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Peter Pan (USSR film)

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Note: This page uses Cyrillic characters, as used in the original Russian. The sounds they represent are often different from similar-looking letters in the Roman alphabet.
Питер Пэн
Питер Пэн

Питер Пэн (Peter Pan) is a film produced in 1987 by Belarusfilm, in what was then the Soviet Union (now Belarus). It was filmed in Russian, rather than the related language of Belarusian. Although Belarusfilm produced a large number of animated films, Питер Пэн was a live-action adaptation, starring a boy in the role of Peter. It was directed by Леонид Нечаиев (Leonid Nechayev) from a screenplay by Елена Баринова (Yelena Barinova). It was broadcast on Soviet television in two parts in January 1987.

The story is quite faithful to the original, even including bits that other film adaptations have left out. Although the songs are clearly original to this production, much of the dialog is reportedly translated directly from Barrie's, and certain familiar scenes (such as the introduction between Wendy and Peter) are easy to follow here.



Young Сергей Власов (Sergey Vlasov), who played Peter, already has his permanent front teeth, and lost some of his baby teeth during filming, so he had to wear false teeth in their place. Although this is cheating a bit on Barrie's assertion that Peter still had all his baby teeth, it's more faithful than any other screen adaptation, in which the actors playing Peter (the women and even the boys) already have full sets of permanent teeth. This is easily the youngest cast of any filmed adaptation of the story.

The effects were clearly produced on a modest budget. Tinker Bell is represented in motion by a fast-moving, tightly-focused spotlight. Nana is portrayed by a real dog, but is not shown performing particularly nurse-like tasks, except implied off-screen. The crocodile is rather obviously an actor struggling inside a rubber suit. The flying is done with a mixture of competent kid-on-a-wire shots against a black background, and a sequence where the children are obviously standing on a surface with dry-ice clouds concealing their lower bodies. A few effects were added in post-production, such as airborne sparkles of fairy dust, and a miniature Tinker Bell (played by Екатерина Черченко (Ekaterina Cherchenko)) next to Peter.


The Дарлингы (Darlings) are a well-to-do turn-of-the-century English family; the film begins with them singing and celebrating Christmas together. Питер (Peter) listens from outside, then loses his shadow to the dog Нана (Nana) when he and Динь-Динь (Tinker Bell) sneak into the house to get a closer look at their Christmas tree. While Нана bathes little Майкл (Michael) off-screen, Венди (Wendy) and Джон (John) (who appears to be the oldest of the children, rather than his sister) play at being their mother and father, debating whether they can afford children. Мистер Дарлинг (Mister Darling), nervously preparing to go to a social event, puts Нана outside when she brushes against him and gets fur on his slacks. Миссис Дарлинг (Mrs. Darling) sings the children a song about Питер Пэн as Венди imagines a fully animated drawing of him, and they go to sleep. Венди wakes to Питер crying over his detached shadow; they sing their introductions and she sews it on for him. He invites her to come with him and shows her, Джон, and Майкл how to fly (and fixes Джона eyes so he doesn't need his glasses). Excited by promises of pirates and Indians, they fly away to Нетинебудет (Neverland).

They fly past the Веселый Роджер (Jolly Roger) inadvertently alerting Капитан Крюк (Captain Hook) to their arrival. The Indians also notice, and break into a song and dance number. The pirates go hunting for the Lost Boys (who hide in the trees) and introduce themselves in song, as Чекко, Старки, Билл Джукс, Верзила, and Неряха. (Did I mention that this was a musical?) The crocodile chases them off, then remembers in flashback: Крюк and Питер sat down for a chess game as a "duel". Крюк sneaked one of Питер's pieces from the board and held it in the water, where the crocodile bit it off. Крюк threw the clock they'd been using to time their moves at the him, and he swallowed it.




Peter Pan's name in Russian is not a literal translation, which would be Пётр Пан (Pyotr as in Peter the Great + Pan the Greek god). Instead it's Питер Пэн (roughly Piter Pen) a phonetic approximation of the name as it's pronounced in English. This is how his name was rendered in Russian translations for decades before the film was made. (Perhaps the name Pyotr was out of political favor, due to its pre-Revolution imperial associations.)

Tinker Bell is called Динь-Динь (Din-Din, like a bell ringing) and she is referred to as a фея (fairy).

Captain Hook's name is translated into Russian as Капитан Крюк (Kapitan Kryuk), so it retains its literal meaning.

The Darlings' names are all rendered phonetically, even Mister and Missus, though George is also addressed by his first name on screen. (Contrary to the comedic accent of Star Trek's Pavel Chekov) Russian does not have W, so Barrie's invented name Wendy becomes Венди (Vendy). John and Michael are called Джон (Dzon) and Майкл (Maikl), the standard Russian sound-alikes for these English names. Their last name is transliterated directly as Дарлинг, so its meaning is not translated.

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