Babes in Toyland (1961)

Oh, I love old technicolor musicals. I love the silliness, the energy, the big dance numbers.  If you do not love old technicolor musicals, then by all means skip this one.

This is particularly surreal, even for a holiday musical.  The whole thing takes place in Mother Goose Land, or something, in which Mary (quite contrary) has a lot of foster kids and a big secret inheritance.  There is a sappy love story and a mustache twirling villain, but first there is a ridiculously long song and dance number.  Overall there are a few too many songs, and many of the dances go a little too long, even for me. Plus one really odd scene that is apparently about the tragedy of a single woman not confident in her math ability.  Very odd.

After about half the movie, the action moves to the Forest of No Return, the plot gets simpler, the music more fun, and the whole thing more enjoyable.  My favorite part might be the menacing singing trees.  The costumes and sets are a lot of fun throughout.

While the dialogue is overall wittty and the lyrics clever, I didn't enjoy Babes in Toyland so much that I'm going to seek it out regularly, especially since the end is a bit of a let down, and the protagonists' performances are pretty flat.

If you're a fan of corny musicals like I am, you may want to see it at least once, just be aware that it is rather long and the plot meanders a lot.

Babes in Toyland is available on DVD

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