Babes in Toyland (1961)

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Babes in Toyland: Directed by Jack Donohue. With Ray Bolger, Tommy Sands, Annette Funicello, Ed Wynn. Mary Contrary is set to marry Tom Piper when he is kidnapped by Roderigo and Gonzorgo, two goons working for the evil Barnaby who wants to marry Mary for her inheritance.

“Disney version of the Victor Herbert operetta about Mother Goose characters, previously filmed in 1934 with Laurel u0026amp; Hardy. That version is the best of the ones Iu0026#39;ve seen but this one isnu0026#39;t without some positives. For starters, itu0026#39;s a beautiful-looking film with great sets, props, and costumes. That goose is creepy, though. Itu0026#39;s a movie full of bright vivid colors that pop out at you. The cast is good, with Tommy Sands and a stunning Annette Funicello as likable (if dull) leads. Ray Bolger has fun as the villain Barnaby. Gene Sheldon and Henry Calvin, playing Barnabyu0026#39;s henchmen, are obviously impersonating Laurel and Hardy, and having a good time doing so. Ed Wynn is a scene stealer as the Toymaker. Disney legend Tommy Kirk plays his assistant and seems to be having fun. Director Jack Donohue does a respectable job bringing Toyland and its Mother Goose characters to life on the screen. But somehow the whole thing just doesnu0026#39;t click the way it should. You get the feeling from the start that the movie is trying way too hard. There are songs on top of songs and none of them are particularly strong. Most are terribly corny. There are interesting things about the film (particularly the visuals) so itu0026#39;s not a complete dud. It helps to avoid comparisons to the superior 1934 version. If youu0026#39;re a fan of the story or a Disney buff, by all means give it a shot. Also if youu0026#39;re a parent of a young child perhaps theyu0026#39;ll like it. Everyone else go in with lowered expectations.”

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