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>
I rarely say this about silent films, but this one stinks,...
This movie was reportedly the one that sunk Larry Semon's career. Instead of the usual short films he was known for, Semon decided to do something "important" and made this (for the time) long film adaptation of THE WIZARD OF OZ,....or at least that's what the title indicates it should be. The story, it seems, bears little similarity to either the 1939 movie or the books. In fact, apart from a few names here and there, it is pretty much unrecognizable as the story about Dorothy and Oz. Instead, it was just an excuse to string along a lot of familiar and not especially funny gags--like I have seen in several other Larry Semon films, the big stunt is his swinging from tower to tower. A neat stunt the first time you see it, but not when it's old material and has nothing to do with the plot.
Overall, I consider this movie a wasted effort. I know that Semon COULD be funny--like he was in his short films. But here, it's just a confusing and dreary mess. Likewise, having Oliver Hardy in the film SHOULD have been an asset, but he was pretty much wasted as well. While not exactly a classic, the 1910 short silent version was much better and stuck closer to the original story and the 1939 version is a classic. This one is better off staying forgotten or seen by the morbidly curious as the project that may have ultimately destroyed Semon's career.
PS--In addition to being a terrible movie, there is a Black man named "Snowflake" that likes to eat watermelon! Ugghh!!!
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