The Magic Cloak of Oz
The Magic Cloak of Oz
Director: J. Farrell MacDonald
Writer: L. Frank Baum
Cast: Mildred Harris, Violet MacMillan, Fred Woodward, Vivian Reed, Pierre Couderc, Frank Moore, Juanita Hansen, Bernadine Zuber
Synopsis: The fairies of Oz gather in the forest of Burzee one evening and weave a magic cloak that gives the wearer one wish, so long as it has not been stolen. The man in the moon tells them that their messenger should give it to the first miserable person she sees. Two children, Fluff and her younger brother "Bud" (a child's attempt at "brother," which stuck), have just lost their father and are taken by Aunt Rivette to live in Nole, the capital city of Noland, where the king has just died without heir. The messenger gives Fluff the cloak, who wishes to be happy again, while a legal loophole places Bud on the throne, and they empty the treasury to buy toys. Their pet mule Nickodemus is captured by robbers and puts together a small animal army (including the Cowardly Lion, the Hungry Tiger, the Lonesome Zoop, the Woozy, and others) to battle the Rolly Rogues that have invaded the city. The cloak is nowhere to be found because 683 year old bewitching Queen Zixi of neighboring Ix, has been ...
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Note: In honor of the recently released "Oz: The Great and Powerful", the upcoming "Dorothy of Oz", and the currently in development remake of "The Wizard of Oz, I've taken it upon myself to review every film ever made based on the Oz stories by L. Frank Baum. However, I won't be going over any of the TV mini-series or cartoon shows, as there's simply too much of it.
The Magic Cloak of Oz- Full Movie
one of the best silent films based on the land of oz...but the funny thing is this isn't based on the Oz books at all...
Although this is arguably on of the best silent films that I've seen based on Baum's Oz stories, but the funny thing is..this isn't based on any of the Oz books. No, this film was actually based on L. Frank Baum's other book, "Queen Zixi Of Ix", but since his "Oz" books were so immensely popular at the time, the movie was titled "The Magic Cloak of Oz."
The film starts off with a bunch of fairies, from Oz, gathering in the forest of Burzee to weave a magic cloak, which has the power to grant one wish to it's wearer. After wards, the wearer can pass the cloak onto someone of their choosing, so they too can get a wish fulfilled. However, if the cloak were to ever be stolen, then it would lose it's power. Why the fairies would even bother to weave such a thing is never fully explained. But for plot convenience, it's better just to buy into it, as most of this film doesn't make a lot of sense.
However, the fairies don't know what to do with the cloak, so they seek advice from the man in the moon, who bares a striking resemblance to the same man in the moon that was featured in Georges Milies' "A Trip to the Moon." Anyways, the man tells the fairies to give the cloak to the most saddest person they could find; thus the fairies send out a messenger to deliver the cloak to whoever seems to the saddest.
Meanwhile, two children named Fluff and Bud are forced to live with their Aunt Rivette in Nole, after the death of their father. Neither want to leave their home, where they've lived most of their lives in, but find that they have no choice in the matter. Upon pure luck, the fairy messenger bumps into Fluff before she enters through the entrance of Nole. The fairy asks her how she is, and Fluff replies saying how sad she is about losing her father and home. Needless to say, the fairy gives Fluff the magic cloak, as she merely wishes to feel happy again. Isn't that sweet?
Speaking of pure luck, the kingdom of Nole recently loses it's ruler. It's never fully explained how he died, but he's dead, and apparently has no heir to speak of. Granted, there would be some sort of system in place for most countries that follow a royal hierarchy. However, in this film, it's a bit more simpler than that. According to their book of laws, in the unlikely event a ruler dies without a sole heir to the throne, then the government is obligated to crown the 47th person that passes through the gates of Nole; regardless if they be a man, woman or child. Gee, that wouldn't back fire at all now would it? I mean screw the fact that the person that passes through that gate might be some deranged sociopath, or could be completely incompetent to rule a nation. But who cares right?
Coincidentally, Bud happens to be the 47th person to enter into Nole, and by law he's the new king of Nole. Sure, he's just a kid, and he ends up spending all the money in the treasury on toys for himself and his sister, but hey....at least they have their new king right?
Sadly, their pet mule, Nickodemus, gets stolen by a bunch of robbers while all this is happening. Although Nickodemus may seem like just another animal, he's actually quite resourceful. In the film, he meets a young girl named Mary, whom was also kidnapped by the robbers. From there, he orchestrates an elaborate plan to organize the other animals to take out the robbers; thus saving both him and the little girl.
However, word gets out about the Cloaks abilities, as the Queen of Ix desperately wants it for herself. Although she has the appearance of a young twenty something year old girl, she's actually over six hundred years old, as her reflection shows her true age. Once she hears about the cloak, she yearns to steal it from our heroes, so she can wish away her grotesquely aged reflection once and for all.
To make matters worse, the rolly rogues invade Nole, in order to force them to make...SOUP!!! Those bastards! Plus, it seems like Nole's army is defenseless against this threat. Can the magic cloak be used to wish away this new threat? Or will Nickodemus' new army of animals save the day? Will the Queen of Ix manage to steal the cloak for herself before our heroes can use it to save the day? Well, I can't say without giving away the ending, as readers will have to see the film to find out for themselves.
Out of all the Oz films, this one seems to lack the most logic out of all of them. Not only is the story all over the place, but like "His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz", it seems "The Magic Cloak of Oz" suffers from lack of focus.
Plus, a lot of the plot holes in this film tend to be a bit distracting. For example, why do the fairies create the magic cloak to begin with? What was the purpose? And why in the hell did the rolly rogues want to invade Nole over something as trivial as forcing it's citizens to make soup? Can't these rogues make it themselves? Oh wait, their arms are too short, so perhaps I can let that pass...
However, what saves this film from being almost as bad as "His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz" is the story elements, and characters, aren't thrown in for the sake of throwing them in. Unlike that film, we don't see "The Magic Cloak of Oz" throwing in Dorothy and some random Indian girl for the sake of throwing them in; even though both had very little to nothing to do with the main story of "His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz."
Whereas "The Magic Cloak of Oz", didn't just throw characters in for the sake of throwing them in. No, each character in this film did play a key role in this story; which already makes it better than "His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz."
As for the cinematography, I'll admit this is probably the best that I've seen so far out of all the silent films made about Oz; with the notable exception of "The Wizard of Oz" silent movie that was made in 1925. Unfortunately, it's still a bit inconsistent at times, which makes it hard to follow, as it becomes something of a distraction.
Having said all that, the film is still enjoyable, and it can be funny at times in it's mindless stupidity. But if you're not into silent movies, then I wouldn't advise starting with this one. Overall, if I had to rate it, then I'd have to give it a two out of four. It's not a bad silent film to check out if you're into older movies, or if you just happen to be fan of L. Frank Baum's Oz adaptations.
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