Sometimes kites are used in movies as a prop to help set the theme and the era of the film. Occasionally a kite is a major prop. For example, I loved the Cody-type kite that was used to provide rapid propulsion assistance in Kevin Costner's WaterWorld. It was one of the most dramatic uses of a kite in a movie that I have ever seen.
Now there is a new movie about to be released (October 22, 2004) which will feature a kite that is historically correct for the period setting of the movie. In the new movie Finding Neverland, Director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) uses a kite to help detail a setting between the principal actors Johnny Depp and Kate Winslet.
Finding Neverland is a tale of magic and fantasy inspired by the life of James Barrie, the real-life author of the children's classic Peter Pan. Set in London in 1904, the film follows Barrie's creative journey to bring Peter Pan to life, from his first inspiration for the story up until the play's premiere at the Duke of York Theatre - a night that will change not only Barrie's life, but also the lives of everyone close to him.
Detailed information on James Barrie, his life and the famous Peter Pan story and play can be found in Petri Liukkonen's great web site on famous authors.
The kite used in the brief pastoral scene in the movie is an English Arch Top kite. Likely it is made of modern day nylon and not the materials of the day. From the photo it is difficult to ascertain the materials used in the framing of the kite.
The English arch top kite is a modification of the more primitive two-stick lite. It is usually made like the two-stick kite with the addition of an arched top made of a curved framing strip of rattan or bamboo. The line drawing of the "English Arch Top Kite" that follows shows its structure.
It appears that the kite in the movie foregoes the tassels on the cross spar but it does feature a tail for stability. In addition, the kite in the movie does not seem to be of the same dimensional proportions as a typical arch top kite. It appears that:
- the section of the kite above the cross spar appears to be taller and the more of a curve is used than in an original design
- the length of the kite below the cross spar is somewhat shorter. However, the angleat which the kite is being held in the photo could account for the appearance of differences in dimension.
Although I am looking forward to seeing the movie because of the story of Barrie's life (it is fascinating), the added pleasures of two optical delights: a yellow arch top kite -and- Kate Winslet will also draw me to the box office!