|Year Released||1934||Commentary Tracks||None|
|Running Time||77:20 minutes||Other Extras||Cast Biographies
Featurette - Hustling For Health (15:23)
Charles R. Rogers
|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||
|Subtitles||None||Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
© Michael Demtschyna
7th November 1999
|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|