March Of The Wooden Soldiers

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Details At A Glance

Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer(s) None
Rating Other Trailer(s) None
Year Released 1934 Commentary Tracks None
Running Time 77:20 minutes Other Extras Cast Biographies
Featurette - Hustling For Health (15:23)
RSDL/Flipper No/No
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region 2,4 Director Gus Meins
Charles R. Rogers

Force Video
Starring Stan Laurel
Oliver Hardy
Charlotte Henry
Felix Knight
Henry Brandon
Florence Roberts
Ferdinand Munier
William Burress
Virginia Karns
RRP $29.95 Music Victor Herbert

Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame MPEG None
Widescreen Aspect Ratio N/A Dolby Digital 2.0 mono
16x9 Enhancement No Soundtrack Languages English (Dolby Digital 2.0 mono, 224Kb/s)
Theatrical Aspect Ratio 1.37:1
Macrovision ? Smoking Yes
Subtitles None Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    The end of a long week had arrived. Feeling too lazy to go out, my wife and I were looking for some light entertainment to amuse us on a Friday night. "How about some Laurel And Hardy?", I asked. She readily agreed. Both of us have fond memories of old Laurel and Hardy movies - they made us laugh when we were young.

    March Of The Wooden Soldiers is a Laurel & Hardy black and white classic, loosely based on the Mother Goose characters. Stannie Dee (Stan Laurel) and Ollie Dum (Oliver Hardy) are dimwitted toymakers in Toyland. They live with The Old Woman Who Lives In A Shoe, who happens to be Bo-Peep's (Charlotte Henry) mother. Bo-Peep loves Tom Tom (Felix Knight), but the nasty Silas Barnaby (Henry Kleinbach) threatens to foreclose on The Shoe unless Bo-Peep marries him. What follows is a series of adventures through both Toyland and Bogeyland which are comical, touching, frightening, and most of all, entertaining.

Transfer Quality


    This transfer is not great, even taking into consideration the vintage of the source material.

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. It is not 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer lacks definition and there is little detail in the picture, even considering the vintage of the source material. This DVD transfer has been clearly taken from a fairly low quality video source, and the overall definition of the transfer suffers for it. In terms of absolute clarity, this is marginally higher than videotape in quality, but not by much.

    The first reel of the movie is quite problematic, with a cyclic variation in the intensity of the image - once every second a single frame is significantly brighter than the surrounding frames. This became quite distracting after a while. As the movie progressed, this artefact disappeared and the transfer brightness was much more even.

    Shadow detail was not great, but I attribute this to the source material. Low level noise was present to a minor extent in the darker areas of the picture, but was not at all distracting.

    MPEG artefacts were rarely seen. The only times when they became noticeable was during fade ins and fade outs, where very minor pixelization was discernible. Film to video artefacts consisted of some telecine wobble which was never particularly bad. There was a video dropout artefact at 8:16 where we see dark streaks appear briefly through the top part of the picture. Film artefacts, as are to be expected in a transfer of this vintage were plentiful. However, they were never unacceptable and never particularly bad.


    There is a single audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 2.0 (mono).

    Dialogue was acceptably clear and audible taking into consideration the fact that this is a 65 year old optical audio track.

    Audio sync was not a problem with this transfer, again taking into account the age of this movie.

    The music by Victor Herbert adds significantly to the enjoyment of this movie.

    There was no use of the surround audio channels or the .1 channel.


    There is a small selection of extras on this disc.



Featurette - Hustling For Health

    This is an early Stan Laurel silent short movie - it was very entertaining. The music in particular is very catchy. The quality of the image is commensurate with the age of the source material. There is a MAJOR MPEG artefact at 6:42 - 6:43 involving quite significant picture break-up. This was consistent across a number of different DVD players, and did not respond to cleaning at all, so it remains to be seen if this is a faulty pressing or whether my individual copy of this movie was at fault.

R4 vs R1

    The Region 4 version of this movie misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this movie misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this film is colourized. In my opinion, this amounts to an act of vandalism towards a film, and any movie that has had this most offensive process applied to it should be avoided at all costs.

    The Region 4 version of this film accordingly wins hands down as the preferred version of this movie, even though the video quality is not all that great.


    March Of The Wooden Soldiers is classic Laurel & Hardy.

    The video quality is lacking, and a little disappointing, even considering the age of the source material.

    The audio quality is passable considering the source material.

    The extras are passable.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna
7th November 1999

Review Equipment
DVD Toshiba 2109, using S-Video output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 4:3 mode, via the S-Video input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Amplification 2 x EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifiers for Left, Right, Left Rear and Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Yamaha B100-115SE subwoofer