Watch the original "Wizard of Oz” silent film from 1910

Originally published at: Watch the original "Wizard of Oz" silent film from 1910 | Boing Boing


What it lacks in narrative and charisma, that the later one had, it makes up for in sheer creepiness… Dark side of the Moon doesn’t suit this, I think you have to listen to black metal while watching this…


This is a very theatrical presentation, all locked off camera shots nearly all from a theater audiences POV. I wonder if this would make any sense without prior knowledge of the story - of course not!

The later remake seems just as theatrical in it’s set pieces however the technology provides a much wider palette of camera positions and movement, editing between shots with continuous sound and dialogue, Hollywood Stars with Hollywood special effects… Cinematic!

The narrative in the later version is pure cinema, that is the story is told with a nod to theater but the mechanism of film is the medium which actually tells the story.

IDK if you’ve ever read the book (or sequels) that the Wizard of Oz was based on, but “lacks in narrative” is much more faithful to the source material. Things just happen one after the other, with no foreshadowing or explanation.

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It was a popular stage musical that was already part of the cultural zeitgeist by the time the first movie was made, so that makes sense.

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Several of Baum’s original films are on youtube; I’ve posted a couple of them in the past. His animals are very good:

Also worth watching is the one with the vampires (Magic Cloak of OZ)

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A stage packed full of weird creatures in badly fitting suits, gesticulating and leaping about…

Seen one CPAC, seen them all.

For as long as I’ve been around I can’t believe I never knew this existed. Thank you for sharing- it really is a wonderful thing.

That’s par for the course for nearly all movies from that era.

That’s a pretty broad statement given this was pre Hollywood and the dominant film producers Germany, France, The US, Australia, Italy, Denmark, Britain and Japan were all producing more sophisticated stuff. Perhaps check out DW Griffith as a US comparison, where he was moving away from a theatrical “tableau” style pretty early on.

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