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Thursday, November 25, 2010

Babes In Toyland -- AKA March Of The Wooden Soldiers

Get 'March of the Wooden Soldiers' on DVD (Colorized and Black & White)

It’s the only way to kick off the holiday season.

Old King Cole (the King of Toyland), Mother Goose, Little Bo Peep, Tom Thumb, a mouse resembling Mickey Mouse (and actually played by a live monkey in a costume). A mortgage on a shoe that is owned by the villainous Silas Barnaby (who is looking to marry Bo Peep). 100 wooden soldiers at six feet tall, (instead of 600 soldiers at one foot tall). True love, trickery, incompetence, burglary charges, dunking (in the ducking stool), banishment to Bogeyland, a wedding, a pignapping, caves, giant spider webs, secret passageways at the bottom of an empty well, an army of torch-wielding Bogeymen, an alligator infested river... this and much more is just part of another day in the life of our dimwit heroes Stan and Ollie (AKA Laurel and Hardy).

Babes In Toyland, AKA March Of The Wooden Soldiers, was renamed for its famous scene where the six-foot tall, toy soldiers, march in a stop-motion animation sequence which then changes to live action, attacking the Bogeymen with the bayonets of their rifles, defeating and trapping the evil Barnaby who is then covered by blocks that spell "rat", and driving the Bogeymen back into Bogeyland, where alligators appear to feast on them, eventually saving the kingdom of Toyland.

As the film concludes, Stan and Ollie give the Bogeymen a parting shot with a dart-filled cannon. Stan aims the cannon and lights the fuse, as Ollie turns away to avoid the loud blast, the barrel of the cannon flips backwards and unleashes the barrage of darts on Ollie, covering his back with darts. The film ends with Stan pulling them out one by one as Ollie winces.

All current prints of this film carry its re-release title MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS, though only the colorized version and the black-and-white version released by RHI International contain all the original footage (other prints delete the opening sequence with Mother Goose).

Original script written by Hal Roach, December, 1933. Final script completed July, 1934. Filmed February, August - October, 1934. Produced by Hal Roach. Directed by Charles Rogers and Gus Meins. 79 minutes.

Cast: Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy, Charlotte Henry, Felix Knight, Henry Brandon, Florence Roberts, William Burress, Kewpie Morgan.

STORY: Evil Silas Barnaby wants to evict poor Widow Peep from her giant shoe, marry her lovely and innocent daughter Bo-Peep, and, ultimately, destroy Toyland. He is thwarted at every turn by the efforts of toy-factory employees Ollie Dee and Stannie Dum, culminating in a battle between Barnaby's Bogeymen and an army of six-foot-tall wooden soldiers.

Get It