1 9 5 7 (East Germany)
Although The Singing Ringing Tree, was made as a feature film in the 1950s (as Das Singende Klingende Bäumchen in East Germany of all places), it screened on British television as 3 x 25-minute episodes in the 1960s as part of a BBC TV series called Tales From Europe – A collection of fairy tales from various European countries.
Other stories in the series included Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, The Golden Goose, The Tinder Box, Heidi, and The Boy and The Pelican.
The Singing Ringing Tree told the tale of a very spoilt Princess (Christel Bodenstein) and a Prince (Eckhart Dux) who wanted to marry her. But she was right horrid and was captured by a dwarf (Richard Krüger) and taken away to his domain.
And there were giant goldfish, and the Prince was turned into a bear, and the lake turned into ice, and all the fruit trees sang when you picked the fruit, and it was all just wonderful. And, of course, the Princess mended her ways, and all was sweetness and light.
The dubbing was a single voice (Late Night Line-Up presenter Tony Bilbow provided the English narration), so the characters on screen would jabber on for about an hour in German, which the narrator would then translate as, “‘Yes’, said the Princess”.
The film was shot in colour in the studio in Potsdam, Brandenburg, East Germany.
This film is still floating about in art house cinemas, even though it is now subtitled, which kinda spoils the effect.