5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legend edition wins hands down
March of the Wooden Soldiers has always been a holiday favorite of mine and thus I was saddened when the local NY stations stopped 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 upon the most recently released Legend...
Published on Nov. 21 2006 by I. Sherman
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Same as Was in Theaters
What was once shown on television around the Thanksgiving-Xmas seasons over 30 years ago is not what is on this video. There is at least a good five (5) minutes missing from it. The scene is where Tom-Tom has been banished to Bogey-Land and Bo-Peep is with him. He sings to her to go to sleep as they are both very tired. It is evident that this was copied from...
Published on Jan. 9 2000 by Helen Blas-Wilson
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Legend edition wins hands down,
This review is from: March of the Wooden Soldiers [Import] (DVD)
March of the Wooden Soldiers has always been a holiday favorite of mine and thus I was saddened when the local NY stations stopped 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 upon the most recently released Legend edition. On 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 accurate representation of the film, and the Goodtimes version as the best of the color incarnations, they both have now been blown out of the water with this latest Legend package. 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 graphics have been enhanced. The compromise might be the bit of edginess that goes along with such detail enhancement but overall its a small price to pay. As for the colorization, the detail resolution will have you marveling at a nuance in new color detail not even remotely evident in the Goodtimes edition. Second, well a better deal is just a better deal!
In short, Legend lives up to its name here. Anyone interested in slightly used Goodtimes and Passport DVDs? Please?
5.0 out of 5 stars "I Don't Love 'im!",
By A Customer
This review is from: Laurel & Hardy:March of the Wo (DVD)
What a pleasure to find March of the Wooden Soldiers in glorious black & white! This Passport Video release (listed by Amazon as Koch Entertainment for some unfathomable reason) presumably contains the full-length version (77+ minutes) and is of very high quality. Audio is nice clear mono, and the video is just fine--flicker occurs occasionally, but nothing major and the images are sharp with good contrast. One is easily able to navigate the chapters and can scan in either direction and pause, which sometimes isn't the case with budget DVD's. It would be nice if subtitles were available (I have foreign-born friends who like to "see" and hear English simultaneously), as well as a printed list of chapters, but these are minor quibbles. A bonus short of the boys' first screen appearance together is also included and is lots of fun.
As much as I detest colorization of black & white classics, both in principle and for aesthetic reasons, I've read so many favorable reviews of the colorized version of this film that I'd be willing to give it a shot, especially considering its price. One reviewer wrote that she remembers seeing a hand-tinted print of this film at the movies when she was a child in the 50's, so clearly there's precedent. It would be nice to get a choice of both on one disk--maybe something along this line will turn up eventually. In the meantime, my recommendation is that first-time viewers see it the way audiences in 1934 saw it and then move on to "color" if so inclined. Either way, this is a fabulous film--it's about time justice was done to it, but better late than never. Thank goodness I no longer have to depend on the whims of local TV stations with their edits and commercials to watch one of my holiday favorites.
5.0 out of 5 stars THE ORIGINAL BABES IN TOYLAND,
This review is from: Babes in Toyland (VHS Tape)
Few films in history achieve the rank of a beloved family classic, enjoyed anew by each succeeding generation. "March of the Wooden Soldiers", based on Victor Herbert's famed 1903 operetta, "Babes In Toyland", is one such timeless masterpiece. The greatest comedy team in films, Stan Laurel & Oliver Hardy, star in this elaboarate musical fairytale of innocence and optimism.
The boys are Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, hapless employees of Toyland's toy factory, who room in Old Mother Peep's shoe. Faced with eviction by they evil Silas Barnaby (Henry Brandon. Credited as Harry Kleinbach), Mother Peep (Florence Roberts) needs to raise her mortgage. But the boys' plan to get the money from the Toymaker (William Burress) goes awry. It seems Santa Claus (Ferdinand Munier) ordered 600 wooden soldiers one foot tall. But, unfortunately (as fate would have it), Stannie took the order. And the result is 100 soldiers six feet tall. The boys are fired.
An attempt to steal the mortgage from Barnaby's house ends in the boys being found guilty of burglary. Sentenced to be dunked and exiled to Bogeyland forever, the charges are dropped by Barnaby when Bo-Peep (Charlotte Henry) consents to marry him, although she is in love with Tom-Tom the Piper's son (Felix Knight). Tricked into giving up the mortgage with a bogus wedding, Barnaby gains revenge by pignapping one of the Three Little Pigs, and planting the evidence in Tom-Tom's house. Stannie and Ollie discover the ruse.
