on April 5, 2004
There are two versions offered for sale at Amazon. The Koch Vision Entertainment version, despite the description in the technical details, is NOT COLORIZED. The Goodtimes Home Video version version IS colorized. Which you prefer is entirely up to you, but don't order the Koch Vision version if you want the movie in color. The Koch Vision version has an extended silent film extra of the first time Laurel and Hardy appeared together (NOT as a team, however). The extra is interesting, but (by today's standards anyhow) a little slow. The Goodtimes Entertainment (Colorized) version, although a few cents cheaper than the other version, is, in my opinion, a much "cleaner" print. Even with the color level turned down so it appears as the original B&W, the Goodtimes version is sharper and more distinct. March of the Wooden Soldiers, holds up pretty well.
on September 20, 2007
The "review" from Robert Badgley of March Of The Wooden Soldiers is certainly not the truth and clearly appears to be written by someone with a strange agenda. I suggest he get his facts straight before writing such a misleading, false and defamatory review. Amazon reviews are intended to inform, not mislead and misinform.
I was personally responsible for producing the prior color release from Goldwyn and I am also responsible for producing the current color and black and white release from Legend Films.
This was truly a lost Laurel and Hardy film. Film prints of this movie have gone from distributor to distributor and are well worn. However, both Goldwyn and a renowned distributor and collector provided 35mm material to produce a complete print that is widely recognized to be the highest quality. In my previous colorization company, American Film Technologies, I transferred that 35mm print to analog one-inch video tape. While extremely inferior by today's standards, one-inch video tape was the industry standard in video resolution at the time.
Now, for the FIRST TIME the Goldwyn film of March Of The Wooden Soldiers has been transferred Digitally in High Definition. The black and white High Definition tape, was completely restored using the Legend Films proprietary restoration technology. Then with the latest colorization process the film was colorized in High Definition resolution. This is the same Legend Films process used by Martin Scorsese to produce color special effects for The Aviator. The resulting color frames were then used to create a new High Definition colorized version. So you have on the Legend Films DVD, both the fully restored black and white version and a separate, fully restored color version.
By every measure, I believe the Legend Films DVD release is the highest quality black and white and color version of March Of The Wooden Soldiers that exists anywhere today.
Barry B. Sandrew, Ph.D.
Legend Films, Inc.
on December 3, 2008
The Laurel and Hardy classic, March of the Wooden Soldiers (originally released as Babes in Toyland), was the fantastic result of combining two tremendous talents with a childlike, fantasy world and adult situations (Laurel and Hardy, Toyland and an evil landlord's mortgage conspiracy, respectively). Such rich source material makes for a film of unsurpassed quality: featuring rich and imaginative environments, costumes, sights and sounds. Every fairytale has its day, from Little Bo Peep to the Three Little Pigs to Mother Goose, and even Santa. We all know that the winter months are a time to remember to greatest holiday classics from years past, and March of the Wooden Soldiers is unsurpassed in its genre.
The holidays are associated with bright and festive colors--bright reds, greens, blues and golds--that set a warm and cheery mood, and the movies that we choose to enjoy during this season are no different. Fortunately, this edition of March of the Wooden Soldiers has been colorized, bringing newfound vibrancy to the events on screen and helping to integrate this classic tale with the traditional warmth of the holiday season. Rather than a visually dull grayscale that reminds one of the dour winter weather, toy soldiers shimmer in brilliant red onscreen, and our two comedian leads are further humanized by their newfound flesh tones and colorful Christmas garb.
As colorization efforts go, March of the Wooden Soldiers is a superlative effort, looking as though it was originally produced in the first generation of Technicolor, rather than decades earlier. The producers in charge of this re-mastering effort clearly thought that we would find an "aged color" appearance more acceptable than attempting to make it look completely modern, and this approach works very well. I'm sure you'll agree if you see a preview.
