December 28, 2015
Hal Roach’s 1934 film Babes in Toyland was later given the alternate title March of the Wooden Soldiers. Here, to avoid confusion with the 1903 operetta and 1904 children’s book of the same name (or the 1961 Disney film, which is slightly closer to the operetta), I will consistently use the alternate title to refer to Hal Roach’s film. There is, after all, good reason for not referring to these very different works by the same title.
An Interpretation of Hal Roach’s Babes in Toyland
by Hadding Scott
March of the Wooden Soldiers is a 1934 film from Hal Roach’s production company, starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. It pretends to be based on the 1903 operetta Babes in Toyland by librettist Glen MacDonough and composer Victor Herbert. While Roach’s film includes some elements of the famous operetta, however, including some of the great music, it is a very different work, with different characters and a different story. I argue that what Hal Roach and his writers created is a racial allegory.
Read the full article here or listen to the mp3’s below.