Chasing Barnaby into Bogeyland, they rescue Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep. But Barnaby leads the Bogeymen to destroy all of Toyland. In the thrilling finale, Stannie and Ollie activate the wooden soldiers. And to the strains of the majestic "March of the Toys", rout the Bogeymen and save Toyland.
A spectacular entertaining film, with familiar music, high production values, and charming performances by the much loved Laurel & Hardy, "March of the Wooden Soldiers" is a must for any video collection. One of the truly great movies of all time.
5.0 out of 5 stars Lets give them a parting shot of words!,
Good Toy Soldiers that march around and whack Bogeymen!that's what you'll find in this epic of Stan-liness and Ollie-Folly.The final sequence is as terrifying as the siege of Gondor
in Peter Jackson's Return of the King!It's scary when you see the Boogiemen burst in the door and carry all the citizens off.
There's no General Gandalf to rally the troops,only Stan and Ollie. They repel boarders using peewee darts, zeppelins, cannons and six foot tall wooden soldiers!Barnaby is such an evil villain,that looks kind of like a werewolf Bogeyman!The special effects are good too,like invisible little gnomes,that look like Gimli,Horrifying bogeymen that look like orcs with good costumes,and a Toyland village that probably took as much work to make as Hobbiton! Then you've got two little characters,Bo-peep and Tom-Tom, who are very much in love,but are threatened by the evil Silas Barnaby and mean Toymaker who says,"What was that?!?",when asked for money to pay off the mortgage owed by Peeps Mother to Barnaby,so that Peep won't have to marry Silas!Simple,isn't it?But Stan and Ollie will endure duckings in the pond,darts,Bogeymen,and even the big man himself,to make sure Tom and Peep live happily ever after!See this movie without delay or you are a fool of a Took!
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurel & Hardy Come To Fairyland and bring their fun Too!,
This review is from: March of the Wooden Soldiers (VHS Tape)
In their third film opera spoof.Stan And Ollie bring their unique comedy to fairyland and we're all the better for it.Here they not only fit into the Mother Goose fantasy motif'but they're also able to bring their unique approach to spoofing man's foilbels and maintain their childlike demenors.The plot of "March Of The Wooden Soldiers"(The film was originally released by Hal Roach Studios and MGM in the late fall of 1934 as "Babes In Toyland!")has the evil and lecherious mortage holder:"Silas Barnaby"(Henry Kleinbach Brandon)forcing "Mother Peep"(Flo Roberts)to have her daughter:"Little Bo Peep"(Charolette Henry)marry him as an alternitive to prevent "Barnaby"from evicting the members of "The Peep"household.When the poor old matriach is unable to pay her mortage bill.But "Stannie Dum & Ollie Dee"(L&H)spoil the villian's plans.When "Stannie"impersonate "Ms.Peep"(Ms.Henry)during "Barnaby's"nupuals.Angered at being made a fool.The vendictive "Barnaby"pignapps One of "The Three Little Pigs":"Elmer"(Angelo Russitto) and frames "Ms.Peep's"boyfriend"Tom Tom Piper"(Felix Knight)for pignapping the little guy.After Poor"Tom Tom"(Mr.Knight)is sent to the frightening relm of"Bogeyland"."Stannie & Ollie"Realize that "Barnaby's"evidence is a fake(The string of pork sauages that was found in "Tom Tom's"house is nothing more than a string of beef hot dogs!).They search The villian's basement and find:"Elmer"a prisoner.Bringing the little guy before "Old King Cole"(Kewpie Morgan)and his subjects.The angry mob chases after "Barnaby".Who escapes down the well in his backyard(Which is a secret entrance to "Bogeyland)"Stannie & Ollie"help "Tom Tom"and"Bo Peep"(Who went after her love)escape from "Bogeyland".But "Barnaby" soon takes command of "The Bogeymen Monsters".And launches an attack on "Old King Cole's"(Mr.Morgan's)relm of "Toyland!".But "Stannie & Ollie"Foil the villian with their armies of giant size toy wooden soldiers .Who march against "Barnaby's"Armada to the strains of Vic Herbert's"March Of The Toys!".The film is filled with great songs,music, an enchanting storyline,beautiful sets(made even more charming via the new process of Colorization),lovely costumes and the beloved comedy of L&H.For those families..who need to find the perfect family film for the holidays(and for those fans of this classic holiday musical comedy film.."Babes In Toyland!"the original 1903 Broadway stage production celebraites it's 100th anniversary this year!).This is the one movie to have in you VHS/DVD Collection.Bravo Stan And Babe! Kevin S.Butler.