It's worth noting that this disc also includes the black and white version of the movie, perhaps as a peace offering to those of you who might object to the alteration of a classic film. I would go so far, then, as to call this the definitive purchase of March of the Wooden Soldiers, not just because you'll have a choice between color and black and white, but because the first step in colorizing any movie is to "clean up" the pre-existing black and white material as much as possible, and it certainly shows in comparison with other versions available.
In addition to both versions of the movie, this disc's special features really push it over the top. As a media buff, the included classic trailers are a wonderful prelude to the main feature--I like to imagine that I'm getting the same experience as the audiences who first viewed Laurel and Hardy some seventy years ago. And, in keeping with this package's holiday theme, the animated Rudolph the Reindeer movie is thoughtfully included, ensuring that you and your family get the most value out of a single disc.
For any family or fan of holiday cinema, this package is definitely a must-buy.
on November 13, 2006
Wow is all I can say! Laurel and Hardy's March of the Wooden Soldiers (aka Babes in Toyland) has never looked better. Legend Films and Genius Products found rare 35mm film elements and did a high definition digital restoration to create the finest looking black-and-white version of this L&H holiday classic ever seen. And to beat that, they created a stunning new COLOR version on the same DVD with a new Colorization technology. It really looks like it was shot in color. This disc is then jammed full of great bonus features to take any nostalgic viewer down Christmas memory lane. This DVD is FAR superior to the Goodtimes version (I viewed them side by side) and well worth the extra couple of dollars. I highly recommend this new definitive version of March of the Wooden Soldiers (with the Red box) both for yourself or for a gift.
This Laurel and Hardy treasure remains the definitive holiday movie. "March of the Wooden Soldiers" (the original "Babes in Toyland") is a timeless musical-comedy with Stan and Ollie in top form - abetted by stylish sets and visual effects. Most "colorized" films are an artistic desecration; however, this particular video is rendered in low-key pastels that resemble early Technicolor. The results are better than expected. Laurel and Hardy fans should be doubly pleased because this uncut version contains a delightful "storybook" sequence which hasn't been shown since the film's 1934 release. There have been several remakes of "Babes in Toyland," but none can match the original's effortless charm.
on March 5, 2009
It is sad that Laurel and Hardy fans in North America have been given the short end of the stick for so many years.The rights to all of their shorts(both silent and sound)and their movies(specifically the Hal Roach catalogue)have changed hands more times than I would care to count.It is a sorry legacy of greed,neglect and indifference.Well,I'm happy to report that we finally have something good to celebrate for a change!
MGM studios has taken the proverbial bull by the horns and have elected to release their own print of "Babes in Toyland".Yes you heard me,NOT "March of the Wooden Soldiers"(the slip case cover title) but "Babes in Toyland".This release has the original opening and closing titles;and it is marvellous to look at.
It is a beautiful print and the best looking release of the movie I have seen.There have been alot of pretenders to the throne over the last while,some pretty pathetic ones at that,but finally we get to see the film as close to its' original release state as we can get.The original was 90 minutes long and while seen only occasionally in the early TV years it was eventually pared down to the length we have here,about 78 minutes.And that is the version we have had unfortunately for decades.
MGM caught me totally off guard with this one,but I won't complain in the least because I'm just so happy to finally see it out there.I AM worried a little though that by putting "March of the Wooden Soldiers" on the cover that many fans may give it a pass by thinking it is just another version among many of that film.
It begs the question though,how many more Laurel and Hardy features do MGM hold?They were the distributor for Hal Roach and if they have this movie in their archives it makes some sense that they would possibly have the original full length version and many others,if not all their movies AND shorts.Unfortunately,not holding the rights to their films,there is little MGM can do but sit tight.
Whatever the answers,we must thank MGM studios for taking the initiative and releasing this charming film,for all the Laurel and Hardy fans here in North America and in the best condition I've seen.Let us give MGM the "Laurels" they deserve and our "Hardy" endorsement by buying the most definitive version to date
of the Laurel and Hardy classic "Babes in Toyland".
on October 26, 2001
Adapted from Victor Herbert's Opera "Babes in Toyland" this 1934 Laurel and Hardy Operetta presents us with a timeless Holiday Classic for the entire family to watch during the holidays. The DVD presentation has been meticulously Remastered and Colorized (for the next generation's enjoyment and for the Black & White traditionalists just turn off the color).
