Hans Christian Andersen

Starring: Danny Kaye, Farley Granger and Zizi Jeanmaire
RRP: 12.99
Certificate: U
Available 14 March 2005

An MGM musical of the highest order, this is the fictional story of Hans Christian Andersen, a storytelling cobbler who leaves his small Dutch village and ends up making shoes for a world famous ballerina in Copenhagen. Once in the big city he wins the hearts and minds of children wherever he goes with his famed tales including Thumbelina, The Ugly Duckling and The Little Mermaid...

Hans Christian Andersen from 1952 is not, as the movie is eager to point out in it's opening sequence, based on the real history of the famous writer. This film uses the writer's tales and weaves a fictional story about a humble cobbler who likes entertaining the local children. He then moves to Denmark, makes some shoes for a famous ballerina and becomes famous the world over.

There are plenty of memorable songs - many of which you'll already be well familiar with. These include The Emperor's New Clothes, Inch Worm (easily the best), I'm Hans Christian Andersen, Copenhagen, Thumbelina, The Little Mermaid and The Ugly Duckling.

Everything seems to be going great and the story is plodding along nicely... until Hans meets a ballerina, and then everything starts to go downhill rapidly.

While bringing ballet to the masses through a popular movie may be applauded, I doubt many children will manage to sit still through the overly long ballet sequences. And when I say "overly long" I mean "painfully, overly long".

This release is not in widescreen and is only in stereo (which I suppose is hardly surprising when you consider how old it is). There are also no extras, but then at £12.99 you shouldn't expect any.

For the most part this is a fun, family movie. Sadly, due to the boring ballet scenes, this is never going to be remembered as fondly as other classics like The Wizard of Oz or The Sound of Music.

Amber Leigh

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