Babes in Toyland


Action / Comedy / Family / Fantasy / Musical

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 100%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 80%
IMDb Rating 7.4 10 5130


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Downloaded 31,685 times
January 24, 2015 at 09:56 PM



Stan Laurel as Stannie Dum
Henry Brandon as Barnaby
Oliver Hardy as Ollie Dee
Ellen Corby as Townswoman at Tom-Tom's Trial
1.23 GB
23.976 fps
1hr 17 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by JohnHowardReid 9 / 10

A riot of action and fun!

Director: GUS MEINS. Director of scenes and segments in which Laurel and Hardy appear: CHARLES R. ROGERS. Screenplay: Nick Grinde, Frank Butler. Based on the 1902 operetta Babes in Toyland by Victor Herbert (music) and Glen MacDonough (book and lyrics). Comedy scenes devised by Stan Laurel with the assistance of a team of gag men including Frank Terry. Photography: Art Lloyd, Francis Corby. Film editors: William Terhune, Bert Jordan. Music director: Harry Jackson. Additional song, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" by Ann Ronell and Frank Churchill. Special effects: Roy Seawright (director), Art Lloyd (photographer). Barnaby's make-up: Jim Collins. Assistant director: Gordon Douglas. Sound recording: Elmer R. Raguse. Producer: Hal Roach. A Hal Roach Studios Production.

Copyright 28 November 1934 by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corporation. New York opening at the Astor: 12 December 1934. U.S. release: 30 November 1934. U.K. release: April 1935. Australian release: 13 March 1935. 79 minutes


SYNOPSIS: Stannie and Ollie are boarders in a shoe owned by the Widow Peep but mortgaged to Barnaby (the meanest man in Toyland). The boys undertake to borrow the mortgage money from their employer, the toy-maker, but this ploy fails when the boys are fired after a series of mishaps. When the mortgage becomes due, Barnaby not only throws the widow and her daughter, Bo, into the street but accuses the boys of pignapping.

NOTES: Re-made by Walt Disney (as "Babes in Toyland") in 1961. Disney and Roach were close friends. In the Disney version, Ray Bolger starred as Barnaby, Tommy Sands played Tom Piper, Ed Wynn was the toy-maker and Annette Funicello portrayed Mary Quite Contrary.

The original stage musical opened on Broadway in 1903. Directed by Julian Mitchell, it starred William Norris, Bessie Wynn, George W. Denham and Mabel Barrison. It ran a most successful 192 performances.

The "mouse" who shares some delightful scenes with the cat and flies a balloon at the climax of this movie, was reportedly enacted by a monkey!

COMMENT: An absolute delight, "March of the Wooden Soldiers" (as it is now known) was produced on the most expansive budget ever utilized on a Roach feature. And it's all up there on the screen in magnificent costumes and eye-popping sets. Thanks to Gus Meins' lively direction, the pace is fast and furious. Many of the Toyland characters flit by at the speed of knots.

Laurel and Hardy fortunately emerge unscathed (they worked in a different unit, nominally under the control of director/actor Charley Rogers), contributing many delightful moments including a priceless bit of foolery when Stannie wishes Ollie "Good night!" We also enjoyed Miss Henry (Alice of Alice in Wonderland) as a radiant Bo-Peep and Florence Roberts (who replaced Margaret Seddon) as the shoe-living widow. Felix Knight has a wonderful voice which does more than justice to Herbert's melodies. And of course Herbert's still-famous "March of the Wooden Soldiers" accompanies the wonderfully glorious climactic free-for- all as hundreds of bogeymen run amuck in the vast Toyland sets.

OTHER VIEWS: A superb example of collaborative film-making skill, "March of the Wooden Soldiers" was filmed simultaneously by two units under different directors, yet the result is a pleasingly harmonious whole with no visible seams. The sets are absolutely out of this world, the comedy bright, the songs tuneful, the climax a riot of action and fun. Although they play characters a trifle removed from their customary offerings, Babe and Stan are in top form.

Reviewed by Leofwine_draca 6 / 10

A slow start, but it builds to a great climax

BABES IN TOYLAND is something of a departure for comedy stars Laurel & Hardy. Nearly all of their movies were contemporary comedies set in the real world, whereas this is an out-and-out fairy tale set in the magical world of 'Toyland' which is where all the characters from the famous fairy tales hang out. Our stars are playing thinly-disguised versions of Tweedledum and Tweedledee, but you'll be pleased to hear that they're their usual idiotic selves.

Truth be told, the first half of this production isn't great. The humour feels a bit forced and the comedy routines just aren't as funny as elsewhere. In addition, the plot is slow and only the scheming villain Barnaby engages. The dated musical numbers don't help much either. The good news is that things pick up more and more as the film nears the climax, building to a lavish, large-scale action sequence which is quite jaw-dropping. It utilises dozens of extras, stop motion effects, and a lot of visual creativity and is one of the most exciting, amusing, and inventive things I can remember watching lately. In short, it saves the movie.

Reviewed by Lee Eisenberg 5 / 10

Whatever you think of the movie overall, you gotta admit one thing: Little Bo Peep is a HOTTIE

No doubt you already understand that "Babes in Toyland" is a Laurel and Hardy movie, so you should have an idea of what to expect. Another thing to note is that it's a musical, and it's sometimes known as a Christmas movie (despite taking place in July). The list of Christmas-themed movies encompasses social commentary (A Christmas Carol), science fiction (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians*), silly comedy (Scrooged), black comedy (Gremlins), and the usual plethora of sappy movies. This one depicts a land populated by characters from nursery rhymes and children's stories. That is, except for the landlord threatening to throw Mother Peep out of her shoe-shaped house unless he can get married to Little Bo Peep. Meanwhile, Stan and Ollie work in the toy factory and constantly make a mess of things.

I thought that the musical interludes weakened the movie. The scenes that I really liked were the wedding and the sequence in Bogeyland (which in this case refers to the bogeyman, not Humphrey Bogart). But above all, Little Bo Peep is a REAL looker. Seriously, Charlotte Henry must've had to beat boys off with a stick in school.

So, while it's very unlike anything else that Stan and Ollie did, it's enjoyable enough for the 77 minutes that it runs. It's neat that they filmed it in Culver City, now the location of "Jeopardy!".

And remember: peewees.

*"Mystery Science Theater 3000" riffed that movie. It was practically made to get riffed.

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