Peter Ibbetson


1h 28m 1935

Brief Synopsis

Architect Peter Ibbetson is hired by the Duke of Towers to design a building for him. Ibbetson discovers that the Duchess of Towers, Mary, is his now-grown childhood sweetheart. Their love revives, but Peter is sentenced to life in prison for an accidental killing. Mary comes to him in dreams and they are able to live out their romance in a dream world.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 8, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Peter Ibbetson by George Du Maurier (New York, 1891) and the play of the same name by John Nathaniel Raphael (London, 23 Jul 1915).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Synopsis

Peter Ibbetson leads an idyllic life as a child on an estate in Paris that adjoins his best friend Mary's estate. He and Mary have a combative relationship, fighting over their toys, but also feel a profound love for each other. When Peter's mother dies, his stern uncle takes him to live in England, thereby separating the children, and leaving them both with broken hearts. As an adult, Peter is a successful architect, but has no interest in women, holding on to dreams of his childhood. When his employer urges him to take a vacation, he travels to Paris where he meets Agnes. Despite her charm, Peter is uninterested in Agnes and only has eyes for his old estate, which has fallen into disrepair. Upon his return to England, he is commissioned to rebuild stables for the Duke and Duchess of Towers. Peter has different ideas than the Duchess about the design and she asks him to leave, but decides to retain him when an inspired cartoon he draws sends her into peals of laughter. Peter and the Duchess constantly argue over his ideas, and he always gets his way, but they are delighted with each other's company and the time passes happily for both. At dinner one evening, the Duke accuses the pair of being lovers, and unable to deny that they love each other, however innocently, they discover that the Duchess is in fact Mary of Peter's childhood. The Duke angrily tries to kill Peter, but Peter kills him in self-defense and is imprisoned for life. During a fight with the guards, Peter breaks his back and is expected to die. As he lays unconscious, Mary visits him in his dreams, insisting that the communication is real and that they could live together in this dream world despite the fact that they are unable to be together on Earth. She promises to send Peter a ring the next day to prove the "reality" of the dream, then fades away. The next day, Peter receives the ring, and feels a renewed will to live. For the rest of their lives, Peter and Mary live with each other in their minds, building castles of clouds and playing in the gardens of their childhoods, seeming never to age. Finally aged in life, Mary visits Peter in their dreamland and dies in his arms. Stricken by grief, Peter haunts the empty dream world and hears Mary say that they will be together in death as well. Fulfilled, Peter dies in prison.

Film Details

Release Date
Nov 8, 1935
Premiere Information
not available
Production Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Distribution Company
Paramount Productions, Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the novel Peter Ibbetson by George Du Maurier (New York, 1891) and the play of the same name by John Nathaniel Raphael (London, 23 Jul 1915).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 28m
Sound
Mono (Western Electric Sound System)
Color
Black and White
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.37 : 1
Film Length
10 reels

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Motion Picture Herald's "In the Cutting Room" listed Bodil Rosing in the cast, although she was not credited on screen or listed in any reviews. According to an article in New York Times, Paramount had a verbal option on Robert Donat to play the lead role, but he declined the picture. New York Times also noted that the film cost in excess of $750,000. A Daily Variety news item noted that some scenes were filmed on location in Laguna, CA. According to modern sources, Fredric March was first considered for the title role, and Miriam Hopkins was offered the role of "Mary." In 1935, this film was nominated for Academy Awards in the category for Best Score, Paramount Studio Music Dept.: Irvin Talbot, Head. Score by Ernst Toch. Deems Taylor's opera Peter Ibbetson was based on John Nathan Raphael's play, and premiered February 7, 1931 at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, NY. Oscar Levant, in his autobiographical writings, states that Ernst Toch's score was "touched up" by Hugo Friedhofer. The 1922 film Forever, directed by George Fitzmaurice with Wallace Reid and Elsie Ferguson, was based on du Maurier's 1891 novel (see AFI Catalog of Feature Films, 1921-30; F2.1917).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States 1935

Released in United States 1935