This second film adaptation of the Victor Herbert operetta Babes in Toyland was producer Walt Disney's Christmas offering for 1961. The 1903 Herbert original had very little in the way of a plot, so screenwriters Joe Rinaldi, Lowell S. Hawley, and Ward Kimball lifted elements from the 1934 filmization of Toyland, which starred Laurel and Hardy. ...
This second film adaptation of the Victor Herbert operetta Babes in Toyland was producer Walt Disney's Christmas offering for 1961. The 1903 Herbert original had very little in the way of a plot, so screenwriters Joe Rinaldi, Lowell S. Hawley, and Ward Kimball lifted elements from the 1934 filmization of Toyland, which starred Laurel and Hardy. Annette Funicello plays Mary Contrary, about to wed Tom Piper (Tommy Sands) in the heart of Mother Goose Village. The villainous Barnaby (Ray Bolger), who covets Mary for himself, orders his bumbling henchmen Gonzorgo (Henry Calvin) and Roderigo (Gene Sheldon) to do away with Tom. Hoping to turn a profit, Gonzorgo and Roderigo sell Tom to a band of gypsies, enabling Tom to make a surprise return-in old-lady drag to rescue Mary from Barnaby's clutches. Later, Mary's younger siblings (including Disney regular Moochie Corcoran) wander into the Forest of No Return, compelling Tom and Mary to go after them. Everyone winds up in Toyland, where they try to help the Toymaker (Ed Wynn) and his invention-happy assistant Grumio (Tommy Kirk) meet their quota for Santa Claus despite the continued meddlings of Barnaby. Keep an eye peeled for 11-year-old Ann Jillian, making her screen debut as Bo Peep. Hal Erickson, Rovi
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TITLE: Babes In Toyland
GENRE: Fairytale musical based on Mother Goose
CAST: Annette Funicello, Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Ed Wynn, Henry Calvin, Gene Sheldon, Ann Jillian, Mary McCarty and Tommy Kirk
PLOT: Dastardly villian tries to get Mary Contrary to marry him. She and her fiance, Tom Piper, are forced to find lost children in the forest of no return. The trees turn them over to the owner of the forest, the Toymaker. After a few more shennanigans, all ends well.
RETURN ON INVESTMENT: 7.5 of 10; Wonderful entertainment for the very young who would be interested in the Mother Goose World. The songs, choreography, costumes, sets and 'special effects' are attractive somewhat to an adult eye.
DVD BONUS: None
ADDED NOTES: Calvin and Sheldon are more popularly known for their roles in Disney's TV series Zorro where respectively they played the spanish Sargeant and Zorro's mute servant.
Sep 30, 2009
Great for little kids
It's a classic! It's hokey but enduring, and little kids will love it.