5.0 out of 5 stars I Wish I Were a Citizen of Toyland, Too!,
Tom-Tom announces his engagement to Bo-Peep by jumping up on the stocks and proclaiming, "Citizens of Toyland! I want you all to meet, the future Mrs. Piper!" and then all the characters burst into a frenzied happy little dance to a whimsical piece of music--one of my favorite scenes in this classic adaptation of the famous Victor Herbert operetta, "Babes in Toyland".
You know, this is the kind of movie that could all too easily have been really awful: an operetta about nursery rhyme characters with, frankly, limited special effects? But instead, "March of the Wooden Soldiers" is without a doubt one of the best children's movies ever produced in Hollywood. And of course, the major reason for that is that it features the supertalented duo of Laurel and Hardy as the comic relief team who wind up the stars of the movie. They and everyone else in the movie play their roles in the sincerest possible way. That's why this movie is so good to show any child, no matter how young: there's nothing cynical in the movie, no one with a hidden nasty agenda peeking through. Sure, it can be a scary movie, alright, but meaness is punished and goodness rewarded.
Think about the wacky costumes of the bogeymen who are lead by evil Silas Barnaby to attack Toyland via raft. Rubber masks and hula skirts worn over longjohns, or so they seem. How on earth could 21st century children find that anything but laughable, with the best computer-generated villains in films today? But it just goes to show you that glitz isn't everything, because those little kids ARE freaked out still, to see the bogeymen jump down when Barnaby summons them in the cave. One of the other reviewers is right when he says that somehow this movie reaches right into childhood itself, what I would think is the German, Brothers Grimm part of childhood, of "things" under the bed. Today's creepy villains are made to frighten sophisticated adults, who've seen it all before. But that's over the head of children, really--rubber-faced bogeymen are all it takes! I think another appealing aspect is that most of the characters, even if they are all really adults, somehow seem like children pretending to be adults-that's even true of a relatively minor character like King Cole as well as for Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep, our leading man and lady. The un-bogeymen parts therefore have a sweetness to them that hearkens from very early chidhood, the kind you see in a Jessie Wilcox Smith painting. And the timing of Laurel and Hardy is perfect: they are just tops!
This movie played faithfully in the NYC area every year on Thanksgiving Day, duly followed (for some reason) by "King Kong", and I and my brothers and sisters watched it every time, from babyhood even through sullen teenage years, without ever poking fun at it; oh no, this was (and is) still held as reverentially as though it were right up there after the Bible. Not many childhood rituals can make it unscathed through adolescence, but "March of the Wooden Soldiers" did, and is now enjoyed by new generation Toddler Nephew. It deservedly lives on for each new set of youngsters, a true classic.
5.0 out of 5 stars LAUREL AND HARDY FOREVER,
On the far end of the musical movie spectrum is the colorized Laurel and Hardy "MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS" from Goodtimes Home Video at a great price. As adapted from Victor Herbert's operetta "Babes in Toyland," there's more of the Holiday Spirit in this 1934 classic than in most of the insipidly lame attempts of movies and TV to exploit the holiday season.
Dum (Stan) and Dee (Ollie) are Santa's toymakers preparing for the big delivery on Christmas eve. Mother Goose and nursery rhyme characters are all over the place and Stan and Ollie are in constant trouble ("Is that 100 six-foot toy soldiers or 600 one-footers?") Silas Barnaby, (remember "the meanest man in town"?), Bo Peep (she's being forced into marriage by Silas or he will evict Bo's mom, who is in fact The Old Woman In The Shoe). And there's Tom Tom the Piper's Son (Ms Peep's true love) and the big finale with the creepy attack of the Bogeymen.
This classic has been cleaned up, digitally remastered and colorized and looks about as perfect as the best of old style children's book illustrations and I bet Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy themselves would want this one in color. It's certainly no sacrilege. This is one beautiful, Fauvistic fever dream of a movie. A weirdly mesmerizing family treat.
