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on 22 April 2004
What a pleasure to find March of the Wooden Soldiers in glorious black &white! This Passport Video release (listed by Amazon as Koch Entertainmentfor some unfathomable reason) presumably contains the full-length version(77+ minutes) and is of very high quality. Audio is nice clear mono, andthe video is just fine--flicker occurs occasionally, but nothing major andthe images are sharp with good contrast. One is easily able to navigatethe chapters and can scan in either direction and pause, which sometimesisn't the case with budget DVD's. It would be nice if subtitles wereavailable (I have foreign-born friends who like to "see" and hear Englishsimultaneously), as well as a printed list of chapters, but these areminor quibbles. A bonus short of the boys' first screen appearancetogether is also included and is lots of fun.
As much as I detestcolorization of black & white classics, both in principle and foraesthetic reasons, I've read so many favorable reviews of the colorizedversion of this film that I'd be willing to give it a shot, especiallyconsidering its price. One reviewer wrote that she remembers seeing ahand-tinted print of this film at the movies when she was a child in the50's, so clearly there's precedent. It would be nice to get a choice ofboth on one disk--maybe something along this line will turn up eventually.In the meantime, my recommendation is that first-time viewers see it theway audiences in 1934 saw it and then move on to "color" if so inclined.Either way, this is a fabulous film--it's about time justice was done toit, but better late than never. Thank goodness I no longer have to dependon the whims of local TV stations with their edits and commercials towatch one of my holiday favorites.
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on 15 August 2010
Most Laurel & Hardy films do not require colour. Their humour is such that no enhancement is needed, and it could even be a distraction. This film is the exception. By its very nature it cries out for colour, having as its base tales from the nursery. The colour process is excellent, being natural and bright. It almost looks as if that was the way it was originally filmed. The sound in this release is also much better than I have heard on other releases, although the musical numbers are still a little scratchy. It is an ideal introduction to Laurel and Hardy for children as they fit seamlessly into the Toy Town setting; however some smaller children may find the Bogey Land scenes somewhat frightening, although they are only a short part near the end, and obviously the bogey men are routed by the finish.
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on 29 June 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 colourisation.
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 Eureka Video is only mediocre The transfer, although black and white, appears to be taken from the colourised version. Picture quality and definition are good but the sound is unfortunately the original mono track and somewhat flat. It is interesting to note that the opening original MGM title and Board of Review certificate included in the US version is missing from the UK version of the film.
A still from `Bohemian Girl` is actually used on the DVD case which coupled with the only extra being a wonky transfer of `Hustling for Health` gives the impression that no one could really care less...
The best DVD of this film available is from the US by Goodtimes Video and available from AMAZON.com... It is also ALL region, so you do not even need a region free DVD player (although you will need an NTSC compatible TV, which most are now).
The US version is accurately and superbly colourised and the extras include the original theatrical trailer, 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 the UK version is a poor substitute for the US DVD which presents a high quality, excellent value, version of a delightful, enduring minor classic.
ROBERT C GRAHAM (UK)
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on 22 October 2010
This DVD 'March Of The Wooden Soldiers In Colour' contains the colour version of the film only with no extras. The film is by Legend and the colour is the best colourised film I've ever seen. As if it was originally filmed in colour. The picture is excellent and the colour brilliant. Well worth purchasing especially to any Laurel and Hardy fans
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on 30 January 2001
This is one of the best Laurel and Hardy films, but it is also an enchanting musical fantasy that can be enjoyed by the whole family. A great set of characters are in this movie, which includes Bo Peep, the Cat and the fiddle, Mickey Mouse, the evil Barnaby, and the Bogeymen, with Laurel as Stannie Dum and Hardy as Ollie Dee. The film itself is of very good picture and sound quality, with plenty of musical numbers and a thrilling (and funny) ending, but the bogeymen might be a bit scary to younger children! Sadly, this film has not been shown on TV for a long time, which is sad, as this is a brilliant film that will appeal to anyone. Also, there is an early Stan Laurel silent short included in this DVD, which is entertaining.
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on 29 April 2007
Just a note to advise people that this Eureka release is Black And White only! The actual quality is fair without being too good. There is now a Dutch Version of this DVD which has only the Colour version, which despite a few niggles off reviewers is in my opinion amazing and totally eclipses all Black & White versions.
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on 24 August 2007
this entertaining fantasy comedy from laurel and hardy is one of their better full length feature films,also known as "babes in toyland"-stan and ollie try to foil mean old town villian silas barnaby from taking over toyland-when our heroic duo gain the upper hand,black hearted barnaby enlists the help of the dreaded "bogey men" to try to overrun toyland and plunge it into choas.lots of fun for viewers of all ages-the picture quality on the dvd is very good (dont be put off by the reviewer who claims otherwise)this film has not been shown on uk tv for a long long time-so this dvd is a very worthwhile purchase!
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on 8 July 2014
Who would have thought that L & H would make it on to blu-ray, great transfer and great price, this is the version to get as you can see it in colour and b & w. Get this on import from US as it can be played in the UK.
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on 4 February 2012
I was intrigued to buy this as it was not in the Laurel & Harby box set I bought a few years ago even though it was in the Hal Roach era. This was a film I remembered seeing under the title of Babes in Toyland when I was a child. This is a black & white "talkie" version (no colourised version included) - it is a good copy and plays well. The film is worth buying as it is at the time Stan and Ollie were at their peak. It is interesting to watch and has that brother grimm style to it with the bogey men being a little scary (I believe this is the uncut version; apparently there are other versions that were tamed down as the bogey men were perceived to be too scary for young audiences). Some nice comic routines from two of the best comics ever. The extra silent movie on the disc is an early one with just Stan in it - personally I am not a big fan of the silents so can't get too excited about this, but interesting for one watch to see how Stan developed his comic technique. However the main feature is well worth any L & H fan purchasing.
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on 27 December 2000
This rare film is one of the great L+H classics, and certainly in the running for best film of all time. I've searched for a copy of this film for over 17 years after seeing it on TV. It has never been repeated since so to finally own a copy is fantastic.
Set in 'Toyland' the film revolves around the comic capers of Stan and Ollie as they try to save their mother from eviction by the evil Barnaby! The sets/costumes are lavish and beutifully made and there appearances of all the classic toyland characters such as the Three Little Pigs, The Cat and the Fiddle, Little Bo Peep and the rest.
From start to finish, the slap-stick comedy is up there with the best and the one-liners are first rate.
Kids and adults alike will love this film although the gruesome looking 'bogey-men' at the end of the film may scare some youngsters.
Comic genius and beautifully made - the actual march of the wooden soldiers has to be seen to be believed! It's a family-friendly 'Dumb & Dumber' - only nicer, more attractive and, of course, funnier!
BUY IT NOW!!!!
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