Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Patchwork Girl Of Oz (1914)

This is a very early multi-reel movie.  Up until 1910 the one reeler ruled the movie world as 15 minutes or less.  At first this was simply the limit of the manufacturers and producers; later on multi-reel (mostly 2 reels) films were being produced by not widely marketed, largely because early film producers like Edison thought there was not market for longer film (this lack of insight was decried by many prominent employees, is the major reason Edison exited the film industry in 1918).  In less than five years, however, 5-reel films became the accepted and expected norm.  This is a very early, rather obscure Fantasy picture.  It owes a great deal to the early trick films, and doesn't represent any rear advances in editing for the time--it is pure whimsy.  Though this is not the first film depiction of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book by L. Frank Baum, it is to my knowledge the first feature length film to do so, at a running time of 48 to near 70 minutes.  The really important fact here is that Baum himself adapted his book for the screenplay!  There are two surviving films produced by the Oz Manufacturing Company, which went out of business in 1915, under this title at the Library of Congress, this is the truncated version.  

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