It’s plausible, in a world where we consider Jingle All The Way vintage, you’ve never stumbled upon the original March of the Wooden Soldiers. Originally under the moniker of Babes In Toyland, March of the Wooden Soldiers is one of the very first Christmas-esque films , and while it’s a classic in some rights, it’s also antiquated to the point of hilarity. March of the Wooden Soldiers is so totally bizarre in a modern lens. So obviously, it is my seasonal obligation to provide you with proof of this.
To fill you in on the plot, Toyland is generally a Nursery Rhyme town where Little Bo Peep lives with her mom (The Old Lady in the Shoe) and has designs on Tom-Tom Piper (I guess the Pied Piper). But an evil landlord named Barnaby has designs on Bo Peep, and tries to marry her when her mother can’t pay the mortgage. Anyway, Laurel and Hardy are supposed to step in and be the big heroes of this film, but mostly they provide light comedy and a bunch of overgrown toy soldiers save the day instead.
So for your enjoyment, here is a chronological catalog of all the weirdness in March of the Wooden Soldiers. And don't worry, it's colorized for your enjoyment!
1. These People Live In A Big Story Book, Apparently
That's Mother Goose to the right, btw.
2. Stannie Dum And Ollie Dee Like To Sleep.
... in the same bed. And there is nothing wrong with that (aside from the assumption that they're paying a hefty rent on their room).
3. All The Nursery Rhyme Folk Are Doing Their Nursery Rhyme Thing
Which, I mean, it makes sense for Mary to see how her garden grows, but how can Little Jack Horner spend his entire life pulling plums from pies?
4. The Three Little Pigs Are Made Up Of Overalls And Nightmare Fuel
So like, good luck sleeping tonight.
5. "Oh, You Children Will Be The Death Of Me." "Ah, Mother, Do You Really Mean That?"
Bo Peep seems a little too eager to inherit that shoe.
6. Barnaby Offers Bo Peep This "Fragrant Token Of My Deep Devotion" And She Still Won't Accept His Proposal
Which is ridiculous, because who wouldn't want to marry this scary Pilgrim warlock?
7. Barnaby Then Threatens To Take The Shoe Back If He Can't Marry Bo Peep.
I'm not 100 percent educated on the inner workings of real estate, but this does't seem kosher.
8. The Old Lady Trusts That Stannie And Ollie Will Bail Her Out
Which sounds reasonable, because they're two grown men who are renting a bed in a shoe. Obviously they've made a lot of sound financial decisions thus far.
9. "Good Morning, Master!"
"Master"? Is this going to end in some Fifty Shades of Grey territory? I don't know if I'm psychologically prepared.
10. A Moment Of Judgement For these Hairstyles
11. The Entire Town Goes Hunting For Bo Peep's Sheep Yet Nobody's Seen Them
Also, does anyone besides Stannie and Ollie have an actual job in this town?
12. Tom-Tom, The Virile Good Guy Competition To Barnaby, Basically Hits On Bo Peep Within The Span Of Three Minutes
So like, pretty much the same as Barnaby.
13. He Then Shackles Her When She Says She's Not Interested
What is happening here?!
14. "My Dear Friends And Citizens Of Toyland. I Want You All To Meet... The Future Mrs. Piper!"
Wait, so they're engaged now? Was this their first conversation? How is this less crazy than accepting Barnaby's proposal? OK, I'll admit that Barnaby has a strong Gargamel vibe, I'm just saying in terms of an engagement timeline, it makes no sense.
15. Man, Santa's Really Letting Himself Go
Beard upkeep is important, Santa. Trust me, I live in Brooklyn.
16. There Are Those Shackles Again.
I was kidding about the Fifty Shades Of Grey thing, yet here we are...
17. Incidentally, They Could Probably Leave At Any Time
Their arms are unbound, the guards are letting them have a full length conversation, is that food?
18. Barnaby's Face When He Gets Married To Stannie
A bizarrely progressive movie for the time.
19. The Most Terrifying Cat In The World
Even with the visible zipper.
20. This Seems Like A Very Ineffective Police Station
There is a concerning lack of security in Toyland.
21. Tom-Tom's Big Problem Solving Strategy Is To Tell Bo Peep To Sleep
Bros In Creepland.
22. Look At These Fuzzy Green Orcs
Who make no attempt to actually capture Bo Peep, but they do jump about enthusiastically.
23. Mickey Mouse In Pajamas?
This is also a thing that happens.
24. Stannie and Ollie Return As Heroes, French Kiss
Ollie acts disgusted, but there's no masking this great romance.
25. Truly Some Masterful Special Effects Here
I'm especially fond of the part where the toy soldiers turn into legit people.
So strange. Anyway, if you've exhausted all of your other Christmas mainstays this year, be sure to check this gem out. It's worth it for the Horror-Pigs alone. So festive!
Images: MGM (31)