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March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934)

Babes in Toyland (original title)
Passed | | Comedy, Family, Fantasy | 14 December 1934 (USA)
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Opposing the evil Barnaby, Ollie Dee and Stanley Dum try and fail to pay-off Mother Peep's mortgage and mislead his attempts to marry Little Bo. Enraged, Barnaby's boogeymen are set on Toyland.

Directors:

Gus Meins, Charley Rogers (as Charles Rogers)

Writers:

Frank Butler (screen play), Nick Grinde (screen play)
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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Virginia Karns Virginia Karns ... Mother Goose
Charlotte Henry ... Bo-Peep
Felix Knight Felix Knight ... Tom-Tom
Florence Roberts ... Widow Peep
Henry Brandon ... Barnaby (as Henry Kleinbach)
Stan Laurel ... Stannie Dum
Oliver Hardy ... Ollie Dee
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Storyline

Ollie Dee and Stanley Dum try to borrow money from their employer, the toymaker, to pay off the mortgage on Mother Peep's shoe and keep it and Little Bo Peep from the clutches of the evil Barnaby. When that fails, they trick Barnaby into marrying Stanley Dum instead of Bo Peep. Enraged, Barnaby unleashes the bogeymen from their caverns to destroy Toyland. Written by Paul Penna <tterrace@wco.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

1 and 1/2 hours of laughter!


Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

14 December 1934 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

March of the Wooden Soldiers See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (re-release) (cut)

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Sound System)

Color:

Black and White (Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Henry Brandon was only 21 when he was cast as the decrepit old villain Silas Barnaby, and the filmmakers took advantage of his youth to make the character more flamboyantly physical. This included a vigorous fight scene with Tom-Tom (played by Felix Knight), culminating with Barnaby taking a 15-foot tumble off a rock ledge to the ground below. After "Babes in Toyland" became a hit Brandon was personally criticized by several old Hollywood character actors, who thought it was unfair that the role went to someone so young. He recalled, "I didn't have the courage to tell them that the part would have killed them - because they ran me ragged! An old man couldn't have played it!" See more »

Goofs

At the very end of the song "Never Mind Bo-Peep" (just after the crowd disperses, and only Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep remain), Tom-Tom is wearing a ring on his right hand (perhaps a wedding band?) It disappears when he sits down next to Bo-Peep, and isn't seen again for the rest of the movie. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Chief of Police: Come, come, children. On your way to school.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The titles appear on a child's toy building block that falls into position onscreen. See more »

Alternate Versions

The film was restored and colorized for TV showings and video release in 1991 by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. In 2006, the complete print was restored and colorized by Legend Films, using the latest technology. Although the Legend Films release was advertised under its reissue title, both the color and black and white prints featured the original title and opening credits. Both colorized versions correctly depict Stan's hair as being red, not medium brown as it appears in other colorized Laurel and Hardy movies. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sledge Hammer!: Sledge in Toyland (1987) See more »

Soundtracks

I Can't Do The Sum
(1903) (uncredited)
Music by Victor Herbert
Frequently heard as background music during the film
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User Reviews

 
Toy Story
12 January 2007 | by lugonianSee all my reviews

BABES IN TOYLAND (Hal Roach/MGM, 1934), directed Gus Meins and Charles Rogers, is a musical fairy tale based on Victor Herbert's 1903 operetta that became tailor-made for the talents of comedy team Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy in what's considered to be their very best and highly acclaimed adaptation taken from an operatic work, thanks to its fine script, comedy material and notable storybook characters brought to life on the screen. In spite of Stan and Ollie having to take time away from the screen in favor of plot development, musical interludes and romantic subplot, even appearing nearly ten minutes from the start of the story, the movie, overall, succeeds.

