Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Oz Film Manufacturing Company trilogy

During the mid-1910s, L. Frank Baum took it upon himself to make independent live-action silent movies based on his Oz books. He set up the Oz Film Manufacturing Company in California. Three movies that were made back then have survived today.

The first one was The Patchwork Girl Of Oz which was based on the book of the same name. It only skewes a little from the original story by making Jinjur an antogonist in it, plus creating characters like Dr. Pipt's daughter Jesseva and her fiance Danx. Two other original characters who actually appear in a few of the other OFMC movies are the mule Mewel, and the strange creature called the Zoop who resembles a monkey mixed with a Chinese dragon. Following this was The Magic Cloak Of Oz which was inspired by Baum's novel, Queen Zizi Of Ix. It has was no direct connection to Oz, even though the country of Ix that it takes place in borders Oz. The only regular Oz character in it is the Woozy returning from the last movie, along with Mewel and Zoop. The last one was His Majesty, The Scarecrow Of Oz, which later became the basis for Baum's book, The Scarecrow Of Oz. It originally combined elements of Wizard Of Oz and Land Of Oz. It introduces Button Bright as an original character, plus Dorothy's first appearance in the OFMC trilogy, but this time she's profiled as being a girl from Kansas who is enslaved to the witch Mombi(how she got to Oz is never explained). Tin Man plays a significant part in the story too. The movie was originally retitled The New Wizard Of Oz in order to attract a larger audience.

On their own, these films manage to capture alot of the whimsy of the Ozbooks that alot of other movies haven't. There's several versions of these films on DVD, usually along with the 1925 The Wizard Of Oz movie. One is Wizard Of Oz: The Lost L. Frank Baum Versions, The Wizard Of Oz Collection, and The World Of Oz. I'd highly recommend that you check these out sometime, either DVD or online.

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