Film Review and Rating / Synopsis

(Please note the films reviewed on this site contain plot summaries and may contain SPOILERS.)
  • Peter Pan (1924) - Plot Summary - "A Fairy Play". Silent fantasy based on the play by J.M. Barrie. The story begins in the Darling nursery, where nurse Nana gets the three Darling children - Wendy (Mary Brian), John, and Michael - ready for bed. Nana happens to be a big dog (the family can't keep a regular servant 'cause the father is such a "fidget"). The children tucked into bed, when who should arrive at their bedroom window, which happens to be two flights up, but a moving ball of light and a boy who is looking for his shadow - Peter Pan (Betty Bronson) and his fairy friend Tinker Bell aka "Tink". Peter Pan is a little boy (played by a young woman) who doesn't want to be a man - he wants to stay a little boy and have fun forever, and so he does! Wendy and Peter become friends and he agrees to teach the three children to fly if she will go with him to the Never Never Land to be mother and tell stories to Peter and the Lost Boys. And fly they do (with the help of a little fairy dust), off to the Land full of mermaids and Redskins and pirates, arriving in the Make-Believe Forest where jealous Tink prompts the boys to shoot Wendy with an arrow. Wendy lives though, the boys build her a house, and the whole bunch engage in some fantasy play as Wendy pretends she's their mother. Meanwhile, evil and ugly Captain Hook (Ernest Torrence) holds a grudge on Peter Pan who apparently cut off Hook's hand and fed it to a crocodile. The pirates soon attack Peter, Wendy, and the lost boys, while back home the children's mom grieves and longs for the return of her own lost kids.

    Review - This is an engaging fantasy, full of charm. The special effects done in this are done well enough for the time this film was made - especially the scenes featuring tiny Tinker Bell. Okay, so Nana is played by a man in a very fake looking dog suit (not to mention the other creatures in this, like the crocodile) - but I think that's all part of the fun, really. Betty Bronson is perhaps the most delightful Peter Pan ever - she's perky, she's cute, she dances and flies with oh so much charm. All the children do a great job in this film, and Anna May Wong appears much too briefly as the Indian girl, Tiger Lily. (Our Gang alert: Winston and Weston Doty, twins in very early Our Gang shorts, appear in this film.) The version I saw of this was on a Kino release video tape - it includes a nice looking, mainly sepia tinted print and a really terrific orchestral score, composed by Philip Carli, which is a fine match to the feel of this story. Okay, I like this quote from the film - "Wendy, one girl is more use than twenty boys" - right on, Peter Pan! Do you believe in fairies - I think I do?! Rating - * 10/10 stars *

    Director: Herbert Brenon
    Film Genre: Fantasy Adventure
    Film Runtime: 105 minutes

Links / Resources

film review silent era Peter Pan


10 = Absolutely Fabulous/Superb
9 = Really Good/Excellent
8 = Good
7 = Fairly Good/Decent
6 = So-so, some flaws
5 = Mediocre
4 = Not that good, many flaws
3 = Poor
2 = Very Poor/Stinker
1 = One of the worst BOMBS ever filmed

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