Laurel & Hardy have never been better. The characters (Based on Mother Goose and popular Nursey Rhymes),the story line of Toyland(Santa's Toy making Headquarters preparing for the upcoming holiday's) & the Villian with his henchmen (Powerful Landlord and his Bogeyman Army) can't lose. The basis is an Operetta (loosely conducted) musical showcasing the infamous song, "Babes in Toyland".
Laurel & Hardy play Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee respectively Santa's toymaker workers who are in constant trouble. Stannie accepts a Xmas toy order but mixes it up and he and Ollie are fired. (Mistakens the order of 600 soldiers at 1 foot tall for 100 soldiers at 6 foot tall, can you imagine?). Along with the Villian Landlord, Silas Barnaby trying to evict the "Old Woman in the Shoe" for non payment sets the story for this Family Christmas Classic, "MARCH OF THE WOODEN SOLIERS"!!!!!
You & the family will love and laugh continuously!! A great value. A must for the Holiday library!!!!
on September 16, 2010
I'm posting the following information for those who were taken by surprise (as I was) at the quiet release of this movie on blu-ray and were curious as to details. It looks like everything on the DVD version has been transferred to blu-ray (no additional features have been added). As far as quality goes, the movie does look sharper in some areas (set pieces, costumes) but still blurry in others (the straw on the Little Pigs hut, cave). So if you're looking for a substantial upgrade, you won't find one. But it is an improvement over the DVD version. If you like Laurel & Hardy and or have fond memories of this film, and have a large screen TV, it's worth the $9.49 upgrade.
"March of the Wooden Soldiers" is a re-issue of the 1934 film "Babes in Toyland." You'll need to search on the later title to find it on IMDB.
Blu-ray Stats: 1080p, Dolby Digital 2.0, 48khz, 192kbps, AVC (except Vintage Toy Commercials), 12 Mbps average.
Menu Choices: Play Movie In Color (01:17:30), Play Movie in B&W (01:17:31), Scene Selection (12), Special Features (12).
Cartoon (Max Fleischer)(Technicolor)(08:28): Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer.
Theatrical Trailers(5): March Of The Wooden Soldiers in Color (02:08), March Of The Wooden Soldiers in B&W (03:27), A Christmas Wish (02:31), Beyond Christmas (01:48), The Shirley Temple Storybook Collection (03:19).
Laurel & Hardy Short (color)(Department of Agriculture, Forest Service)(4:45): The Tree In A Test Tube.
Vintage Toy Commercials (MPEG-2)(B&W)(08:53): Poor quality, but interesting.
Christmas Toy Shop (B&W)(09:18): Poor quality, low contrast.
Howdy Doody's Christmas Special (B&W)(07:18): Poor quality but better than the commercials.
Christmas '45 Theater Greeting (B&W)(00:53): Poor quality.
A Message From Santa (B&W)(00:36): Poor quality, low contrast.
Merry Christmas (1950)(B&W)(08:49): Poor quality, low contrast.
Jingle Bells (Color)(02:10): Poor quality, follow the bouncing ball and sing-a-long.
'Twas The Night Before Christmas (B&W)(08:05): Poor quality, low contrast.
The Little Rascals Happy New Year Greeting (B&W)(00:28): Poor quality, low contrast.
on September 27, 2002
Tom-Tom announces his engagement to Bo-Peep by jumping up on the stocks and proclaiming, "Citizens of Toyland! I want you all to meet, the future Mrs. Piper!" and then all the characters burst into a frenzied happy little dance to a whimsical piece of music--one of my favorite scenes in this classic adaptation of the famous Victor Herbert operetta, "Babes in Toyland".
