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You know, this is one of those grossly underrated, wonderful treasures of
movie. It's rather simple, with the fanciest effects being the movement
the toy soldiers, which was ahead of its time, but it's a true case of
simple is beautiful. It's a fantastic movie for those who just wish to
back, and laugh with the family, and have an adventure in fantasy land.
play is still being put on around the world, and this, to me, is just the
best captured version. There's really something for everyone - Ray Bolger
who looked really spectacular, very handsome in his role as Barnaby),
Annette (who is always charming for being the sweetheart we all know),
Sands as the daring hero, and the team of Henrey Calvin and Gene Sheldon,
along with the forever amusing Ed Wynn. This movie turns out more of a
comedy, and the adventures that encompass Mary and Tom Piper, when
by Barnaby, double crossed by Gonzorgo and Rodrigo are hilarious. This is
primarily a Christmas movie, but it's set so you can watch it anytime of
year - and so you should! I still cannot get over Ray bolger as a
villian....he does a lovely job, and looks terrific, but if you only know
him as the scarecrow, you'll especially need to see this! He makes the
statement relavent that he is very, very, very versatile, and one of our
greatest entertainment treasures.
This is a film that cries out to be seen on the big screen. As a child, I
saw this in the theater, and the color just dripped off the screen. With
the magnificent soundtrack and wonderful special effects, it was a special
event. However, on the small screen it does lose something of its effect,
but it's still a good movie. The scene where TomTom has been shrunk, and
takes his revenge on Barnaby by losing the wooden soldiers on him still
gives me goosebumps.
Probably better for younger children, I still wouldn't miss this film.
Even Disney buffs willing to go to the ends of the earth for Annette Funicello might admit this is one of the former Mouseketeer's weaker efforts for the Disney company. Mary Contrary hopes to get married, but her wedding plans are thwarted by an evil villain. Most of the production and the special effects in the finale are very good, and the adaptation of the operetta score is fine, but the balky direction has no pizazz, no snap. Worse, the scowling children make exclamations in unison, Tommy Sands is excruciatingly hammy in drag as an old gypsy woman, and the Laurel and Hardy-inspired slapstick routines feel out of place. Veterans Ray Bolger and Ed Wynn bring the film some polish; otherwise, there's not much happening in "Toyland", beyond the fact it has a distinct case of "Wizard Of Oz"-itis. ** from ****
I can remember watching this movie over and over when I was little-- of course, as the years went by I eventually taped over it. Well, when I finally grew out of my "I'm too cool for this movie" phase, I regretted my hasty decision. Luckily, last night it was on in the middle of the night on the Disney Channel and I practically programmed the VCR with lightening speed. I still love it, and I always associate certain scenes with certain memories, and now that I'm older I understand what is going on a little bit better (not to mention some of the jokes that flew right over my head when I was four!)! If you don't watch it for yourself, you're kids'll love it. Believe me, I know!
It was sixty years since Victor Herbert and Glen MacDonough's magical
musical for kids premiered on Broadway when this version came out and
now it's nearly 50 years since the film was in theaters. It doesn't
rank up with the one that Laurel&Hardy did in the Thirties. For one
thing the Victor Herbert score was cut, but not added to. Secondly Stan
and Ollie were the center of things even though they are supporting
characters. That in itself made their March Of The Wooden Soldiers
Still this version that Disney did featured several of his stable of young stars like Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands as the young lovers of Toyland who want to wed. But evil Barnaby reprised in this version by Ray Bolger is going to put a stop to that. He's got designs on Annette's virtue and more important on the inheritance he knows she will get upon her wedding day. Bolger is having a great old time hamming it up as Barnaby.
Stan and Ollie are saluted by Disney with Gene Sheldon and Henry Calvin, fresh from the Zorro series. They're funny, but are clearly relegated to supporting players as Bolger's inept stooges. As Stan Laurel was still alive when Babes In Toyland was in the theaters, I've often wondered what he thought of Sheldon and Calvin.
Tommy Kirk who was barely out of his teens got a real treat to work with one of the great funny men of all time. Babes In Toyland is a great example for those of us to see the zany humor in the character of Ed Wynn as the Toymaker with Kirk as his assistant. The two of them work very well together.
Even Tommy Sands gets into the humor of things when he dons an outrageous gypsy drag persona to foil one of Bolger's schemes. A scheme that goes awry when Calvin and Sheldon don't precisely obey orders. You just can't get good help, even in Toyland.
I even think Victor Herbert would have approved of the way his numbers were done though he probably would not like the Disney interpolations that were made. He was a stickler for such things in his life.
Viewing March Of The Wooden Soldiers back to back with Babes In Toyland doesn't make this version look inferior by any means.
It's a 1960s Disney Musical, I should not have to say more than this
about the movie.
It's great for kids, unfortunately.
I remember seeing it, and liking it as a kid - and got it for my 3 yr old daughter.
My wife hates me for it. Not that the movie is that horrible - but my daughter is in love with Tommy Sands and wants to watch this movie every night.
My wife even took my daughter to the library and checked out kids movies - she was excited until she got home, and just said she wanted to watch Tom and Mary (The names of the main actors in the movie) If you have little kids - they'll love it. You might even enjoy it some yourself - until it's overplayed.
