Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz|
Actors: Violet MacMillan, Frank Moore, Pierre Couderc, Fred Woodward, Raymond Russell
Director: L. Frank Baum
Genres: Action & Adventure, Classics, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy
In this OZ adventure Dorothy finds herself "over the rainbow" along with her friends the Scarecrow Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion. Our brave friends set out to do battle with the Evil King Krewl and the Wicked Witch M... more »
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Baum's Oz on Film
Kevenn T. Smith | Lakewood, OH USA | 09/10/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I found this...and bought it, and I didn't regret it! I loved it. I raised myself on Baum's Oz stories, and this is one that he made himself. This movie is an original story that Baum wrote using his Oz characters, and later, story plots from this movie were used in his book, "The Scarecrow of Oz" - most notably the story of Princess Gloria and Pon, the Gardener's son and King Krewl. Dorothy features prominently in the story, though we're not told how she gets to Oz. Mombie is the witch, instead of Blinkie in the book. Other Oz characters that appear are Button Bright, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard, the Sawhorse, a Winged Monkey, and (I think) Hank the Mule. The music is really "Ozzy," and I really enjoyed it. It's a silent film, but the narration cards are read by an actress who does a pretty good job. The special effects are pretty impressive for its time. The is a scene reminiscent of "The Wizard of Oz" book, where the Scarecrow, pushing a raft, gets stuck on the pole. He slides down underwater, and the underwater affects surprised me for such an old film. There are fish swimming around, and even a mermaid makes an appearance. I also liked they way they showed Princess Gloria getting her heart frozen by Mombie and her fellow witches that she summons. At one point, they even take off flying on their brooms, which looked really awesome!
The costumes and makeup are also exellent. Dorothy wears the same dress and bow style that she does in John R. Neill's illustrations. The Tin Woodman's costume is a little funky, but is ok. I was impressed with how well the Scarecrow's makeup and clothes hold up in water. Mombie looks like The Witch of the West and Neill's Blinkie in the book. Princess Gloria is beautiful and looks like a wistful Fairy princess. The animal costumes were very kewl. I especially like Hank the Mule's costume, and enjoyed seeing him fight off Mombie. There's also other really nice pices of detail, like the little "Oz" pieces on the Sawhorse's bridle, which he has in Neill's illustrations.
There were also some very funny parts, like the Scarecrow discovering water and playing in a stream, to the dismay of Dorothy and Button Bright. They even had the Wall of Water, which was interestingly done with camera angles.
There is also a Little Rascals short on the disk about Alfalfa fighting a masked wrestler that's funny as well. But if you're looking for Baum's Oz, then this is for you."
L. Frank Baum directs as well as he writes
KNO2skull | United States | 03/13/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a fun 1914 version of an 'Oz' book, directed by L. Frank Baum himself. There are some great special FX, (the 'freezing heart' is fantastic!), and the acting is fairly good as well. The music and narration on this edition, as it is on the 1925 version of 'Wizard Of Oz', is redone and not very well. However, for the price, this film is worth having! Great fun for children but requires an attention span, because it's not as 'flash-bang-zippo!' as modern films, because of no sound effects."
Harmless Gryphon | Nowhere worth mentioning | 09/06/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a good purchase for $4.99, especially if you like the more unusual films to come out of the silent era, or any of the Oz books. It's a fun romp through Oz, and has some decent special effects. The film itself has deteriorated substantially, and it appears no effort was made to restore it. That's understandable, especially for such a cheap movie. The bad part of this disc is the audio. The music is a mix of ragtime and various other types. It has some relevance, as the mood does change with the film, but that's about all. The voice-over for the title cards, on the other hand, is just wrong. My conclusion: Buy the movie, but turn the audio off."
A Curious, Period Piece from Oz's Original Creator
John A Lee III | San Antonio, TX | 05/01/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I have been an Oz fan all of my life and usually jump at the opportunity to add something to my Oz collection. So it was that I was glad to find this piece. Watching it, however, was not all I had hoped for.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was written and directed by L. Frank Baum, the author of "The Wizard of Oz" as well as the later sequel, "The Scarecrow of Oz". As such, I expected it to be a very faithful adaptation of the book. In this, I was surpised by two things. The first was that the story was much less like the book that I would have expected from the book's author. The second is how good a job was done in a film dating from 1914.
The basic story is that of the book. Princess Gloria has her heart frozen by an evil witch to prevent her from marrying a commoner. The Oz characters come to her rescue. The way this comes about, however, deviates significantly from the book and several characters are changed or are missing alltogether. This was a dissapointment to me but may not be to others.
The state of the art for motion pictures was not all that developed in 1914. With that in mind, this movie does achieve some remarkable things. The "trick" are easy to identify but they do not detract from the progession of the story itself. These special effects include an underwater scene with the scarecrow, the actual freezing of the princess's heart and the decaptitation of the evil witch. They do blend well with the story. There is none of the "how did they do that" feeling but there is a "I'm surpriised they managed that" feeling to replace it.
In appearance, it seems like Oz is located in the American plains of the midwest. This is particularly apparent when the scarecrow is seen in his cornfield with "Indians" dancing around him. So too do the river scenes seem more like a bit of Americana than the fantasy land of Oz. So too do the witches seem to come from Salem as opposed to the fairy land. This is another instance of something that distracted me but may not affect anyone else.
Staple Oz characters making an appearance include Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard, the wooden Sawhorse, Old Mombi, Button Bright (as a girl instead of a boy!) as well as those specific to this story line like Gloria, Pon, King Krewl and Googly Goo. Notably absent are Trot, Captain Bill and Betsy Bobbin. It is possible that Hank the mule makes an appearance but I don't know if that is intentional or a coincidence and the character is not named.
This film is well worth buying for serious Oz fanatics. It does provide a diverting hour of entertainment and follows the basics of the story. So too might it appeal to silent movie fans who like silent movies for their own sake. The Little Rascals short is a nice additional touch as well."