March of the Wooden Soldiers VHS GOODTIMES COLOR CLASSIC
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March of the Wooden Soldiers VHS GOODTIMES COLOR CLASSIC! ISBN 1-55510-635-8. 78 mins. Originally entitled "Babes in Toyland" and based on Victor Herbert's operetta, this highly rated comedy/fantasy stars Laurel and Hardy as do-gooders trying to help the people of toyland fight an evil villain. The most lavish feature built around Laurel and Hardy, 1934's March of the Wooden Soldiers is also the most bizarre. Opening unpromisingly with one of several mawkish numbers derived from Victor Herbert's musical Babes in Toyland, the antics of toyshop laborers Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee are worked into a scenario midway between Lewis Carroll and the Brothers Grimm. Nursery-rhyme characters come and go in a surreal fantasy, with the evil Mr. Barnaby threatening to evict Widow Peep from her shoe unless he receives her daughter Bo in marriage. The movie culminates in a full-scale invasion of Toyland by the yeti-ish Bogeymen and their defeat by the 100 six-foot wooden soldiers which Stan and Ollie have built by mistake. Henry Brandon gives a characterful performance, while 1930s child star Charlotte Henry is an appealing heroine. Directors Gus Meins and Charles R. Rogers milk the slapstick to an increasingly unnerving degree. Reputedly Hardy's favorite among the double act's features, March of the Wooden Soldiers emerges now as their most audacious screen appearance. The Laurel and Hardy classic was the fantastic result of combining two tremendous talents with a childlike, fantasy world and adult situations (Laurel and Hardy, Toyland and an evil landlord's mortgage conspiracy, respectively). Such rich source material makes for a film of unsurpassed quality: featuring rich and imaginative environments, costumes, sights and sounds. Every fairytale has its day, from Little Bo Peep to the Three Little Pigs to Mother Goose, and even Santa. We all know that the winter months are a time to remember to greatest holiday classics from years past, and March of the Wooden Soldiers is unsurpassed in its genre. The holidays are associated with bright and festive colors--bright reds, greens, blues and golds--that set a warm and cheery mood, and the movies that we choose to enjoy during this season are no different. Fortunately, this edition of March of the Wooden Soldiers has been colorized, bringing newfound vibrancy to the events on screen and helping to integrate this classic tale with the traditional warmth of the holiday season. Rather than a visually dull grayscale that reminds one of the dour winter weather, toy soldiers shimmer in brilliant red onscreen, and our two comedian leads are further humanized by their newfound flesh tones and colorful Christmas garb.1-55510-635-8
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