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Tales from Europe: The Singing Ringing Tree and The Tinderbox [DVD]
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THE SINGING RINGING TREE
To win the love of a beautiful but conceited princess, the prince sets out to search for the Singing Ringing Tree which she deeply craves. He finds it in an enchanted garden which is ruled by an evil dwarf. The dwarf gives him the tree, subject to one condition the prince must win the princess' love before nightfall. If he should fail, he will be transformed into a bear... and this comes to pass.
By a ruse, the bear carries off the unfeeling princess to the enchanted garden where, stripped of her beauty and power, she slowly learns compassion. She wins the affection of the animals, falls in love with the bear and, at last, her beauty is restored. The dwarf sees his plans thwarted and entices the princess out of the magic kingdom. But she has seen through his evil game. Not flinching from hardship and danger, she returns to the enchanted garden and frees her prince.
This special-edition DVD features the original German version with English subtitles together with the English narrated version. Both versions have been prepared using remastered transfers.
 English narrated version
 Original German version with English subtitles
 Interview with a Princess
 Music-only track
 Stills galleries
Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, 'The Tinderbox' tells the story of a poor soldier who meets a witch on his return from battle. The witch promises him gold if he recovers an old tinderbox from a hollow tree. After a quarrel he makes off with the gold without handing over the tinderbox and sets himself up in a neighbouring town. His generosity enables the town to flourish but when his fortune dwindles he is left only with the friendship of the poor and the tinderbox.
He uses the tinderbox to summon three hounds who are ready to grant his wishes and sets about helping a princess, imprisoned in the castle by the king because she would marry a humble soldier rather than a noble prince.
This special-edition DVD features the original German version with English subtitles together with the previously unreleased English dubbed version. Both versions have been prepared using remastered transfers.
 English dubbed version
 Original German version with English subtitles
 Music-only track
 Stills gallery
This 1957 film version of the classic Grimm fairy tale The Singing Ringing Tree--or Das Singende Klingende Béumchen, ...is wonderful in its strangeness. The story is a fairly straightforward morality tale in which a haughty princess receives her comeuppance by being magically robbed of her beauty. Only when she learns to treat others with the consideration they deserve is the spell undone. The magical Singing Ringing Tree is a gift she demands from a suitor, not knowing that it will only do its thing in the presence of love--and yes, it does finally happen.
The presentation, however, is something else again. Imagine a fairy tale conceived by Wagner and directed by Fritz Lang, with nods in the direction of The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari and German Expressionism, and you'd be close. The hyper-real colouring process of the time, together with the quasi-operatic sets and theatrical acting styles make this European classic fascinating viewing for adults, while children will be mesmerised by this unfamiliar, haunting yet compelling film...--Roger Thomas --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
So what is it like after all those years? Well, the quality of the picture is really good on DVD, really vibrant colours. I think the real problem is that it would be rather too slow for todays kids, who expect things to move at a much faster pace. Maybe we just had longer attention spans in those days. Also, the special effects were rather poor even for something made in 1950s Eastern Europe. The bear make up is really laughable. So do I recommend that you buy it???? ?Absolutely..but for yourself to wallow in the nostalgia and also the beauty of cinema of half a century ago made for kids with rather different expectations.
Expecting disappointment and poor quality, this dvd rolled back the years. It's in beautiful colour, and the sound is good. It has a German version on the disc too, plus an interview with "The World's First Communist Princess!"
The quality is so good after all these years that it makes you question a lot of what we were told about East Germany. Buy this and scare your kids; they deserve it!
It is rather a shock to discover the series (now presented in one part as the original film) was in colour, I am sure everyone's memory was of a hazy black and white blur, perhaps a little of the atmosphere is lost, but the DVD capture is now bright and vibrant and fitting for the fairy tale world. The sound track is a little wobbly in parts, with some noticeable background hiss, but nothing that detracts too much from the viewing.
The story is that of a spoilt princess being courted by a prince from a foreign land. The princess asks for the Singing Ringing Tree as proof of his love. Suffice to say, a search ensues, rash promises are made and the dwarf king of a magical land with a bad line in fist-shaking acting turns the prince into a bear having a bad hair day. The princess is brought to the land and... well you can see for yourself. That bridge into the magic kingdom still makes me nervous.
You need to suppress modern cynicism when watching an old series like this, but it still works: not sure what age children would appreciate it though. It didn't destroy my happy memories of this childhood experience.
No extras worth mentioning: just a stilted interview with the princess, with a few snippets of information about the making.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A great little fairy tale that should entertain anyone except those who need spectacular cgi effects or realisitic violence. Read morePublished 1 month ago by A. Mckie
Outstanding east European cinema, was originally a TV series, joined together as a movie.Published 1 month ago by S. W. Donaldson
just what I expected. a marvelous fantasy from my childhood! pity the tapes music score does not survive the test of time, but never mind. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mrs A E Bowen
Just brilliant... I was transported back to BBC's "Tales from Europe" all those years ago! I've been looking for this for years, so you can imagine my joy when I finally... Read morePublished 1 month ago by ALIX SCOTT
Such a memorable film from my child hood and so funny as well as being dark and mysterious - Great fun for children and adults - although do watch it with the children can be a... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
First. let me make clear that this is a five star production that should look great. However, once again (as with parts of the series 'Budgie') Network have cut the corners and in... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Mavic Chen