Genre Grandeur – Babes in Toyland (1961) – KN Winiarski Writes

For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Alternative Christmas movies here’s a review of Babes in Toyland (1961) by Kristen of KN Winiarski Writes.

Thanks again to Chris ‘Tank’ Tanski of Fright Rags for choosing this month’s genre.

Next month’s genre has been chosen by Lisa Leehey of Critical Critics and we will be reviewing our favorite Unreliable Narrator Movies.

Please get me your submissions by the 25th of Jan by sending them to

Try to think out of the box! Great choice Lisa!

Let’s see what Kristen thought of this movie:


I’m happy to participate in MovieRob‘s Genre Grandeur for December, which focuses on alternative Christmas movies. I struggled with a subject for this one as I’ve always kind of thought of this one as a Christmas movie. Then I realized that it being a Christmas movie is a stretch even though it was released in December of 1961. It is more suited to the alternative Christmas category.


Mary Quite Contrary {Annette Funicello} and Tom the Piper’s Son {Tommy Sands} are about to be married when greedy old miser Barnaby {Ray Bolger} hatches a plot with two henchmen to kidnap Tom and steal Mary’s sheep. This would leave Mary without a fiance or income. Barnaby is after the money she is to inherit upon marriage and even though Tom returns, Barnaby follows them to a Toymaker’s shop that they come across when out looking for the sheep.

Ray Bolger

Ray Bolger is so much fun as the evil Barnaby. He dances, he sings, he lurks and “pussyfoots.” Even though he is the villain, he’s fun to watch. I watched this movie a bunch as a kid and remember years ago when I realized that he was the Scarecrow.

This is him attempting to woo Mary:

Annette Funicello and Tommy Sands


These two are so cute as Tom and Mary. Annette is always fun to watch and while Tommy Sands didn’t do a lot, it’s really too bad because he had such a great voice. Rumor has it that Frank Sinatra destroyed his career prospects after he divorced his daughter, Nancy, in 1965. Don’t mess with Frank’s family, I guess!

They did work together in None But the Brave that was released in 1965. Frank acted in and directed this one. They look like they’re having fun here, but it must have fallen apart soon after that.

Ed Wynn and Tommy Kirk

These two have great chemistry as the Toymaker and his assistant, Grumio. The Toymaker reminds him often about how he is just an assistant, but turns out he’s a skillful inventor. The inventions go haywire, mostly at the interference of the Toymaker. Their banter is great though and they seemed to work really well together!

The Christmas Connection

There is a connection to Christmas, but it’s pretty subtle. The Toymaker is behind with making enough toys for Christmas, so I guess he’s kind of like Santa? Tom, Mary and their group of kids help him get back on track. That’s pretty much it. Then there’s an interesting sword fight between shrunken {due to one of Grumio’s inventions} Tom and Barnaby.

One thought on “Genre Grandeur – Babes in Toyland (1961) – KN Winiarski Writes

  1. Pingback: Genre Grandeur – December Finale – Die Hard (1988) – Fright Rags | MovieRob

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