MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLDIERS (1934)

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Director: Gus Meins and Charley Rogers
MPAA Rating: Not Rated (released before MPAA Ratings)
Running Time: 73 min.

March of the Wooden Soldiers or Babes in Toyland is a classic film version of the earlier operetta.  In the town of Toyland, where the characters of nursery rhymes live in harmony, there is an evil lurking.  The miserly old man, Silas Barnaby, has decided that he wants Little Bo Peep to be his bride, even though he knows she is in love with Tom-Tom the Piper’s Son.  His plan is to coerce the girl into being his bride by foreclosing on the shoe that her little old mother lives in.  But Barnaby hasn’t counted on Stannie and Ollie (played by classic comedy duo Laurel and Hardy).  At first, the two toymakers hope to borrow the money to pay off the mortgage from their boss.  Unfortunately, when their boss discovers that Stannie messed up an order from Santa–building 100 toy soldiers at 6 ft high, instead of 600 toy soldiers at 1 ft high–they lose their jobs and must resort to more clever and illegal means of saving Mrs. Peep’s shoe.  They have to be careful, though, because Barnaby would like to see Stannie, Ollie, and Tom-Tom banished to Bogeyland, the dark caves beyond Toyland where the Bogey monsters live.

I love this movie.  I do sometimes fast forward through a couple of the cheesy love songs that seem to go on forever, but the Laurel and Hardy slapstick and pun-based humor is classic and hilarious.  The Bogey monsters may frighten young children, but it is a fun movie for older kids who will get the references to different nursery rhymes and get humor as well.

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