Babes in ToylandDirector: Jack Donohue
This second film adaptation of the Victor Herbert operetta "Babes in Toyland" was producer Walt Disney's Christmas offering for 1961. The 1903 Herbert original had very little in the way of a plot, so screenwriters Joe Rinaldi, Lowell S. Hawley, and Ward Kimball lifted elements from the 1934 filmization of Toyland, which starred Laurel and Hardy. Annette Funicello plays Mary Contrary, about to wed Tom Piper (Tommy Sands) in the heart of Mother Goose Village. The villainous Barnaby (Ray Bolger), who covets Mary for himself, orders his bumbling henchmen Gonzorgo (Henry Calvin) and Roderigo (Gene Sheldon) to do away with Tom. Hoping to turn a profit, Gonzorgo and Roderigo sell Tom to a band of gypsies, enabling Tom to make a surprise return-in old-lady drag to rescue Mary from Barnaby's clutches. Later, Mary's younger siblings (including Disney regular Moochie Corcoran) wander into the Forest of No Return, compelling Tom and Mary to go after them. Everyone winds up in Toyland, where they try to help the Toymaker (Ed Wynn) and his invention-happy assistant Grumio (Tommy Kirk) meet their quota for Santa Claus despite the continued meddlings of Barnaby. Keep an eye peeled for 11-year-old Ann Jillian, making her screen debut as Bo Peep.
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- Walt Disney Video
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Cast & Crew
|Tommy Sands||Tom Piper|
|Annette Funicello||Mary Contrary|
|Kevin Corcoran||Boy Blue|
|Mary McCarty||Mother Goose|
|Ann Jillian||Bo Peep|
|Brian Corcoran||Willie Winkie|
|Marilee & Melanie Arnold||Twins|
|Jerry Glenn||Simple Simon|
|David Pinson||Bobby Shaftoe|
|Bryan Russell||The Little Boy|
|George Bruns||Score Composer|
|Lowell S. Hawley||Screenwriter|
|Bill Thomas||Costumes/Costume Designer|
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Although there are no special features on this DVD - along with it being in full-screen, I yearn for a stereo version and a widescreen edition (if that's going to be ever possible). The colors are bright and the surround sound is fabulous mono, but they obviously didn't remaster the original negative of the film as you still see specks and even occasional upper-right ''roll-change'' circles! It seems the picture is uncentered at times (that could be like the original), esp noted at the beginning credits on the right-side, along with scenes like ''Won't be Happy 'till we Get It'' at the ending.. But alas, if you're a fan of this movie for the music along with Annette, Bolger, Wynn and young Ann Jullian with a DVD player getting dusty, be sure you don't spend more than $15 here. Disney never released a soundtrack on CD for this classic (except for the old Disneyland vinal LP in the 60's), so this defdinately makes up for that.
I enjoyed watching it every year at Christmas!