Set in the mythical land of Toyland, Widow Peep (Florence Roberts) is an old woman about to be evicted from her home by the evil Silas Barnaby (Henry Brandon) unless her mortgage is paid. Barnaby is willing to overlook the matter and offer her the deed in favor of being honored for having her daughter, Bo-Peep (Charlotte Henry) as his bride. Bo-Peep loves Tom Tom Piper (Felix Knight, dressed like Peter Pan), and will have nothing to do with him. Stanley Dumb (Stan Laurel) and Oliver Dee (Oliver Hardy), a couple of toy-makers who take up room and board in Widow Peep's home, attempt to help by asking their employer, the toy master (William Burress) for an advance in salary, but because Stanley confused Santa Claus's (Ferdinand Munier) order 600 toy soldiers at one foot high, thus giving him 100 toy soldiers at six foot high instead of 600 soldiers at 1 foot high, they both get fired, and must come up with another solution in rescuing Bo-Peep from the clutches of Barnaby.

A memorable score by Victor Herbert, only a few were selected for the screen, including: "Toyland" (sung by Virginia Karns); "Don't Cry, Bo-Peep, Don't Cry" (sung by Felix Knight); "The Castles in Spain," "Go to Sleep, Slumber Deep" and "The March of the Toys (Wooden Soldiers)." Some reissue prints retitled MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS eliminate Mother Goose's opening of "Toyland" as she opens the "Babes in Toyland" storybook and introduces it main characters in song: Little Bo Peep who lost her sheep; Tom Tom the Piper's Son; The Little Old Lady Who Lived in a Shoe (Widow Peep); Silas Barnaby, "the meanest man in town"; Hi Diddle Diddle, The Cat and the Fiddle; Three Little Pigs: Elmer, Willie and Jiggs; and finally Stanley Dumb and Oliver Dee, "they love to sleep as you can see;" along with the "Go to Sleep" number, having recently been restored on both video and DVD distributions ranging from colorized to original black and white photography. The musical interludes are not overdone yet capture the mood of the story. In fact, more than half of Victor Herbert's original score has been cast aside in keeping the story to average length (79 minutes).

Charlotte Henry, who starred in Paramount's fantasy to Lewis Carroll's now forgotten screen adaptation of ALICE IN WONDERLAND (Paramount, 1933), is ideally cast as Bo-Peep. Had fate taken a different turn, one wonders if Henry would have succeeded playing Dorothy in THE WIZARD OF OZ had the L. Frank Baum story been brought to the screen about this time instead of 1939? It so happens that TOYLAND and OZ are similar in nature. They are both set in a mythical land; Silas Barnaby and the Wicked Witch are evil individuals who bring fear to those around them; Barnaby is assisted by hideous Bogeymen while the Witch has her flying monkeys; Laurel and Hardy are do-gooders similar to the Tin Man and the Scarecrow; and finally Toyland citizens bursting into song. Unlike most fantasies of this sort, BABES IN TOYLAND is not one extended dream sequence from which the leading character awakens back to reality as did Dorothy at her farm in Kansas following her Technicolor experience in the land of OZ. This is Toyland from start to finish, with a touch of Disneyland as one of the citizens of Toyland looking very much like Mickey Mouse!

While as Dee and Dumb, Laurel and Hardy perform their roles in their usual traditional manner, but minus their trademark derbys. Their key scenes include having them sneaking into Barnaby's home to retrieve Widow Peep's deed only to get caught, thanks to Stanley, and being sentenced to public dunking in a pond of cold water (only Ollie gets the treatment) and thrown out of Toyland into Boogeyland forever (the same fate later set for Tom-Tom accused of pig-napping Elmer, thanks to Barnaby); their participation in Barnaby's wedding, as well as the grand finale where the toy soldiers are brought to life from the toy factory in their war against the bogeymen with Stan and Ollie's ammunition of darts fired from the cannon. Great march formation and still photography outdoes any computer technology today since more effort was put into this sequence alone. Cartoon violence is the essence here, especially when Ollie falls victim to it in the Wile E. Coyote tradition, but not to the extreme.

More Laurel and Hardy than Victor Herbert, BABES IN TOYLAND is geared for children and adults alike, especially adults who watched this annually on television during the Christmas when they were kids themselves since the 1950s. In recent years, TOYLAND aired on American Movie Classics (1994-1996) and finally Turner Classic Movies (TCM premiere: December 24, 2012, with original theatrical title intact). Remade theatrically in 1961 by Walt Disney Productions, then again as either television movies or new theatrical adaptations in later years, it's the 1934 original that appears to live on happily ever after. (***1/2)


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