A Toymaker tells a bizarre story about how the Land of Oz was ruled by Prince Kynd, but he was overthrown by Prime Minister Kruel. Dorothy learns from Aunt Em that fat, cruel Uncle Henry is not her uncle, and gives her a note due on her eighteenth birthday, which reveals she is actually Princess Dorothea of Oz, and is supposed to marry Prince Kynd. She, Uncle Henry , and two farmhands are swept to Oz by a tornado. Snowball, a black farmhand soon joins them after a lightning bolt chases him into the sky. They land in Oz, where the farmhands try to avoid capture. Semon becomes a scarecrow, Hardy briefly disguises himself as a Tin Woodman, and Snowball is given a Lion suit by the Wizard, which he uses to scare the Pumperdink guards. Written by
Scott Hutchins <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This is a pretty weird adaptation of the "Wizard of Oz", bearing only a passing resemblance either to the original book or to the beloved Judy Garland version. The story is much different, and the characters look and act much differently. Frankly, most of it isn't really very good, although for those who enjoy silent films there are some points of historical interest.
Instead of the more familiar story of young Dorothy's trip to Oz, the scenario here has a melodrama centering on a somewhat older Dorothy (Dorothy Dwan), combined with some slapstick involving the Oz characters. In itself, it's not necessarily a big problem to adapt the story (after all, the great 1939 version also made some significant changes from the book), but this one does not really fit together very well, and it certainly does not work as well as the more familiar story. It really looks as if Larry Semon just tried far too hard to put his own personal stamp on the story, instead of simply trying to make a good movie version of the Wizard. It's interesting to see Oliver Hardy as the Tin Woodman, but he doesn't really get a lot to do, and a number of the other characters are ill-conceived, and do not work out well at all. It's also plagued with a lot of excruciating puns in the title cards, plus other similar problems.
Some of the finest movies ever made came from this era, when the silents were at their peak, and it should have been possible to make a first-rate adaptation of the Oz story, but unfortunately this isn't it. With its overdone attempts at humor and melodrama, it looks more like the stereotyped images of silent movies that are held by so many ill-informed modern moviegoers. For silent movie fans, there are still a couple of points of interest that might make it worth watching in order to satisfy one's curiosity, but otherwise there's really no particular reason to see it.
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