Laurel and Hardy forever! Let's all love each other, OK?
5.0 out of 5 stars Laurel & Hardy Timeless Christmas Classic (Colorized DVD)!,
Adapted from Victor Herbert's Opera "Babes in Toyland" this 1934 Laurel and Hardy Operetta presents us with a timeless Holiday Classic for the entire family to watch during the holidays. The DVD presentation has been meticulously Remastered and Colorized (for the next generation's enjoyment and for the Black & White traditionalists just turn off the color).
Laurel & Hardy have never been better. The characters (Based on Mother Goose and popular Nursey Rhymes),the story line of Toyland(Santa's Toy making Headquarters preparing for the upcoming holiday's) & the Villian with his henchmen (Powerful Landlord and his Bogeyman Army) can't lose. The basis is an Operetta (loosely conducted) musical showcasing the infamous song, "Babes in Toyland".
Laurel & Hardy play Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee respectively Santa's toymaker workers who are in constant trouble. Stannie accepts a Xmas toy order but mixes it up and he and Ollie are fired. (Mistakens the order of 600 soldiers at 1 foot tall for 100 soldiers at 6 foot tall, can you imagine?). Along with the Villian Landlord, Silas Barnaby trying to evict the "Old Woman in the Shoe" for non payment sets the story for this Family Christmas Classic, "MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLIERS"!!!!!
You & the family will love and laugh continuously!! A great value. A must for the Holiday library!!!!
4.0 out of 5 stars MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (DVD),
March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland) is one of a few Laurel and Hardy features in which Hal Roach lost ownership. Over the years it has been reissued and mostly cut in the process on the grounds of the Bogeymen sequences being too grim or to remove some or all of the songs in a misguided attempt to concentrate Stan and Ollie`s scenes. It is only fairly recently that a complete pristine master has been produced and superbly computer colourised now looking better than it has for decades.
In its original form it is the best of the Laurel and Hardy operettas and, with its detailed studio created fantasy sets, is the most elaborate of all of their features.
The colour version is so carefully effected that it gives the appearance of an early Technicolour film providing an extra dimension and depth reinforcing a more credible Mickey Mouse and the Three Pigs which was not quite achieved in black and white.
Stan Laurel once said that his only regret about this film was that it had not been made in colour. This is probably the only Laurel and Hardy film to really benefit and be enhanced by an accurate colorisation.
The film is a successful attempt to appeal to all ages. It is interesting to note that Disney granted permission to use Mickey Mouse and the Three Pigs together with their theme song. Perhaps `Toyland` may just have given Walt some inspiration for his first Disneyland. In fact Disney studied this film quite closely and remade it under the original title `Babes in Toyland` with obvious mimics of Stan and Ollie, but it was a poor, jazzed-up, shadow of the original.
This version produced by Goodtimes Video, NY is very good. The picture quality and definition are excellent with superb colour rendering for a colourised movie. The sound is unfortunately the original mono track and somewhat flat. Nevertheless, it is good to see a high quality complete version including the original opening MGM titles which, oddly, is missing from the UK version of the film released by Eureka Video.
There are some interesting and unusual extras such as the original theatrical trailer a short (1.5 mins) probably 16mm silent home movie of Stan and a 3.5 min sound interview of Ollie. The extras are of varying quality due to the source material.
Overall this DVD presents a good quality, excellent value, version of a delightful, enduring minor classic.
ROBERT C GRAHAM (UK)
1.0 out of 5 stars Not the Same as Was in Theaters,
This review is from: March of the Wooden Soldiers (VHS Tape)
What was once shown on television around the Thanksgiving-Xmas seasons over 30 years ago is not what is on this video. There is at least a good five (5) minutes missing from it. The scene is where Tom-Tom has been banished to Bogey-Land and Bo-Peep is with him. He sings to her to go to sleep as they are both very tired. It is evident that this was copied from television and edited to take out the commercials. I believe the person copying this from TV was in the kitchen getting something to eat while this was being edited.
I wanted my children (ages five to eleven) to witness classic humor and a wonderful story. However, even though they did not know what was missing, it was evident that something was not right.
I feel it is a sad event that what we remember from our childhoods cannot be the same of which we wish to share with our children.
The movie is a classic if it isn't colorized. To see it in its original B&W version is wonderful.
- A very disappointed viewer
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March of the Wooden Soldiers by Stan Laurel (DVD - 2008)
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