Babes in Toyland


1h 45m 1961
Babes in Toyland

Brief Synopsis

The town miser plots to force Mary Quite Contrary to marry him.

Film Details

Genre
Musical
Fantasy
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Dec 1961
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the operetta Babes in Toyland , music by Victor Herbert, book and lyrics by Glen MacDonough (New York, 13 Oct 1903).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Synopsis

The villagers in the land of Mother Goose gather in the square to celebrate the coming marriage of Tom Piper and Mary Contrary. Barnaby, Mary's evil tutor, hopes to marry the young girl himself and has Tom abducted by two knaves, Gonzorgo and Roderigo, and then sold to a band of Gypsies. Barnaby ruins Mary's source of income by driving her sheep into the Forest of No Return, but Tom returns in time to foil Barnaby's scheme and lead Mary and her brothers and sisters into the forest to retrieve the missing sheep. The friendly trees escort them to Toyland, where the kindly Toymaker puts them to work in return for his help. Meanwhile, Barnaby uses the Toymaker's latest invention to reduce Tom to toy size and tries to force Mary into marrying him. Tom mobilizes the Army of Wooden Soldiers, however, and once more comes to the rescue. The culprit is reduced in size and imprisoned in a bird cage; Tom (now of normal size) and Mary are finally married.

Film Details

Genre
Musical
Fantasy
Adaptation
Release Date
Jan 1961
Premiere Information
New York opening: 14 Dec 1961
Production Company
Walt Disney Productions
Distribution Company
Buena Vista Film Distribution Co., Inc.
Country
United States
Screenplay Information
Based on the operetta Babes in Toyland , music by Victor Herbert, book and lyrics by Glen MacDonough (New York, 13 Oct 1903).

Technical Specs

Duration
1h 45m
Sound
Mono (RCA Sound System)
Color
Color (Technicolor)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio
1.85 : 1

Award Nominations

Best Costume Design

1961
Bill Thomas

Best Music Original Dramatic Score

1962

Articles

Babes in Toyland


Although the most famous film version of Babes in Toyland belongs to Laurel and Hardy's 1934 classic, Victor Herbert actually wrote the operetta for Babes in Toyland back in 1903. In 1961, Walt Disney made it his own by creating a nearly original plot, and adding new lyrics by Mel Leven. Directed by Jack Donohue, it starred Ray Bolger, Annette Funicello, Tommy Sands, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Ann Jillian, and Ed Wynn.

Disney first announced that the film would be made as an animated feature in 1955, but eventually turned it into the studio's first live action musical. With a script by Lowell S. Hawley, Ward Kimball, and Joe Rinaldi, and Glen MacDonough's operetta, Babes in Toyland marks the first time that Bolger, best known as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939), played a villain. Here, he is the evil Barnaby, who learns that Mary Quite Contrary (Funicello) is unaware that she is going to inherit a fortune. Barnaby is furious that Mary is engaged to marry Tom the Piper's Son (Sands), so in order to get Mary's money for himself, he orders his henchmen to kill Tom and drown Mary's sheep to ruin her. Along for the ride are Little Bo Peep (Jillian) and other Mother Goose characters.

Ward Kimball, a collector of vintage toys, was in charge of the mechanical design team. He was originally set to direct the film, but reportedly had Ray Bolger audition and signed off on set designs without permission from Disney. When a studio publicist put out a trade ad announcing Kimball's assignment with Disney's knowledge, Disney was furious and replaced Kimball with Jack Donohue.

As with most Disney films, it was promoted on the company's television show, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color on NBC, where the film's wrap party (the party given to celebrate the end of shooting) was a scripted affair, hosted by Annette Funicello, who with Disney, discussed the film and aired clips.

When it was released in time for Christmas on December 14, 1961, Babes in Toyland was a rare Disney flop and the studio would not attempt another live action musical until Mary Poppins (1964). Critic A.H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote that Babes in Toyland was geared to the "sub-adult set" and not terribly exciting for grownups. Bolger was praised as "the most likable louse we've seen in years," but "Tommy Sands and Miss Funicello are rarely a spirited pair [...] [and] Mr. Wynn points up the film's major fault when he wistfully says, "I'm trying to liven things up with a little humor."

SOURCES:
http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Babes_in_Toyland
http://movies.disney.com/babes-in-toyland
The Internet Movie Database
Patinkin, Sheldon No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance": A History of the American Musical Theater
Weiler, A.H. Disney's 'Babes in Toyland' Is Holiday Show at Music Hall 15 Dec 61.
Zibart, Eve Today in History: Disney
Babes In Toyland

Babes in Toyland

Although the most famous film version of Babes in Toyland belongs to Laurel and Hardy's 1934 classic, Victor Herbert actually wrote the operetta for Babes in Toyland back in 1903. In 1961, Walt Disney made it his own by creating a nearly original plot, and adding new lyrics by Mel Leven. Directed by Jack Donohue, it starred Ray Bolger, Annette Funicello, Tommy Sands, Tommy Kirk, Kevin Corcoran, Ann Jillian, and Ed Wynn. Disney first announced that the film would be made as an animated feature in 1955, but eventually turned it into the studio's first live action musical. With a script by Lowell S. Hawley, Ward Kimball, and Joe Rinaldi, and Glen MacDonough's operetta, Babes in Toyland marks the first time that Bolger, best known as the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz (1939), played a villain. Here, he is the evil Barnaby, who learns that Mary Quite Contrary (Funicello) is unaware that she is going to inherit a fortune. Barnaby is furious that Mary is engaged to marry Tom the Piper's Son (Sands), so in order to get Mary's money for himself, he orders his henchmen to kill Tom and drown Mary's sheep to ruin her. Along for the ride are Little Bo Peep (Jillian) and other Mother Goose characters. Ward Kimball, a collector of vintage toys, was in charge of the mechanical design team. He was originally set to direct the film, but reportedly had Ray Bolger audition and signed off on set designs without permission from Disney. When a studio publicist put out a trade ad announcing Kimball's assignment with Disney's knowledge, Disney was furious and replaced Kimball with Jack Donohue. As with most Disney films, it was promoted on the company's television show, Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color on NBC, where the film's wrap party (the party given to celebrate the end of shooting) was a scripted affair, hosted by Annette Funicello, who with Disney, discussed the film and aired clips. When it was released in time for Christmas on December 14, 1961, Babes in Toyland was a rare Disney flop and the studio would not attempt another live action musical until Mary Poppins (1964). Critic A.H. Weiler of The New York Times wrote that Babes in Toyland was geared to the "sub-adult set" and not terribly exciting for grownups. Bolger was praised as "the most likable louse we've seen in years," but "Tommy Sands and Miss Funicello are rarely a spirited pair [...] [and] Mr. Wynn points up the film's major fault when he wistfully says, "I'm trying to liven things up with a little humor." SOURCES: http://disney.wikia.com/wiki/Babes_in_Toyland http://movies.disney.com/babes-in-toyland The Internet Movie Database Patinkin, Sheldon No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance": A History of the American Musical Theater Weiler, A.H. Disney's 'Babes in Toyland' Is Holiday Show at Music Hall 15 Dec 61. Zibart, Eve Today in History: Disney

Quotes

Trivia

Notes

Previously filmed in 1934 (M-G-M).

Miscellaneous Notes

Released in United States Fall November 17, 1961

Remake of the 1934 film starring Laurel & Hardy.

Released in United States Fall November 17, 1961