Babes in Toyland (1934)

Article #681 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 1-25-2003
Posting Date: 6-24-2003
Directed by Gus Meins and Charley Rogers
Featuring Stan Laurel, Oliver Hardy and Charlotte Henry

Ollie Dee and Stannie Dum try to save Little Bo-Peep from having to marry the evil Barnaby.

Arrrghhh! The copy I have on tape is the #*&@%$ colorized version! And the recent DVD release? Also the colorized version! It’s enough to make you tear your own moustache out with frustration!

Still, even colorized, I found it a good antidote to the 1961 version I covered recently; the music has been scaled down quite a bit, and in its place we have the antics of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, the most charming, assured, and precise practitioners of slapstick comedy that ever lived. They rarely ventured into the realm of fantastic cinema, so I relish the chance to cover one of their movies. They’re in fine form here, fitting in well with the story-book plot here while stealing the show completely. There’s a good sense of whimsy throughout and a strong energy. Plus, the final sequence in which the boogeymen attack is scarier and more savage then you might expect. And is that John George I see as Barnaby’s minions? Indeed, it is, according to IMDB. I was also sure I spotted Angelo Rossitto as one of the ghostly dwarves that put the romantic leads to sleep, and it probably was; he also played the 2nd little pig. One special effect that puzzled me at first was how they did the mouse that hangs around with the cat and the fiddle; after watching closely, I’m guessing that’s a monkey in a mouse costume.

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