Friday, November 23, 2018

YouTube Theatre: March of The Wooden Soldiers (aka Babes in Toyland)(1934)

Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland was first adapted for the big screen by Hal Roach in 1934, and starring Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy. However, for whatever reason, the film has been reissued under the title, "The March of The Wooden Soldiers", which refers to a climatic scene in the film.

"Wooden Soldiers" is a loose adaptation of Herbert's original story, and has been an annual holiday tradition in New York, airing on WPIX even to this day.

Stannie Dumm (Laurel) & Ollie Dee (Hardy) live with the Old Woman in a Shoe, and take action when the nefarious Mr. Barnaby threatens to foreclose unless Little Bo-Peep agrees to marry him. Why would she even give a pathetic scoundrel like Barnaby the time of day anyway? Laurel & Hardy's characters, in case you can't figure it out, are based on Tweedledum & Tweedledee from Alice in Wonderland.

Babes in Toyland has been adapted twice more, at least. Disney gave it a shot in 1961, and there was a TV-movie in the 80's with Richard Moll (Night Court), Keanu Reeves, and Drew Barrymore.

Apparently, the reason for the looser adaptation was to allow room for Laurel & Hardy's usual schtick. I think the 1986 TV-movie was a little shorter in length.

Rating: B+.

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