Title: Peter Pan
Release Date: February 5, 1953
Director: Clyde Geronimi | Wilfred Jackson | Hamilton Luske
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions
I remember watching Peter Pan with Mary Martin on TV and seeing a revival of the Broadway musical with Sandy Duncan as a child. Later I read the play by J.M. Barrie. But I never saw the Disney movie until I was an adult, and my general impression is that it is pretty awful. Revisiting the movie for my Disney Animated Features project did not improve my feelings of the movie.
I get the appeal of the story and why it’s persisted in popularity for over a century. The adventure and imagination are irresistible. Any child would love to fly off to a magical world. The pirates are Hilario and scary. And growing up is overated.
And yet, the movie is horribly sexist. Tinker Bell immediately hates Wendy in the most awful stereotype of female jealousy. The mermaids are no better. How is that Tinker Bell became a Disney icon when she spends this entire movie being a vindictive turncoat? As awful as it is, it doesn’t compare with the viciously racist deception of Native Americans. I had to fast forward through the cringey song and dance numbers.
Perhaps there’s a way to redeem Peter Pan, but I’m not the one who’s going to do it. Don’t watch this with your children, there’s so much better out there.