THE BABES IN THE WOODS (1912)
aka Les enfants perdus dans le foret
Article 4697 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Georges Denola
What it is: Fairy tale
An evil uncle decides to do away with two children in order to inherit a fortune. They are left stranded in an enchanted forest.
I’ve never seen a version of this fairy tale before, and based on a few short plot descriptions I’d seen, I used to wonder if it was really just another title for HANSEL AND GRETEL. Now that I’ve seen this, I know they are two distinct stories, despite certain similarities. And, if the version I’ve just seen is a faithful telling of the fairy tale, I can see why this one doesn’t get revived a lot; it’s a fairly depressing story in which evil is left unpunished and innocence is put through the wringer, and unless you’re the type of person who equates “being beyond earthly cares” with a happy ending, this one won’t cheer you up. Nevertheless, there’s some striking sequences in the enchanted forest sequence, including one with a fire-breathing dragon. All in all, this one is not badly done, but it is a downer.