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The Wonderful Wizard of Oz -- An early version of the classic, based more on the 1902 stage musical than on the original novel.

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Director:
Writers:
L. Frank Baum (novel)
Otis Turner (scenario)
Contact:
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Release Date:
24 March 1910 (USA) See more »
Genre:
Plot:
An early version of the classic, based more on the 1902 stage musical than on the original novel. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
Plot Keywords:
User Reviews:
Fascinating re-enactment of early stage musical See more (14 total) »

Cast

  (in credits order)

Directed by
Otis Turner 
 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
L. Frank Baum  novel "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"
Otis Turner  scenario

Produced by
William Nicholas Selig .... producer
 

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"The Wizard of Oz" - USA (alternative title)
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Runtime:
13 min (20 fps)
Country:
Language:
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »
Sound Mix:
Certification:

Did You Know?

Trivia:
One of the films in the 3-disk boxed DVD set called "More Treasures from American Film Archives (2004)", compiled by the National Film Preservation Foundation from 5 American film archives. This film is preserved by George Eastman House, has a running time of 13 minutes and an added piano score.See more »
Goofs:
Revealing mistakes: When Glinda appears, you can clearly see the actress jerking into position when the harness has stopped pulling her up.See more »
Movie Connections:
Version of The Wizard of Oz (1925)See more »

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10 out of 10 people found the following review useful.
Fascinating re-enactment of early stage musical, 7 July 2007
Author: F Gwynplaine MacIntyre from Minffordd, North Wales

In some ways, I found this 1910 silent version of 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' more entertaining than the big-budget MGM remake. And in some ways, this silent version (made while L Frank Baum was still alive and writing more Oz novels) is more faithful to Baum's source novel (and its sequels) than the MGM movie was. More significantly for historical purposes, this silent film preserves some aspects of the hugely popular 1903 stage musical based on 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', which deviated significantly from both the novel and the later MGM movie.

In the novel, Toto's single most important function is to be a sounding-board for Dorothy, so that she can express her thoughts aloud without talking to herself. In the stage musical (unlike MGM's version), it was impractical to have a trained dog performing various cues, so Toto was written out. Instead, for the stage musical, Dorothy's companion in the cyclone ride from her Kansas farm to Oz was Imogene the cow, played by two panto-style actors in a cow costume. In this movie, we see several 'animals' (including Imogene, and the Cowardly Lion) which are very obviously played by actors in costumes. Toto appears very briefly as a real dog, to be transformed almost immediately by Glinda into an actor in a dog cozzie, courtesy of a Melies-style jump cut. Refreshingly, Dorothy is actually played here by an age-appropriate little girl (more about her later), rather than a too-old teenage Judy Garland in a bust-suppressor.

In the stage musical based on 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz', the star performers were the comedy team of Fred Stone and David C Montgomery as the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman; they sang comic songs such as "Hurrah for Baffin's Bay" and performed specialities, notably a 'black art' routine in which Stone assembled the various pieces of Montgomery's disconnected Tin Woodman. (After starring in this stage musical, Montgomery died young; Fred Stone went on to play Katharine Hepburn's father in 'Alice Adams'.) Here in this silent film of the stage musical, there's not much singing, but we do see the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman performing a comical dance. The Scarecrow does a very impressive back handspring, made even more impressive because he immediately segues from this into a weird crawling dance with the animal actors. I was astounded to learn that this acrobatic Scarecrow was Robert Z Leonard, a vaudeville performer who'd worked with Lon Chaney, and who later had a long successful career as a film director, well into the talkies era. (He directed Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli in 'In the Good Old Summertime', among other credits.) One tableau sequence in this silent movie puts Dorothy and the Scarecrow in a forest where the trees have sinister faces; I wonder if this sequence inspired the talking-tree sequence in the MGM film. Elsewhere in this 1910 film, we see that Oz has some black residents ... in loincloths, escorting camels.

The charming and delightful Dorothy in this silent film, as I was pleased to discover, is Bebe Daniels, who later did much to inspire British radio audiences during the Blitz. Here, she performs a delightful dance. The nimble Tin Woodman is played by Alvin Wyckoff, who later became a movie cameraman. There are a couple of very impressive stage sets with ensembles of chorus girls in pageboy outfits, and the Melies-like entrance to the Emerald City looks like an enormous human face. I was hugely impressed with the flying effect used here for the villainous Momba the Witch (no, not Mombi from the Oz books: this is Momba with an 'a') and also used here for Glinda; the Glinda in this movie looks vastly more impressive than Billie Burke did as Glinda with that wastebasket on her head. In this silent version, when Dorothy uses a bucket of water to dissolve the wicked witch, I found the results more impressive than what happened in the MGM version. I'll rate this 1910 movie 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz' a full 10 out of 10. I wish they had filmed the complete stage musical, even without sound.

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