Peter Ibbetson

  • 1935
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Fantasy, Romance

There are some, including Luis Bunuel, who think that this picture is one of the ten best films ever made. Gary Cooper is an architect who visits Paris, going first to a huge garden where he used to play as a child. The place is now heavily overgrown and in a state of disarray. John Halliday, a Duke, has hired Cooper's company to build new housing for his...read more

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There are some, including Luis Bunuel, who think that this picture is one of the ten best films ever made. Gary Cooper is an architect who visits Paris, going first to a huge garden where he used to play as a child. The place is now heavily overgrown and in a state of disarray. John

Halliday, a Duke, has hired Cooper's company to build new housing for his horses on the family property. Cooper has creative disagreements with Halliday's wife, Ann Harding, and he is soon sacked from the job. That doesn't last very long, and she allows the designer to exercise his abilities,

developing a close friendship with him in the process. Halliday mistakes their camaraderie for love, accuses Cooper of having an affair with Harding, and fires him again. It is here that Cooper betrays an old habit, something so unique that Harding recognizes him as the boy with whom she used to

play in the aforementioned garden. As a result of this realization, Harding and Cooper embrace, thereby sending Halliday into a jealous rage. Harding placates Halliday by explaining that they were childhood buddies. After finishing his work, Cooper is about to depart and once again gives Harding a

friendly hug. Halliday walks in with a pistol at the ready, so in self defense Cooper tosses a chair at the man, accidently killing him. Cooper is tried, convicted, and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder. While incarcerated, he dreams of his childhood days with Harding and shouts in his

sleep. The guards are angered and, believing Cooper to be a troublemaker, beat him badly, injuring his spine. Semi-comatose, he dreams (or does he?) that he sees Harding walk into his dank cell. She says that although they cannot be together in life, they always will be in his dreams, and that he

must have faith in that. She will send him a token to prove her contention, a ring he can always treasure. Cooper doesn't believe what he takes to be a dream, but when a ring arrives from her the next day, he is convinced that she was really there. Years go by and Cooper and Harding grow old,

though they remain young in his dreams. She dies, telling him that they will be able to meet again in their beloved garden as soon as he wants to join her. Cooper dies and they are united. First filmed as a silent, FOREVER, which was later made into a stage play starring John and Lionel Barrymore,

PETER IBBETSON is surrealistic, mystical and moody, and suffers only from the miscasting of Cooper. Well produced, it was a hit in Europe but did not fare well in the US. It is the dream sequences, which have a reality of their own, that set this apart from the usual parapsychological story and

give it the interest that the Surrealists saw. Constance Collier, a delightful actress who appeared in many films, worked on the adaptation, then it was given to Vincent Lawrence and Waldemar Young for the screenplay. Edwin Mayer and John Meehan came in later to write additional scenes. Ida

Lupino, as the girl friend who loses Cooper to Harding, doesn't have much to do, but what she does, she does well. PETER IBBETSON is a story that transcends time and space and proves that love is stronger than everything.

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  • Rating: NR
  • Review: There are some, including Luis Bunuel, who think that this picture is one of the ten best films ever made. Gary Cooper is an architect who visits Paris, going first to a huge garden where he used to play as a child. The place is now heavily overgrown and i… (more)

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