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Babes in Toyland [1961] (1 disc)

Director:Jack Donohue
Writer:Joe Rinaldi
Lowell S. Hawley
Ward Kimball
Composer:Victor Herbert
Songs:George Bruns
Mel Leven
Length:106 minutes
(1 hour 46 minutes)
MPAA Rating:UR
Sorting Category:Family
Sorting Tub:Delta
IMDB Rating:6.3/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating:36%
Amazon Rating:4.5/5 stars
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Synopsis: Tom the Piper's Son is about to marry Mary Quite Contrary. On the eve of their wedding, evil miser Barnaby hires two henchmen to drown Tom and steal Mary's sheep, cared for by Little Bo Peep, thus depriving Mary and the children she lives with of their livelihood, forcing her to marry Barnaby.

Reaction: Good for kids and fun, but definitely of its time.

Personal Rating: 6/10

Jack Donohue => Director / Sylvester J. Goose (uncredited)
Joe Rinaldi => Writer
Lowell S. Hawley => Writer
Ward Kimball => Writer
Victor Herbert => Composer
George Bruns => Songs
Mel Leven => Songs
Anna Alice Chapin => libretto
Glen MacDonough => Operetta
Ann Jillian => Bo Peep
Annette Funicello => Mary Contrary (as Annette)
Bess Flowers => Villager (uncredited)
Brian Corcoran => Willie Winkie
Bryan Russell => The Little Boy (uncredited)
David Pinson => Bobby Shaftoe (uncredited)
Ed Wynn => Toymaker
Eileen Diamond => Dancer (uncredited)
Gene Sheldon => Roderigo
Henry Calvin => Gonzorgo
Ilana Dowding => Jill (uncredited)
James Martin => Jack (uncredited)
Jeannie Russell => Singer (voice) (uncredited)
Jerry Glenn => Simple Simon (uncredited)
John Perri => Jack-be-Nimble (uncredited)
Kevin Corcoran => Boy Blue
Marilee Arnold => Twin (uncredited)
Mary McCarty => Mother Goose
Melanie Arnold => Twin (uncredited)
Ray Bolger => Barnaby
Robert Banas => Russian Dancer (uncredited)
Tommy Kirk => Grumio
Tommy Sands => Tom Piper

Random Trivia For This Title:

  • This version takes liberties with the original 1903 operetta, but so does the 1934 film with Laurel & Hardy. For example, the characters of Grumio, Rodrigo and Gonzorgo were in this film but not in the L&H one. A side-by-side comparison would likely reveal that the two films are about even in their changes to the stage version.
  • This was Annette Funicello's favorite of all her films.
  • The voice of Sylvester J. Goose is that of the film's Director Jack Donohue.
  • Film debut of Ann Jillian.
  • The Hal Roach original (Babes in Toyland) starred Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy and had a costumed mouse that looked suspiciously like Mickey Mouse. This Disney remake featured two comedians obviously impersonating Laurel and Hardy.
  • This Walt Disney classic has two Original Mouseketeers appearing in the cast. Mouseketeer Annette Funicello and (uncredited) Mouseketeer Eileen Diamond.
  • The toy soldiers also made an appearance in Walt Disney's Mary Poppins in the nursery sequence and are favorite features of holiday parades in Disney Parks to this day. Disney animator Bill Justice make sure the Park soldiers were identical to the movie counterparts.
  • David Swift was slated to write and direct this film at one point, but he left the project because he couldn't come up with a workable script.
  • The stop-motion wooden soldier segment took more than 6 months to film.
  • After production, the cast and crew presented director Jack Donohue with a jack-in-the-box featuring pictures from the film on the outside and his head popping out when the button was pressed.
  • This was the first live-action musical that Disney Studios produced. It was as heavily promoted as the studio's other big films, but was a failure at the box office. It was one of the few Disney films never given a second run in the neighborhood theaters, or even re-released, as so many other Disney films were (it first appeared on television - in two one-hour segments telecast a week apart - only eight years after its original release. Eight years was usually the amount of time the Disney studios used to wait to re-release their films theatrically). Disney did not make another musical on this elaborate a scale until Mary Poppins, which became its most successful film during Walt Disney's lifetime.