Welcome to my blog, featuring various pieces from my collection of Oz books, artwork and memorabilia!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Patchwork on Film

The Patchwork Girl of Oz was the first feature film produced by the Oz Film Manufacturing Co. It was filmed in 1914, a year after the successful publication of the book of the same name. I believe L. Frank Baum had been looking at using the material in another attempt at a stage musical, but the burgeoning film industry in California drew his attention.
Here I have a set of several stills from the movie, which is readily available on YouTube. These are not from the time of the film itself, but they do seem to be actual publicity shots rather than screen captures. We start with Ojo and Unc Nunkie at home, with no food. The decision is made to set out in search of a better fortune. 

They travel to the home of the Crooked Magician, just as he is finishing a batch of his famous Powder of Life. 
The next still shows a slightly different angle of a pivotal scene from the movie. We see the magician pouring out his precious powder, preparing to use it to bring the Patchwork Girl to life. An accident involving the Liquid of Petrifaction occurs, and Ojo is off on a journey to the Emerald City to try and set things right! Unfortunately, the portion of the film showing the actual coming-to-life of the Patchwork Girl and the resulting accident is missing from the surviving print.
The final still takes place outside the Emerald City, and shows the Royal Army of Oz trying to cope with Ojo and several Munchkins who have journeyed to the city. A troop of female soldiers is in the background as well, a staple of early Oz productions! 
It's an elaborate film, but sadly the Oz Film Manufacturing Co. did not survive the reputation of producing "kiddie films", and ceased production a year later. The studio continued briefly under a different name, before being rented out to other companies and eventually demolished.