Directed by: Vincent J. Donehue
Starring: Mary Martin, Cyril Ritchard, Lynn Fontanne
This was like a blast from the past for me. Not the movie with Brendan Fraser, that was even worse than this. No, when I was a kid, I had a copy of this live stage production of Peter Pan that I watched (I don’t think I saw the Disney version until many years later), probably a lot given how kids watch movies.
You know the damn story of Peter Pan. There’s a young boy (played by a full-grown woman) who takes some kids to Never-Never Land, where they’re threatened by pirates with poison cakes and indians with their extremely racist everything, and the kids of Never-Never Land make the oldest girl be their mom in some really weird Freudian nightmare. There are lots of songs and people in giant animal costumes, and of course people flying around stage on wires. Oh, the wires.
I think probably the most memorable moment of this film is when Tinkerbell (who is just a light shone on the stage) drinks a glass of poison milk and is about to die, so Peter Pan asks the audience to clap their hands and believe in fairies until she gets better. I know that’s been the inspiration for a lot of bad jokes on my part for most of my adult life. Also, I really like Cyril Ritchard’s portrayal of Captain Hook, who’s actually kinda threatening at points. All his plans involve poison or walking the plank, though, so he doesn’t end up being very effective.