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The Wizard of Oz

The Oz story transforms into a vehicle for the comedian Larry Semon (who plays the scarecrow), in a film structured like a pantomime.

USA 1925
Directed by Larry Semon
With Dorothy Dwan, Joseph Swickard, Otto Lederer, Oliver Hardy
Running time c92min
Certificate U

There will be a live piano accompaniment by Costas Fotopoulos on 2 March, and by Stephen Horne on 5 March.

This outing of the famous Oz story is just about recognisable as an adaptation of L Frank Baum’s book. It was essentially a vehicle for the comedian Larry Semon and rewrote the book’s plot, but it did include many of the favourite Oz characters, such as Dorothy, the Scarecrow (which Semon played himself) and the Tin Woodman played by a young Oliver Hardy. The film is structured like a pantomime, playing with several levels of story within story, bookended with a toymaker reading The Wizard of Oz to his granddaughter.

The Wizard of Oz

USA 1933
Directed by Ted Eshbaugh
Running time 8min
Certificate U

Eshbaugh’s charming Technicolor animation was the first adaptation to portray Kansas in monochrome and Oz in colour.

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