Today marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Sylvia Llewelyn Davies. You remember it well, I'm sure. She was dragged from her bed to watch an intimately staged performance of the new play Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. As the play ended and the music soared, she walked right onto the Neverland set filled with fairies and crocodiles and pirates which had miraculously sprung up in her own living room. And she kept on walking right into her own spotlit afterlife. Well that was how it happened to Kate Winslet as Sylvia in Finding Neverland at least. They took some liberties with the timeline for the movie.
Davies was survived by her five sons, who had of course served as inspiration for Peter Pan. The author JM Barrie, a close family friend, all but adopted the boys after her death, as they'd lost their father three years prior to her passing.
So for today's Posterized, in tribute to the Davies boys and their mum, let's glance at the various film incarnations of the story of that boy who never grew up.
Those are the only five "authorized" screen versions of which P.J. Hogan's 2003 version is the winner (not that the silent feature and the Disney movie don't have their moments. The less said about Hook the better.) The 2003 version is so undervalued, appropriately fantastical and is also (relatively) true to the 1911 novel Peter and Wendy which was expanded from the stage play and is how most human beings knew the myth until Disney got a hold of it of course.
There are numerous unauthorized versions and reinterpretrations (the most recent of which, Neverland, I included above), lots of animated version from other countries as well as two films specifically about JM Barrie and his relationship to the Davies family which star Ian Holm and Johnny Depp respectively. I wasn't a fan of Finding Neverland (2004) but someone sure was; it won 7 Oscar nominations including Best Picture.
I haven't seen that Ian Holm production but I'd love to hear from anyone who did. I had no idea that existed and I find it very odd that that means that Sir Ian Holm has played not one but two famous authors who had much discussed relationships with other people's children. He also played Alice in Wonderland scribe Lewis Carroll in Dreamchild (1985) which is about Alice as an older woman remembering her youth and her friendship with the author. I guess Ian Holm has been cast as an eccentric writer more often than that even. He's also Bilbo Baggins and played strange scribes in Joe Gould's Secret and Naked Lunch. Funny how actors get in those weird casting grooves.
How many versions of Peter Pan have you seen?