Finally, and this isn't exactly relevant to the story, but today just happens to be my kid brother's 25th birthday. So, HIPY PAPY BTHUTHDTH THUTHDA BTHUTHDY, Dash!
For some reason, the logic behind which is now, sadly, lost to us, people used to live in cottages in the middle of the woods. This allowed for some very nice scenery, but made it difficult to get anything done. The nearest village was usually quite a hike (or, in the Yiddish, “schlepp”) and more time was lost in commuting than anything else. Not to mention the constant fear of your kids being eaten by some manner of predator.
But the next morning Hansel found himself suspended in the air in a large wooden cage! Suddenly the Witch’s intentions were abundantly clear. She was going to fatten up Hansel and eat him! Gretel, who was more on the petite side, would have the unpleasant task of serving her brother the food he was to eat in order to get fatter quicker.
- Babes in the Woods (1932) An early Disney Silly Symphony which, while clearly based on this story, seems to go out of its way to distract you from the fact. Here the children have no names and befriend a band of dwarfs (early prototypes for Snow White) before being set upon a by a witch (likewise) whose house is made of sweets, but who turns children into horrible creatures instead of eating them.
- "Hansel and Gretel" (operetta) The most famous composition by English composer Englebert Humperdink whose name is much better than his music could ever be...although his music is still pretty good.
- "Fractured Fairy Tales" (TV) I mention this because their version of this story is one of the few to actually use the duck bit I mentioned earlier.
- "Faerie Tale Theatre" (TV) Here, Joan Collins is the wicked stepmother and the witch, Paul Dooley is the kindly father and a very young Rick Schroeder is Hansel.
- Bewitched Bunny (1954) This one starts as Hansel and Gretel, but Bugs Bunny saves them and takes their place as the witch's intended victim. The best part, though, is that, for some reason, everyone refers to the boy as "Haaaaansel" which is a great running gag in a cartoon, but which would never work in text.