The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) Bebe Daniels, Hobart Bosworth, Eugenie Besserer, Robert Z. Leonar Movie Review

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)   3/53/53/53/53/5

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)

Dorothy Before Judy

Whilst in the cornfield Dorothy discover that the scarecrow is actually alive and after helping him down of this frame ends up travelling with her to Oz when a tornado spins across the field. The scarecrow is not Dorothy's only travelling companion as her dog Toto, Hank the mule and Imogene the cow all end up in Oz with her. It is there that not only does Glinda transform Toto into a much fiercer dog to protect Dorothy but then meet the Tin Woodsman and the Cowardly Lion as they end up on a journey to the Emerald City and an encounter with a wicked witch of the West.

Whilst this 1910 version of L. Frank Baum's "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" is the earliest surviving movie adaptation there have been quite a few other early adaptations which I am sure must be as curious to watch as this one is. I say curious because whilst the storyline is familiar there are some very different elements to this silent movie from a cow which travels back with them to Toto being turned into what looks like a bulldog. It will certainly be a bit curious for those who have only ever encountered the much more famous "The Wizard of Oz".

But there is another reason why "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" will also seem strange to some and that is because it feels more like someone recorded a stage play. From the sets to the performances it has that almost pantomime quality which makes it both strange but also interesting when you think about when this was made an the movie industry was still in its early years. The thing is that whilst men in animal costumes might seem tacky it strangely adds to this short's charms as does Bebe Daniels who is surprisingly effecting in making you notice her when so much is going on around her.

What this all boils down to is that not only is "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" entertaining in a pantomime sort of way but it is also an interesting look back to the fledgling years of cinema and how things were done.