Mr Darling sheepishly admits that when he was a boy he, too, once saw just such a flying ship ... A further difference from the play is that at the end, the Lost Boys are not adopted by the Darlings but remain with Peter.

This version of the Barrie tale is of particular interest, however, in that it raised Tinker Bell from a blob of light to a cute, adult little female figure, a tradition continued in Hook (1991). The figure has been very widely used by Disney but, more importantly, has become, independent of Peter Pan, a significant modern fantasy Icon. [JG]

see also: Never-Never Land.

This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.