Babes in Toyland/March of the Wooden Soldiers (1934)

old christmas movieLaurel and Hardy saved Christmas way before Ernest.

 

This is a very weird movie, but I’ve loved it since I was a kid. You just can’t beat the classic comedic duo of Laurel and Hardy (unless, of course, you count Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton—please-oh-please-oh-please give us other choices…).

Babes in Toyland (later reissued by MGM as March of the Wooden Soldiers so people would buy tickets and not realize until they sat down that they’d already seen it) is a film based on a popular operetta from 1903. The operetta was created by Victor Herbert (totally naming my next child that), and this movie features about six musical numbers from that original score.

It was produced by a fellow named Hal Roach, who happened to be good friends with Walt Disney, and subsequently got permission to borrow the tune “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?” for this film. Also, if you watch closely, you’ll see Roach threw in a monkey dressed as a creepy Mickey Mouse for some horrific, untold reason.

Also, when Disney did a Babes in Toyland remake in 1961, you’ll notice that version pays tribute to Laurel and Hardy with two bumbling sidekicks who look and act like those classic comedians. I grew up watching the Disney version, too, but unlike this one, that version is difficult to sit through as an adult. Same goes for the Babes in Toyland remake with Drew Barrymore and Keanu Reeves in 1986, which, by the way, is slightly more than mildly disturbing.

babes in toyland christmas movieNow if by some sad, terrible reason, you have never seen or heard of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, you should know that they were the two of the most brilliant funny men in cinematic history, and you owe it to yourself to see at least one of their movies (the older the movie the better, though—they weren’t given as much creative freedom in their later films so a lot of their routines were tired and canned.)

OH, SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW: The three little pigs in this movie are beyond frightening, multiple people are impaled by steel darts, and Old King Cole is kind of a lunatic who promotes water torture. Merry Christmas.

This is a great Christmas movie. It’s not particularly deep or profound in its message, but I’ll say this: When bad things happen, we may not always have an army of life-size wooden soldiers at our disposal.

We do, however, have access to the comfort and grace of the Holy Messiah. Remember Him, have faith in Him, His Atonement, and His love for us, and that will not only get us through hard times, but give us the strength to assist others who are facing their own set of demons.

Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” — 2 Timothy 2:3

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