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>
Worth Seeing As A Historical Curiosity - But It Really Isn't The Wizard Of Oz
I have to say that this is an interesting adaptation of L. Frank Baum's famous story "The Wizard Of Oz" - the most interesting thing about it being that it seems to have little to do with either L. Frank Baum or The Wizard Of Oz.
The story, as it's told here, is really about the attempt of a wicked tyrant named "Kruel" to continue to oppress the inhabitants of a land called "Oz." In this version of the story, there is no wicked witch - nor is there a good witch for that matter. In fact, for the most part, Oz isn't really much different from - well - anywhere else. But the people of Oz are looking for their long lost princess. Into the picture bursts Dorothy (played by a actress named Dorothy Dwan) who gets blown into Oz by a Kansas tornado (OK, something familiar from Baum's story) and discovers her true identity.
The story doesn't really revolve around Dorothy, though. Nor does "The Wizard" (played by Charles Murray) have a particularly important role. He's a charlatan of no great significance. The movie revolves around the characters played by Larry Semon, a successful veteran of silent films, who also directed and produced this, along with helping to adapt the book. He's the "scarecrow" character - although not a real scarecrow, just dressed up as a scarecrow, and most of the movie is about his unrequited love for Dorothy.
I found this really quite bizarre. The most interesting thing about it might be that it features Oliver Hardy (of Laurel & Hardy fame) as the Woodsman, among other characters. It's not bad technically and has some decent enough effects for the day. The story is quite disjointed, although it does have some humorous moments. I'd have to believe that the reason a lot of people think it's so bad is because it just isn't "The Wizard Of Oz." It was a very expensive movie for its day, and basically was responsible for bankrupting Chadwick Pictures. Semon's career also seemed to go downhill pretty quickly afterward. Still, one shouldn't dismiss it so quickly. It may not be a very good movie and the story may not make a lot of sense, but you can't deny that it's a true historical curiosity. (6/10)
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