“Babes in Toyland” BluRay Review
Done with your Holiday s shopping? Watched ABC’s 25 Days of Christmas already? Then head out on Tuesday, December 11th for your own copy of Disney’s 1961 classic “Babes in Toyland“. It’s time to carve out a little time to watch a BluRay with the family.
A childhood tradition in my family, I was excited for the opportunity to review the digitally remastered release of “Babes in Toyland”. Starring Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands, the movie is Walt Disney’s first try at a live performance film. Based on a 1903 operetta, the story had been told in a 1934 film with Laurel and Hardy. In that version there is a mouse that looks a lot like Disney’s Mickey Mouse. In an interesting twist, Walt’s production featured characters that looked a lot like Laurel and Hardy.
The film is 1960′s campy, but stands the test of time for a holiday movie. The remastered Technicolor gives the set a Wizard of Oz look. The premise of the film is that you are watching a stage production, so the sets and costumes are over the top. I enjoyed the storyline and musical score as much as I did as a child. As an adult, I was entranced by Ray Bolger (Wizard of Oz, scarecrow) as the evil Barnaby. He pulled off the smarmy, bad guy with a comedic twist. There are no special features with the BluRay, which is a disappointment. This movie was heavily promoted by Walt Disney himself and even filmed the wrap party for his “Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color” program on NBC. It would have been nice to see some old footage or some commentary from the actors. That however, is all that is missing from this beautifully restored classic.
Here are some interesting trivia facts to consider when watching this wonderful family movie:
- Despite television success years later, Babes in Toyland was a box office failure. It was next released 8 years later as a television 2-part series. Walt did not make another musical until “Mary Poppins”.
- Little Bo Peep was Ann Jilllian’s film debut.
- The voice of the Goose is the film’s director, Jack Donahue.
- Tommy Kirk, a Walt Disney favorite is Grumio. Also in the film is Kevin Corcoran as Little Boy Blue. They’ve starred as Big Brother/Little Brother in five Disney Films. Old Yeller, Swiss Family Robinson, Savage Sam, The Shaggy Dog and Bon Voyage.
- The stop action scenes with the March of the Wooden soldiers took 6 months to film.
- Part of the sets were a walk through attraction at Disneyland.
- The 1934 films name was changed to “March of the Wooden Soldiers” to cut confusion with Disney’s film. However that film most closely resembles the original script.
- “Babes in Toyland” was Annette Funicellos favorite film.
Is “Babes in Toyland” a tradition in your home for the holidays? If so grab the restored film in Blu-Ray on December 11th and watch with some homemade (or bakery made, we don’t judge here at Chip & Co.) cookies and cocoa. Immerse yourself in the nostalgia and Happy Holidays!
Running Time: 106 minutes
Suggested Retail: $20
For my October press release, click here.
- “Finding Nemo” Blu-Ray Review (chipandco.com)
- Disney Developing Sequel to Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ (chipandco.com)