Disney version of the Victor Herbert operetta about Mother Goose characters, previously filmed in 1934 with Laurel & Hardy. That version is the best of the ones I've seen but this one isn't without some positives. For starters, it's a beautiful-looking film with great sets, props, and costumes. That goose is creepy, though. It's a movie full of bright vivid colors that pop out at you. The cast is good, with Tommy Sands and a stunning Annette Funicello as likable (if dull) leads. Ray Bolger has fun as the villain Barnaby. Gene Sheldon and Henry Calvin, playing Barnaby's henchmen, are obviously impersonating Laurel and Hardy, and having a good time doing so. Ed Wynn is a scene stealer as the Toymaker. Disney legend Tommy Kirk plays his assistant and seems to be having fun. Director Jack Donohue does a respectable job bringing Toyland and its Mother Goose characters to life on the screen. But somehow the whole thing just doesn't click the way it should. You get the feeling from the start that the movie is trying way too hard. There are songs on top of songs and none of them are particularly strong. Most are terribly corny. There are interesting things about the film (particularly the visuals) so it's not a complete dud. It helps to avoid comparisons to the superior 1934 version. If you're a fan of the story or a Disney buff, by all means give it a shot. Also if you're a parent of a young child perhaps they'll like it. Everyone else go in with lowered expectations.
This film is one of my favorite Disney live-action musicals, and a
wonderful Christmas film too. It use to be on TV when I was a kid, but
not anymore. I was fortunate to buy it on DVD though. The film is also
based on an operetta by Victor Herbert with new lyrics by Mel Leven,
and of course I thought it's a great soundtrack.
In the film, Annette Funicello plays Mary Quite-Contrary and Tommy Sands plays Mary's fiancée Tom Piper, the Piper's son. As Mary and Tom's wedding approaches, evil schemer Barnaby (The Wizard of OZ's Ray Bolger) hatches a plot to drown Tom, and steal Mary's sheep to get her to marry him...for the money she will inherit. But unfortunately for Barnaby, the two henchmen he had order to kill Tom, kidnap him instead and sell him to a band of gypsies...for more money of course, since they're being paid by Barnaby to get rid of Tom.
But eventually those same gypsies put on a show in Mother Goose Village, and Mary discovers Tom is alive, the couple had a happy reunion. But when the two went back to Mary's cottage, the children in Mary's care, Wee Willie Winkie, Little Boy Blue and Little Bo Peep had gone to look for the sheep in the Forest of No Return. The two found the children, but they spend the night in the forest. In the morning, the band were "captured" by the trees of the forest and escorted to Toyland to see the Toymaker. That's all I could tell you folks, you will have to see the film for yourself how it ends.
Overall, this film's a wonderful Disney production; too bad it had a disappointing box office performance.
i love this movie and it's a terrific classic, all the movie characters are mother goose characters living in a town with such houses as the giant shoe and the pumpkin house. Little bo peep lost her sheep in the forest of no return causing mary contrary and tom piper to follow the kids after them when they attempt to locate the lost animals...instead they stumble upon the lost toyland and get pulled into a world of mishaps including a shrinking invention gone wrong, making tom piper no more than a few inches tall....also there are wonderful songs and dance scenes including a gypsie dance and beautiful serenades by the classic annette funicello...a must see kid classic!
Babes in Toyland may not be a "great" film, but it does have a lot of charms, well at least for me it did. The direction is at times lacking in pizazz and comes across as stodgy, making the film drag a bit in the less eventful parts. The story is rather thin, sometimes uneventful which bogs the pace down(but this is not in the entire film), and while Tommy Sands does have moments where he shines like in his gypsy drag scene at other points he's dull. Babes in Toyland looks colourful and the production values are simple and very pretty. Victor Herbert's score is a very pleasant one, it's not one of his greatest scores but it has songs that are both melodious and catchy. The choreography is light-on-its-feet and enough to tap the toes, so there is some liveliness to be had. The story is nothing really special, but there is a wonderful weirdness and wondrous fantasy atmosphere. That can especially be seen in the March of the Wooden Toy Soldiers sequence, which is the prime example of where you can find the film's clever special effects. There are some nice funny moments, and some slapstick(from personal perspective it wasn't that misplaced though it did have a Laurel and Hardy feel) and a lot of heart-warming charm. Don't expect fully developed characters, particularly with Tom and Mary, but they're hardly shallow either, the most colourful of them are Barnaby and the Toymaker. The performances are entertaining. Annette Funicello is a beauty and gives a charming performance, Ann Jillian doesn't have much to do but shows off her beautiful singing voice and child stars Kevin Cocoran and Tommy Kirk pop up too and are similarly appealing. The best of the lot go to Ed Wynn and particularly Ray Bolger. Wynn is both zany and warm-hearted, some of the film's most entertaining moments are with him. With Bolger, when you think of him you don't usually think of him playing a villain, but he does here and is delightfully wicked and seems to be having fun without over-compensating. In conclusion, as far as Disney live-action musicals Babes in Toyland is not as good as Mary Poppins and Bedknobs and Broomsticks and lacks both films' magic, but it is still a nice fun film that shouldn't demand too much. 7/10 Bethany Cox
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