Making the Grades
What child doesn't love a bedtime story? Wendy (voice of Kathryn Beaumont), the oldest child of the Darling family, finds them as much fun to give as receive, and has been entertaining her brothers John (voice of Paul Collins) and Michael (voice of Tommy Luske) with yarns of Peter Pan for quite some time. In a household saturated with wild tales of the green sprite, their exasperated father, Mr. Darling (voice of Hans Conried), vows to put an end to such nonsense by ordering Wendy out of the nursery and into a room of her own. Also in the doghouse is Nana, the family pooch /nursemaid, who has been caught underfoot once too often. The sleepy daughter, resigned to her fate, snuggles into bed one last time in the cherished room shared with her brothers.
As twilight deepens, the world of make believe blends with reality when Peter Pan (voice of Bobby Driscoll) himself, along with his fairy sidekick Tinker Bell, visit the slumbering siblings. Startled awake by a bump in the night, Wendy is delighted to find her hero, and quickly explains she is about to be expelled from the nursery and condemned to grow up! Moved by the plight of the damsel in distress, Peter Pan decides to rescue all of the Darling children from this terrible fate. With a little faith, trust, and pixie dust, compliments of the now very jealous Tinker Bell, the youngsters abandon their cozy cots and fly off to the safe haven of Never Land.
Their adventure on this mysterious island is unlike anything they could possibly have dreamt. Swashbuckling pirates, angry locals, not to mention public enemy number one, Captain Hook (also voiced by Hans Conried), are just a few of the dangers that must be navigated.
Although Peter Pan may not want to grow up, the entertainment industry certainly has. Made in 1953, the rather politically incorrect statements referring to Native Americans and the sexist portrayal of female characters would certainly never fly if this film were made today. Still, this time encapsulated Disney masterpiece continues to hook fans. Perhaps it's the animated magic and enchanting music, or maybe it's the classic tale's reminder of youth's simple pleasures that appeals to those who reluctantly outgrew bedtime stories.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Peter Pan (1953).
Never Land, the place of eternal childhood, is actually filled with many grown up themes such as revenge, betrayal, and broken hearts. How do Wendy and her brothers “grow up” during the course of their adventure? What qualities from their juvenile years should adults not abandon?
Although the story of Peter Pan may be pure fantasy, its legacy has helped many children in a very real way when the author, J.M. Barrie donated the royalties from the story to the Great Ormond Street Hospital.