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Film / Babes in Toyland (1934)

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Babes in Toyland is a 1934 film directed by Gus Meins and Charles Rogers, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.

Stan and Ollie are Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee, and they live in a shoe in Toyland. They are friends and roommates with the Widow Peep and her daughter, Bo Peep, who is being pressured into marriage by the villain, Silas Barnaby. Barnaby owns the shoe and threatens to evict everyone unless Bo Peep marries him. Ollie and Stan try to raise the money for the mortgage payment, but they bungle the job, and madcap antics ensue.

Loosely based on the stage show Babes in Toyland. Six songs from the show appear in this film, but it shares little plot with the show except for the general idea of Toyland.

Sometimes also called Laurel and Hardy in Toyland or March of the Wooden Soldiers.


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Tropes:

  • Adipose Rex: Old King Cole, a spherical fellow with a double chin who likes to watch people being dunked.
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees: The pee-wees that Stannie Dum plays with were an actual children's toy at the time—although they did not boomerang back as seen in the film.
  • Annoying Arrows: Done with darts. They don't kill the Bogeymen, but it does hurt them enough to take the fight out of them. In the final scene of the movie, Stannie accidentally fires a dozen or so at Ollie's backside.
  • Aside Glance: Oliver Hardy does his exasperated glance at the audience that he did in every film.
  • Beast Men: The Bogeymen. Ollie describes them as being "half man and half animal, with great big ears and great big mouths, and fur all over their bodies." Once they appear, they fit the description perfectly.
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  • Big Guy, Little Guy: The trademark of Stan and Ollie. In one scene Ollie gets stuck in a narrow doorway and Stan has to yank him out.
  • Bride and Switch: Little Bo Peep agrees to marry Barnaby so that he'll settle the mortgage on Mother Peep's shoe house. However, he's tricked into marrying Stanley Dum, who had dressed up as the bride and hidden his face with the veil.
  • The Cameo: Several of the Our Gang actors appear as Toyland children.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Toymakers Stan and Ollie mess up at the beginning by, instead of making 600 1-foot-tall wooden soldiers, they make 100 6-foot-tall soldiers...who join the fight in the final battle.
  • Chekhov's Skill: Peewee, the game Stan is playing at the beginning. (It's extremely difficult. The "Sons of the Desert", the international Laurel & Hardy society, always have a Peewee tournament at their conventions.) At the final battle Stan uses his stick-whacking skills to fight the bad guys.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: The Wooden Soldiers absolutely decimate the Boogiemen, alternately stabbing, stomping on, or just generally crushing the monsters. Losing body parts does not stop them at all, either.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Barnaby replaces the mustache with sideburns, but fits every other aspect of the trope, including forcing the heroine to marry him in exchange for the mortgage.
  • Expy: The recurring Mickey Mouse-like mouse, played by a monkey in a mouse costume. This one was actually approved of by Walt Disney himselfnote  — although it does have the odd side effect of sticking Mickey into an era prior to his own creation.
  • George Jetson Job Security: Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee are fired from the Toymaker's shop after it is wrecked by one of the 6-foot tall toy soldiers.
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Bogeyland, as everyone knows the Bogeys are horrible monsters.
  • Impostor Forgot One Detail: Barnaby frames Tom-Tom for pignapping Elmer by placing the pig's hat and fiddle in his house, next to a plate of sausage. Later, when Ollie and Stan are lamenting Tom-Tom's fate, they take a nibble of the sausages...and discover that they're made from beef. That clues them in to the scheme and sends them running to Barnaby's cellar, where they find Elmer.
  • Live-Action Cartoon:The film itself has rather an cartoonish approach to it, like the costume designs and locations.
  • Lyrical Shoehorn: "Don't cry Bo Peep, don't cry/To find your lost sheep, we'll try"
  • Malaproper:
    Ollie: You are upset, aren't you?
    Stan: Upset? I'm housebroken.
  • Megaton Punch: Tom-Tom delivers one to Barnaby that knocks him flat.
  • Mixed Metaphor: A couple occur when Stannie is talking with Ollie about attempting to reason with Barnaby:
    Stannie Dum: You're right Ollie. You can't turn blood into a stone.
    Ollie Dee: What do you mean?
    Stannie Dum: Huh?
    Ollie Dee: What do you mean?
    Stannie Dum: Well, her talking to Barnaby, is just a matter of pouring one ear into another and coming out the other side. It can't be done.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: The villain konks Stan over the head... Stan looks confused, turns to Ollie, and says "Did he hit me?" Ollie nods, and Stan collapses.
  • Sealed Army in a Can: An army of toy wooden soldiers that were built outside specification (100 wooden soldiers each six feet tall, instead of 600 wooden soldiers each one foot tall). They come in handy defending Toyland from the boogeymen.
  • Stock Punishment: A set of stocks features prominently on the Toyland square. Tom-Tom flirts with Bo-Peep as they sit next to them, and Tom even playfully puts her feet on the stocks. Later, Stan and Ollie are placed there after being accused of attempted burglary by Barnaby.
  • Stop Motion: Used for the sequence in which Stan and Ollie start up the wooden soldiers and send them marching. For the rest of the climactic battle the soldiers are played by actors.
  • Storybook Opening: Mother Goose sings a song about Toyland and flips the pages of a book that shows all the main characters in live action, ending with Stan and Ollie.
  • Tempting Fate: "And Stannie and me chased Barnaby and the Bogeymen so far that they'll never come back!" So says Ollie while Barnaby and the Bogeymen are advancing on Toyland.
  • Trojan Horse: Attempted when Stannie Dum brings a Christmas present to Barnaby, who is skeptical about receiving a Christmas present in the middle of July. Stannie ruins the plot when he says "Good night, Ollie" and Ollie accidentally pops out of the box, responding to Stannie.
  • Villainous Crush: Barnaby for Bo Peep.
  • Water Torture: Stannie and Ollie are sentenced to getting dunked in the town square. Ollie goes first, but is so heavy he breaks the dunking stool, and ends up submerged for a long while. After Barnaby drops the charges, Stannie is relieved that he didn't get wet; Ollie responds by pushing him into the pond... and ruining his watch that he had given Stannie for safe keeping.
  • Would Hurt a Child: The Boogiemen have no qualms about kidnapping the children of Toyland. One even tries to attack Rock-a-Bye-Baby on the Treetop. Thankfully, a well-timed peewee saves the day.
  • You Monster!: An outraged Little Bo-Peep calling Barnaby a monster after he framed Tom-Tom for pig-napping.
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