Friday, January 2, 2009

Audrey Hepburn vs. Sir Laurence Olivier?

I suppose I should make the first actual post of the new year deal with Peter Pan.

I came across this bit of “news” over the holidays. I believe that I’d already known this (as I tend to seek out Peter Pan related material.) However, when I told Bart about the article, it "shocked" him. I tried to figure out where I might have seen it, such as Bruce K. Hanson's book The Peter Pan Chronicles: The Nearly 100 Year History of 'The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up' but no, it’s not in there. I checked other sources, too. As it stands, I’m not sure how I knew… but here it is.

From the files of “What Might Have Been,” we learn that we almost received the treat of Audrey Hepburn as Peter Pan, fighting Sir Laurence Olivier as Captain Hook!

But the movie never came to fruition, due to a nasty tangle with the House of Mouse. It seems Disney claimed ownership of Peter Pan and the scuffle caused the potentially interesting live-action version to be scrapped.

It also helps explain why there had never (ha!) been a "talkie" film of Barrie’s story until 2003. The Hepburn-Olivier version would have been entertaining, that’s certain. It would also be nice to have some other basis of comparison on film from yesteryear.

But if I’m going to be honest, I’m not so sure I would have liked to have seen a "grown" woman in the role on film. That’s a theatrical tradition…and one that only exists because of the circumstances of the original production. Plus, it didn't quite work for me in the silent film. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying Hepburn isn't a fabulous choice if keeping with tradition. But Olivier as Hook? Hmmm…somehow I doubt he would be a comedic Hook. Which, as you might know from this post, is the Barrie way. So yes, I would have enjoyed the great actor as the great villain.

The article that crossed my screen is here.
Well… dare to dream…


Danielle Mari said...

That picture of Olivier is SCARY.

Peter said...

So is the Captain ;)