By Tom Dare
INCREDIBLE FOOTAGE showing a century-old version of the Wizard of Oz film has re-emerged this week, giving a glimpse into the original stage play which made the heart-warming tale world famous.
The film, which dates back to 1910, shows the classic tale played out over various scenes, from protagonist Dorothy being carried away by a ‘cyclone’ to the Wizard of Oz taking off in his hot air balloon at the end of the film.
Other scenes show early versions of the Scarecrow and Tin Man as they make their way through the enchanted land of Oz, though there are quirky differences between the silent movie and the classic 1939 version starring Judy Garland.
The film is based on the 1902 Broadway show ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and tells the story of Dorothy and her dog Toto after they are swept away to the magical land of Oz by a cyclone.
Hugely popular when it was released, the Broadway show was inspired by the classic American novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ by author L. Frank Baum.
Its Broadway release was soon followed by several film adaptations, with the 1910 version thought to have been the first. There were then another two versions of the classic story made, in 1925 and 1933, before Judy Garland’s classic Hollywood hit became one of the first big screen films to use colour in 1939.
There are some slight discrepancies, though, between the 1910 and 1939 version. For starters, in the earlier version Dorothy encounters the Scarecrow in Kansas, not Oz, while at the end of the earlier version the Scarecrow is made king, something that does not happen in the 1939 version.
And while the story follows the same pattern in both films, there is no mention in the 1939 version of the two donkeys that seem to follow Dorothy wherever she goes in the earlier film.
The 1939 version was a huge success for production company Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and confirmed the Wizard of Oz’s status as a great American classic. Indeed, the story was so successful that Baum, who hadn’t originally planned to write any sequels to the original, penned a further 13 books set in the world of Oz, something he said he did to satisfy popular demand for more material.