His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz (Full Screen)
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The film itself has deteriorated substantially, and it appears no effort was made to restore it. That's understandable, especially for such a cheap movie. The bad part of this disc is the audio. The music is a mix of ragtime and various other types. It has some relevance, as the mood does change with the film, but that's about all. The voice-over for the title cards, on the other hand, is just wrong.
My conclusion: Buy the movie, but turn the audio off.
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The costumes and makeup are also exellent. Dorothy wears the same dress and bow style that she does in John R. Neill's illustrations. The Tin Woodman's costume is a little funky, but is ok. I was impressed with how well the Scarecrow's makeup and clothes hold up in water. Mombie looks like The Witch of the West and Neill's Blinkie in the book. Princess Gloria is beautiful and looks like a wistful Fairy princess. The animal costumes were very kewl. I especially like Hank the Mule's costume, and enjoyed seeing him fight off Mombie. There's also other really nice pices of detail, like the little "Oz" pieces on the Sawhorse's bridle, which he has in Neill's illustrations.
There were also some very funny parts, like the Scarecrow discovering water and playing in a stream, to the dismay of Dorothy and Button Bright. They even had the Wall of Water, which was interestingly done with camera angles.
There is also a Little Rascals short on the disk about Alfalfa fighting a masked wrestler that's funny as well. But if you're looking for Baum's Oz, then this is for you.
I have access to the DVD DICTIONARY, the TRIVIA GAME, and MORE TRIVIA, however, the links from DME REWARDS and FOLLOWTHRU.COM get me a "Not Found. The requested URL /webportals/rd21009-1.htm was not found on this server. Apache/2.2 Server at [...] Port 80."
The desk top computer I am trying to view the movie on is a Windows XP Pro, Version 2002, Service Pack 3, with a Intel(r) Core (TM)2 Duo CPU, E7500 @ 2.93Gz, 1.58 GHz, 2.99 GB of RAM.
For any other Friends of Oz tempted to purchase this DVD, please allow me to illuminate you by way of the DVD's README.WRI file, and I quote.
For IBM PC and IBM PC-compatibles running Windows 95/98/NT
IBM or IBM compatible with at least a 586 processor (or better) and a speed of 150 MHz (or better)
internal memory of 32 MB of RAM or more
MCI compliant DVD-ROM drive
available hard drive space on your c: drive of 100 MB
color monitor set to at least 640 x 480,16,000 colors or higher.
sound capabilities associated with DVD-ROM drive
Software and System Settings
1. For best results, make sure no other applications are running, including screen savers. To make sure there are no other applications running, the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen should have only the Start menu option available. If others are running, consult your Windows 95/98/NT manuals for help on turning off those programs. If there is a screen saver running, turn it off by clicking once on the Start menu option and holding the mouse button down. Drag your mouse to the Settings option. A new menu will appear. Drag your mouse to the Control Panel option and click once. When the new window opens, double-click on the Display icon. Under Display Properties, click once on Screen Saver. Change the scrolling menu option to None. Then click the OK button, and close Control Panel. If you are using a third-party screen saver, consult that manufacturer's manual for instructions on turning it off.
2. If you encounter problems with audio or video playback, make sure your computer is equipped with the latest audio, video and DVD drivers. Contact the computer's manufacturer for further information.
3. If the computer is connected to a network, for better performance you may wish to reboot the program and not log on the network. Note: You may wish to remain connected to the network if you have a network printer and plan to use the print functions of the program.
4. To remove the Taskbar from always running on top of every application, right click anywhere on the Taskbar and select Properties. If Always on top is selected, deselect it.
5. If you have partitioned your hard drive so that Windows 95/98/NT is on a different drive other than c:, reboot your computer to the operating system (Windows 95/98/NT) that is on your c: drive.
To Begin the Program
1. Start your computer and Windows 95/98/NT.
2. Insert DVD-ROM disc.
3. From the Taskbar choose Start, then Run.
4. In the command line, type d:\Scarecro where d: is the label of your DVD-ROM drive. To determine the letter of your DVD-ROM drive, double-click on My Computer. The letter next to the icon showing a picture of a DVD-ROM indicates your DVD-ROM drive. If d: is not your DVD-ROM drive, in the command line replace d: with the letter that appears next to the DVD-ROM icon.
5. To quit the program at any time, hold down the Ctrl key and press q, press ESC, or select the quit button.
If you experience any problems while running the program, check the items listed under Hardware and System and
Should I find a solution to this O! so frustrating circumstance, I shall add it as a comment on this review.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was written and directed by L. Frank Baum, the author of "The Wizard of Oz" as well as the later sequel, "The Scarecrow of Oz". As such, I expected it to be a very faithful adaptation of the book. In this, I was surpised by two things. The first was that the story was much less like the book that I would have expected from the book's author. The second is how good a job was done in a film dating from 1914.
The basic story is that of the book. Princess Gloria has her heart frozen by an evil witch to prevent her from marrying a commoner. The Oz characters come to her rescue. The way this comes about, however, deviates significantly from the book and several characters are changed or are missing alltogether. This was a dissapointment to me but may not be to others.
The state of the art for motion pictures was not all that developed in 1914. With that in mind, this movie does achieve some remarkable things. The "trick" are easy to identify but they do not detract from the progession of the story itself. These special effects include an underwater scene with the scarecrow, the actual freezing of the princess's heart and the decaptitation of the evil witch. They do blend well with the story. There is none of the "how did they do that" feeling but there is a "I'm surpriised they managed that" feeling to replace it.
In appearance, it seems like Oz is located in the American plains of the midwest. This is particularly apparent when the scarecrow is seen in his cornfield with "Indians" dancing around him. So too do the river scenes seem more like a bit of Americana than the fantasy land of Oz. So too do the witches seem to come from Salem as opposed to the fairy land. This is another instance of something that distracted me but may not affect anyone else.
Staple Oz characters making an appearance include Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard, the wooden Sawhorse, Old Mombi, Button Bright (as a girl instead of a boy!) as well as those specific to this story line like Gloria, Pon, King Krewl and Googly Goo. Notably absent are Trot, Captain Bill and Betsy Bobbin. It is possible that Hank the mule makes an appearance but I don't know if that is intentional or a coincidence and the character is not named.
This film is well worth buying for serious Oz fanatics. It does provide a diverting hour of entertainment and follows the basics of the story. So too might it appeal to silent movie fans who like silent movies for their own sake. The Little Rascals short is a nice additional touch as well.
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