The World of Hans Christian Anderson
Color, 75 minutes
Animation / Family
Directed by Chuck McCann and Al Kilgore
Voice of Chuck McCann as Uncle Oley, Lionel Wilson, Sidney Filson, Earl Hammond and Hetty Galen
English language version
Hans Christian Andersen relates the charming tales that gave him his career in storytelling. The Little Match Girl and The Red Shoes are linked by a framing story of young Hans' efforts to help his financially strained shoemaker father. The Danish governor, enchanted by Hans' storytelling, makes him his official ward, ensuring a happy ending.
Hans’ father is the least wealthy shoemaker in town, though he’s good at his work. Hans has a good imagination; it helps that his town is a little on the fantastic side, with talking mice and cats, and the mysterious stranger, Uncle Oley, who comes by to have his shoes repaired and pays with a piece of red leather. The leather is well-timed, since there’s a contest to make red shoes for the princess to wear to the opera, and Hans’ father couldn’t afford the red leather. Oley tells Hans his jobs including polishing the stars weekly and acting as the sand man; he lets Hans help in the latter. The poor flower seller next door to Hans is evicted, in large part because the Mayor/landlord’s daughter wouldn’t pay for the flowers she ordered. Her granddaughter, Elisa, is a good friend of Hans; he later sees her selling matches to pay for her grandmother’s medicine and uses the money he earned for an opera ticket to buy all her matches instead. At the opera, the red shoes make the princess (the Mayor’s daughter) dance uncontrollably out the door and onto the rooftops; the audience panics and runs after her. When they return, Hans is telling a boy the story of the little match girl. He doesn’t notice them assemble, but they are enthralled by his storytelling skills, and the Governor, who came to town for the opera, takes Hans to Copenhagen for his education.