You know, this is the kind of movie that could all too easily have been really awful: an operetta about nursery rhyme characters with, frankly, limited special effects? But instead, "March of the Wooden Soldiers" is without a doubt one of the best children's movies ever produced in Hollywood. And of course, the major reason for that is that it features the supertalented duo of Laurel and Hardy as the comic relief team who wind up the stars of the movie. They and everyone else in the movie play their roles in the sincerest possible way. That's why this movie is so good to show any child, no matter how young: there's nothing cynical in the movie, no one with a hidden nasty agenda peeking through. Sure, it can be a scary movie, alright, but meaness is punished and goodness rewarded.
Think about the wacky costumes of the bogeymen who are lead by evil Silas Barnaby to attack Toyland via raft. Rubber masks and hula skirts worn over longjohns, or so they seem. How on earth could 21st century children find that anything but laughable, with the best computer-generated villains in films today? But it just goes to show you that glitz isn't everything, because those little kids ARE freaked out still, to see the bogeymen jump down when Barnaby summons them in the cave. One of the other reviewers is right when he says that somehow this movie reaches right into childhood itself, what I would think is the German, Brothers Grimm part of childhood, of "things" under the bed. Today's creepy villains are made to frighten sophisticated adults, who've seen it all before. But that's over the head of children, really--rubber-faced bogeymen are all it takes! I think another appealing aspect is that most of the characters, even if they are all really adults, somehow seem like children pretending to be adults-that's even true of a relatively minor character like King Cole as well as for Tom-Tom and Bo-Peep, our leading man and lady. The un-bogeymen parts therefore have a sweetness to them that hearkens from very early chidhood, the kind you see in a Jessie Wilcox Smith painting. And the timing of Laurel and Hardy is perfect: they are just tops!
This movie played faithfully in the NYC area every year on Thanksgiving Day, duly followed (for some reason) by "King Kong", and I and my brothers and sisters watched it every time, from babyhood even through sullen teenage years, without ever poking fun at it; oh no, this was (and is) still held as reverentially as though it were right up there after the Bible. Not many childhood rituals can make it unscathed through adolescence, but "March of the Wooden Soldiers" did, and is now enjoyed by new generation Toddler Nephew. It deservedly lives on for each new set of youngsters, a true classic.
on June 29, 2001
March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland) is one of a few Laurel and Hardy features in which Hal Roach lost ownership. Over the years it has been reissued and mostly cut in the process on the grounds of the Bogeymen sequences being too grim or to remove some or all of the songs in a misguided attempt to concentrate Stan and Ollie`s scenes. It is only fairly recently that a complete pristine master has been produced and superbly computer colourised now looking better than it has for decades.
In its original form it is the best of the Laurel and Hardy operettas and, with its detailed studio created fantasy sets, is the most elaborate of all of their features.
The colour version is so carefully effected that it gives the appearance of an early Technicolour film providing an extra dimension and depth reinforcing a more credible Mickey Mouse and the Three Pigs which was not quite achieved in black and white.
Stan Laurel once said that his only regret about this film was that it had not been made in colour. This is probably the only Laurel and Hardy film to really benefit and be enhanced by an accurate colorisation.
The film is a successful attempt to appeal to all ages. It is interesting to note that Disney granted permission to use Mickey Mouse and the Three Pigs together with their theme song. Perhaps `Toyland` may just have given Walt some inspiration for his first Disneyland. In fact Disney studied this film quite closely and remade it under the original title `Babes in Toyland` with obvious mimics of Stan and Ollie, but it was a poor, jazzed-up, shadow of the original.
This version produced by Goodtimes Video, NY is very good. The picture quality and definition are excellent with superb colour rendering for a colourised movie. The sound is unfortunately the original mono track and somewhat flat. Nevertheless, it is good to see a high quality complete version including the original opening MGM titles which, oddly, is missing from the UK version of the film released by Eureka Video.
There are some interesting and unusual extras such as the original theatrical trailer a short (1.5 mins) probably 16mm silent home movie of Stan and a 3.5 min sound interview of Ollie. The extras are of varying quality due to the source material.
Overall this DVD presents a good quality, excellent value, version of a delightful, enduring minor classic.
ROBERT C GRAHAM (UK)