November 22, 2016
Babes in Toyland (1934).
Review #875: Babes in Toyland.
Stan Laurel (Stannie Dum), Oliver Hardy (Ollie Dee), Charlotte Henry (Little Bo-Peep), Felix Knight (Tom-Tom Piper), Henry Brandon (Silas Barnaby), Florence Roberts (Mother Widow Peep), Virginia Karns (Mother Goose), Pete Gordon (The Cat and the Fiddle), Angelo Rossitto (Elmer the Pig), Zebedy Colt (Willie the Pig), Payne B. Johnson (Jiggs the Pig), Marie Wilson (Mary Quite Contrary), Johnny Downs (Little Boy Blue), Alice Moore (the Queen of Hearts), John George (Barnaby's servant), Kewpie Morgan (Old King Cole), Ferdinand Munier (Santa Claus), Robert Hoover (Bobby Shaftoe), Charley Rogers (Simple Simon), Jean Darling (Curly Locks), Billy Bletcher (the Chief of Police), and William Burress (the Toymaker) Directed by Gus Meins and Charles Rogers.
Considering that I had never seen a Laurel and Hardy film in the near six year run of Movie Night, it only made sense to do this film right near the holidays. Based off the operetta of the same name, Babes in Toyland (later re-released under the title March of the Wooden Soldiers) is a fairly engaging movie that has a good deal of sets, imagination, and songs that really make for an entertaining watch. Laurel and Hardy have great chemistry and timing together, sharing rip-roaring scenes, such as the peewee scene. They also have some fine exchanges, along with some good wordplay. The rest of the cast is also pretty good, with Henry and Knight sharing a few songs and some chemistry together that contribute to make for such a lively and interesting film. The climax with the wooden soldiers is also pretty charming, filled with joy and some technical achievement, complete with Laurel and Hardy getting in on some fun. The costumes are also pretty good as well, with a world like Toyland being so creatively designed. There are different versions of the film (one of which cuts the film to 67 minutes from the original 77), with a colorized version also existing, which looks fairly decent, but if you're interested in the film, always try to find the best version for a movie as good-hearted as this.
Overall, I give it 8 out of 10 stars.