1 October 2019 Susannah

Lost Boys and Lost Girls

Peter Pan (1953 Disney film)

I love watching Emma Thompson on screen, so was interested to hear of a new movie being made which stars Emma, her mother and her daughter, as well as actor Ellen Burstyn. It’s The Lost Girls, a reworking of Sir J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and it covers four generations of the Darling family women trying to come to terms with their contact with Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up.

Pan is the villain of the piece and a sinister character – the film has been described as a “female-powered imagining of a classic tale”. It is based on the novel The Lost Girls by Laurie Fox. I’m not sure about turning Peter Pan into an evil villain – surely that’s Captain Hook’s role in the novel? But I’ll be most interested to see the film (no release date has yet been given).

I’m fascinated by Sir J.M. Barrie, the man who wrote the classic tale. Did you know that he paid for the statue of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens in London and that the statue was erected overnight so that children who regularly played there would think it had appeared by magic? It was quite controversial because authors do not usually get to put up statues of the characters they have created and his gift of the statue was seen as a form of advertising.

There’s a wonderful book about Barrie and his weird relationship with the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired Peter Pan – J.M. Barrie and the Lost Boys: The Real Story behind Pater Pan by Andrew Birkin. The book was also made into a TV drama which was excellent. It’s a tragic tale, because Barrie (who had no children of his own) tried to take over these boys and dominate their lives. He was rich and they were not, they lost their own parents and he pushed himself into position of surrogate father – it does not end happily, but is a wonderful read.

I wonder what Barrie would make of this proposed film and a feminist revision of his book? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

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Featured image credit- Peter Pan (1953 Disney film), https://www.buzzfeed.com/staceygrant91/how-well-do-you-know-your-classic-disney-timeline-xpfm
Body image credit- Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens, London. Photograph by Sebjarod, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=448009

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