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Babes in the Woods

A Silly Symphony

Release Date : November 19, 1932

Running Time : 7:42

Synopsis

Two lost children chance upon a village of elves when an evil witch comes to call. A reworked retelling of the "Hansel and Gretel" story.

Characters

Hansel
Gretel
Witch (1)

Credits

Director
Bert Gillett
Animation
Johnny Cannon
Les Clark
Norm Ferguson
Frenchy de Tremaudan
Ben Sharpsteen
Hardie Gramatky
Jack King
Dick Lundy
Tom Palmer
Eddie Donnelly
Bill Mason
Hamilton Luske
Ed Love
Bill Roberts
Joe D'Igalo
Art Babbitt
Louie Schmitt
Fred Spencer
Layout
Charles Philippi
Story
Webb Smith
Ted Sears
Music
Bert Lewis

Source

Based on the story "Hansel and Gretel"

Video

United States
Cartoon Classics : First Series : Volume 13 : Fanciful Fables
Germany
Verrückte Musikanten
France
Silly Symphonies Volume 1
Italy
Silly Symphonies Volume 2

Laserdiscs

United States
Cartoon Classics : Fanciful Fables
Japan
More Silly Symphonies

DVD

United States
Walt Disney Animation Collection : Volume 4 : The Tortoise and the Hare
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
Germany
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
France
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
Italy
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
Sweden
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies
United Kingdom
Disney Treasures : Silly Symphonies

Blu-Ray

United States
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs : 3 Disc Blue ray + DVD Combo Pack

Television

The Ink and Paint Club: Episode 55: Oooh! Scary!
The Mickey Mouse Club : November 15, 1955

Technical Specification

Color Type: Technicolor
Animation Type: Standard animation
Sound Mix: Mono
Aspect Ratio: 1.37 : 1
Negative Format: 35mm
Print Format: 35mm
Cinematographic Process: Spherical
Original Language: English

Released by United Artists Pictures

Comments

From William Sommerwerck : This is a violent, nasty film, quite unlike most of Disney's creations. (You can easily imagine Disney viewing the finished result and vowing "never again.") For that reason alone, it deserves 10 stars.
From Josef : Great short with wonderful animation. This was the third Silly Symphony made in color. I noticed that the dwarfs were similar to the ones in Santa's Workshop.
From John Baker : The original "Babes in the Wood" poem is an obscure nursery rhyme that tells the story of two little children who were stolen and left in a wood, where they died; the robins covered them with leaves and sang about the poor babes in the wood. I believe it is the saddest poem in all of Mother Goose's oeuvre. It was a safe bet that Disney would, at a minimum, change the ending.

The Disney version mixes this story up with the evil witch from Hansel and Gretel who lives in a cottage made of candy. The cartoon is not an adaptation of Hansel and Gretel and does not use any other parts of that story: There are no unfit parents or breadcrumbs, the witch is not a cannibal, and the children do not push her into the oven. There is also a village of friendly elves, and it is they who rescue the children. Friendly elves are not in the classic stories like The Babes in the Wood and Hansel and Gretel, but they were a frequent feature of children's stories in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As one might expect with this kind of mixmash, this is not one of the great Disney cartoons, but it's still fun to watch the kids and the elves fighting with the witch.


From Gijs Grob : This re-telling of Grimm's classic tale of Hänsl and Gretel introduces many story ideas that made it into Snow White five years later. I find the pretty scary scene inside the Witches house particularly gripping.

One trivial remark: Hänsl and Gretel are wearing traditional costumes typical for some old Dutch fishing-villages (I can tell, I am Dutch). However, the landscape looks anything but Dutch (in fact, it looks pretty Mid-European). Talking about being lost!


From Lawrence Abbott : I remember seeing this when I was small (I was still in kindergarten, I think). It made quite an impression on me, but I found it rather sad and disturbing. What especially got to me, was the part where the cat gets turned to stone.

Referenced Comments