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The Patchwork Girl of Oz
The Patchwork Girl of Oz
Director: J. Farrell MacDonald
Writer: L. Frank Baum
Cast: Violet MacMillan, Frank Moore, Raymond Russell, Leontine Dranet, Bobbie Gould, Marie Wayne, Richard Rosson, Frank Bristol, Fred Woodward, Todd Wright, Bert Glennon, Hal Roach, Dave Anderson, Jessie May Walsh, William Cook
Synopsis: Ojo and Unc Nunkie are out of food, so they decide to journey to the Emerald City where they will never starve. Along the way, they meet Mewel, a waif and stray (mule) who leads them to Dr. Pipt, who has been stirring the powder of life for nine years. Ojo adds plenty of brains to Margolotte's Patchwork servant before she is brought to life with the powder. When Scraps does come to life, she accidentally knocks the liquid of petrifaction upon Unc Nunkie, Margolotte, and Danx (daughter Jesseva's boyfriend). So all go on separate journeys to find the ingredients to the antidote. (Of course Jesseva has Danx shrunken to take with her, which causes trouble with Jinjur.) Of course, no one ever told Ojo that some of the ingredients were illegal to obtain...
MPAA Rating: N/A
Note: In honor of the upcoming prequel, "Oz: The Great and Powerful", and the remake of "The Wizard of Oz" that's currently in development, I have taken it upon myself to review every film adaptation related to "The Wizard of Oz" franchise; with the notable exception of all the TV series and Mini Series because there's simply too much of it.
The Patchwork Girl of Oz (silent film)
The Oz story that most movie fans may have forgotten..
Although, most movie fans fondly remember the story of Oz revolving around Dorothy and her friends. However, back in the silent film era, there was another Oz movie that was released in 1914. It wasn't necessarily a sequel per say to the silent short film that came out in 1910, as it was more of a spin off if anything else. Sure, moviegoers still saw iconic characters like the scarecrow and etc, but this film revolves around a different set of characters, in the land of Oz.
Unlike the original movie, this film takes place entirely in Oz, so we never see the our world at all. The film starts off with young man named Ojo (Violet MacMillan), who lives with his Unc Nunkie (Frank Moore). As luck would have it, they're out of food, so they decide to go to the Emerald City, as they never run out of food over there allegedly.
Along the way, they meet a stray mule and waif named Mewel, who leads them to Dr. Pipt (Raymond Russell), a man who has been stirring life powder for nine years nonstop. As we meet the good doctor, we come to find out that his wife, Margolotte (Leontine Dranet), yearns to use the powder to create a new housekeeper. One who is not only obedient and loyal, but someone who can do all the chores around the house with hardly any fuss. Enter Patchwork Girl.
Thrown together with a few scraps of cloth from the attic, Margolotte uses her magic to sew Patchwork Girl together. Adding in just a small amount of brains, as she claims that the smarter a servant happens to be, then the less effective they are.
But without Margolette realizing it, Ojo somehow manages to add more brains to Patchwork Girl before she's brought to life with the life powder. When she's finally brought to life, she accidentally knocks the liquid of petrifaction on Unc Nunkie, Margolotte and Danx (Richard Rosson), who happens to be the boyfriend of Dr. Pipt's daughter, Jesseva (Bobbie Gould).
Needless to say, Dr. Pipt tries to find another way through his spell book that would cure them, as he doesn't have the energy to spend another nine years stirring life powder endlessly. To make a long story short, Dr. Pipt finds a formula, but it requires several ingredients throughout Oz to make it work; thus each go off on their separate journeys to find the ingredients for the antidote.
Of course, Jesseva has Danx shrunken down, so she can take him with her for safe keeping. Unfortunately, this causes problems later on with a maid in the Emerald City named Jinjur (Marie Wayne), who seems to be a bit love struck by the petrified small version of Danx.
And to make matters worse, nobody bothered to tell poor Ojo that one of the ingredients he ended up gathering happened to be illegal to even obtain. Plus, there's a pointless last minute love story between Patchwork Girl and the Scarecrow, and that's all you need to know about the story without spoiling everything.
To be honest, I wasn't sure what to expect from this film, but for what it happens to be, I did enjoy it quite a bit. Granted, the visual effects are dated by today's standards, but they were surprisingly creative considering the time period.
The cinematography and editing is a bit better in comparison to the 1910 original, and the characters are written very well. All the characters are likable, and each feature their own unique personality.
Although, the love story between Scarecrow and Patchwork Girl was thrown in around the last ten minutes of the movie; which makes it seem not only rushed, but kind of pointless when you think about it. I guess the filmmakers just felt like playing matchmaker with this scenario, or perhaps it would've been too taboo for Patchwork Girl to remain single. Or maybe, Patchwork Girl and Scarecrow end up together in the books, and the film was merely following the story line. Of course, I wouldn't know, as I never read any of the Oz books.
However, in the film itself, it just comes off as pointless because it's thrown in at the last minute, with little to no build up as to why they'd even love each other; unless you believe in that whole "love at first sight" logic.
Overall though, "The Patchwork Girl of Oz" isn't a bad silent film at all. Granted, it's not one of the best ones out there, but it's surprisingly entertaining for what it happens to be. If I had to rate it, I'd have to say it deserves a two and a half out of four. If you're into silent films, or you just happen to be a fan of the "Oz" franchise, then you might enjoy this one. However, if you're not into silent movies, then I doubt this is going to be the movie that'll change your mind on that.