March of the Wooden SoldiersDirector: Gus Meins, Charles Rogers
March of the Wooden Soldiers is the 1952 reissue title for Hal Roach's 1934 film version of Victor Herbert's Babes in Toyland. Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy star as Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, bumbling apprentices to the master toymaker of Toyland. This joyous fairy-tale community is populated by all the colorful Mother Goose characters we know and love; the one sour apple in the barrel is mean old Silas Barnaby (portrayed by Henry Kleinbach, aka Henry Brandon). Barnaby holds the mortgage on the outsized shoe where Widow Peep (Florence Roberts) and her daughter Little Bo Peep (Charlotte Henry) reside, and where Stannie and Ollie pay room and board. Bo Peep will be forced to marry the odious Barnaby if the rent isn't paid, so Stannie and Ollie try to raise the money by asking the toymaker for a raise. But the boys are fired when Stannie messes up an order from Santa Claus: instead of making six hundred toy soldiers one foot high, the dumb Mr. Dum makes one hundred toy soldiers six feet high. The wedding between Barnaby and Bo Peep goes on as planned--except that it's Stannie, disguised as the bride, who ends up walking down the altar. Publicly humiliated, Barnaby vows revenge. He steals one of the Three Little Pigs and places the blame on Bo Peep's boy friend, Tom-Tom the Piper's Son (Felix Knight). The penalty for pignapping is banishment to Bogeyland, a fearsome subterranean world populated by hideous bogeymen (look closely and you'll see the zippers on their costumes!) Stannie and Ollie expose Barnaby's perfidy and rescue Tom-Tom from Bogeyland, whereupon Barnaby rallies the bogeymen and leads an all-out attack on Toyland. Taking refuge in the toy warehouse, Stannie and Ollie activate the 100 6-foot wooden soldiers (a neat bit of stop-motion photography, courtesy of Hal Roach's "fx" wizard Roy Seawright), who vanquish the Bogeymen and save the day. One of the best of all the Laurel and Hardy features, March of the Wooden Soldiers has been a television holiday perennial ever since the cathode tube was invented. Only a handful of Victor Herbert's songs are utilized, but these lilting compositions more than compensate for the omissions (one song, "I Can't Do That Sum," is used as the leitmotif for the clueless Stannie and Ollie). For years available only in the 70-minute reissue version, March of the Wooden Soldiers has recently been fully restored to its full glorious 78 minutes. The parent property Babes in Toyland was remade by Disney in 1961 (with Gene Sheldon and Henry Calvin as Laurel and Hardy wannabes) and for television in 1986, with new songs by Leslie Bricusse.
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Cast & Crew
|Stan Laurel||Stanley Dum|
|Oliver Hardy||Oliver Dee|
|Florence Roberts||Mother Peep|
|Marie Wilson||Mary Quite Contrary|
|Ferdinand Munier||Santa Claus|
|Virginia Karns||Mother Goose|
|John George||Barnaby's Minion|
|Pete Gordon||Cat and the Fiddle|
|Alice Moore||Queen of Hearts|
|Alice Cook||Mother Hubbard|
|Frank Austin||Justice of the peace|
|Billy Bletcher||Chief of police|
|Alice Dahl||Little Miss Muffett|
|Jean Darling||Curly Locks|
|Johnny Downs||Little Boy Blue|
|Sumner Getchell||Tom Thumb|
|Gus Leonard||Candle snuffer|
|Kewpie Morgan||Old King Cole|
|Buddy Rogers||Simple Simon|
|Frank R. Butler||Screenwriter|
|Harry Jackson||Musical Direction/Supervision|
|Howard Jackson||Musical Direction/Supervision|
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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I'm 24 years old and grew up watching Laurel and Hardy with my dad. It's refreshing to watch a classic comedy without worrying about covering my children's eyes when they watch it.
March of the Wooden Soldiers has always been a holiday favorite of mine and thus I was saddened when the local NY stations seemed to shy away from featuring the film on Thanksgiving. Interested in obtaining the best available version of the film I first purchased the recommended Goodtimes and Passport reissues of the film. A few days later I came across this most recently relased Legend edition. Last Sunday I compared the three DVDs. No question, while I at one time might have agreed with earlier reviews claiming the Passport B&W version as the most acurate representation of the film and the Goodtimes version as the best of the color incarnations, they both now pale in light of this latest Legend release. First, the Legend package includes both restored B&W and colorized versions of the film. In both cases, the transfers are crisper, brighter, present higher detail resolution and are cleaner overall. In B&W the detail of Barnaby's coat, Stannie's legging patches and all relevant graphics have been enhanced. The compromise here might be the bit of edginess that goes along with such detail enhancement, but in reality its a small price to pay. As for the renewed colorization process, the detail resolution will have you marveling at the nuance of refined color detail here not even remotely evident in the Goodtimes edition. Second, let me reiterate, you've got two films here, not one and each one included is BETTER than any other previous MOTWS release ever released!! In short, Legend wins hands down as today's new MOTWS holy grail. Anyone interested in a coupla slightly used Goodimes and Passport DVDs?
We grew up watching this movie, which aired immediatley after the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. What a great way to spend the morning out of school, waiting for all the wonderful treats baking in the oven. I plan to start this tradition with my own family now!
I GREW UP WATCHING THIS WONDERFUL HOLIDAY CLASSIC. MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOILDERS IS MINE AND MY MOTHER'S FAVORITE HOLIDAY MOVIE. WE WOULD WATCH IT EVERY YEAR THAT THEY SHOWED THE FILM. WE LOVED THE MUSIC AND CLASSIC COMEDY OF LAUREL AND HARDY. THIS A MUST BUY FOR ANYONE'S VIDEO COLLECTION.
my grandfather bought this movie for me as a child,and i always loved it dearly because it's a wonderful movie. i recommend it for all ages
One of my favorite Laurel & Hardy movies & love the 30's operetta music. Fun to watch the pioneer days of special effects (we've come a long way!). BUT. Movie is completely spoiled by colorization, so don't buy it unless you can find in B&W. Don't know why, but color wrecks it. Anybody know where to get it in B&W?
I watched this movie as a child (non-colorized) and it scared me to death. I waited every Christmas just to see this movie but unfortunately I usually caught the end of it. I bought the movie on VHS more than 15 years ago and delighted in seeing my nephew cower from the boogey men. Our favorite part is when the toy soldiers march through Toyland and the little mouse commandeers a hot air balloon to help save the day. When the marching soldier theme plays as the soldiers are activated, I cannot help but get up and march along with them. I love, love, love this movie and it puts me in the holiday spirit like nothing else. I am so glad it is out on DVD, especially since I cannot find my VHS tape.
Definitely a Holiday Classic!!!
March of the Wooden Soldiers is a classic and we love it except for the part that we didn't realize that it wasn't in color, but we still love it.
Laurel and Hardy's best movie. Great for the entire family to watch. This is a classic, well worth buying as a gift or for yourself.