Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi & Wilfred Jackson (1953)
When there’s a smile in your heart
There’s no better time to start
Think of all the joy you’ll find
When you leave the world behind
And bid your cares good-bye
You can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly, you can fly!
Peter Pan is a 1953 animated adventure fantasy film produced in 1952 by Walt Disney Productions. Based on J. M. Barrie’s 1904 play Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up, it is the 14th Disney animated feature film. The film was directed by Hamilton Luske, Clyde Geronimi, and Wilfred Jackson. Featuring the voices of Bobby Driscoll, Kathryn Beaumont, Hans Conried, and Bill Thompson, the film’s plot follows Wendy Darling and her two brothers, who meet the never-growing-up Peter Pan and travel with him to the island of Neverland to stay young, where they also have to face Peter’s archenemy, Captain Hook.
In 1935, Walt Disney began considering plans to adapt Barrie’s play into an animated feature. He purchased the film rights from Paramount Pictures in 1938, and began preliminary development in the next year. However, following the attack on Pearl Harbor, Disney shelved the project when his studio was contracted by the United States government to produce training and war propaganda films. The project sat idle in development for the rest of the decade until it experienced a turnaround in 1949. To assist the animators, live-action reference footage was shot with actors on soundstages. It also marked the last Disney film in which all nine members of Disney’s Nine Old Men worked together as directing animators.
Disney’s Nine Old Men were Walt Disney Productions’ core animators, some of whom later became directors, who created some of Disney’s most famous animated cartoons, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs onward to The Rescuers, and were referred to as such by Walt Disney himself. The Nine Old Men consisted of Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, Frank Thomas, Eric Larson, Ollie Johnston, Woolie Reitherman, Les Clark, Ward Kimball, and John Lounsbery.
Peter Pan was released on February 5, 1953, becoming the final Disney animated feature released through RKO before Disney founded his own distribution company. The film was entered into the 1953 Cannes Film Festival, Upon its release, the film earned positive reviews from film critics and was a box office success. Its representation of the Native Americans received retrospective criticism.
In this Disney animated film, Wendy and her two brothers are amazed when a magical boy named Peter Pan flies into their bedroom in pursuit of his rebellious shadow. He and his fairy friend Tinkerbell come from a far-off place called Neverland, where children stay perpetually young. Enchanted, the kids follow him back. But when Pan’s nemesis the pirate Captain Hook causes trouble, the kids begin to miss their old life.