PETER PAN (1953)
Article #1761 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-9-2006
Posting Date: 6-8-2006
Directed by Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske
Featuring the voices of Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried
Peter Pan whisks away three children from their London home to the world of Neverland.
If I were to choose what differentiates Disney’s “great” animated features from the ones they did that are merely “good”, I would say that it was the sense of drama that pervades the great ones; they weren’t just exercises in humor and whimsicality, but had a way of touching the emotions that transcended the fact that you were only watching animated characters. By this criteria, PETER PAN belongs to the pantheon of merely good; it not only fails to add a sense of drama to the proceedings, but it doesn’t even aspire to do so, a fact that is underscored by the decision to treat Captain Hook as primarily a comic villain. Still, when Disney was good, they were very good, and there are some real pleasures among the characters here. In particular, the character of Tinkerbell steals the show; with nary a line of dialogue, she manages to project a variety of intriguing emotions, from her jealousy at the presence of Wendy to concern about the state of her figure. Furthermore, if you are going to have a comic villain, you couldn’t do any better than to go with Hans Conried, who would go on to provide the voice for the most famous comic villain of all, Snidely Whiplash. The sequences with the canine nursemaid Nana are also quite fun. And there is something truly magical about the flying pirate ship in the final scenes of the movie.