5.6/10
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16 user 3 critic

The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914)

Ojo and Unc Nunkie are out of food, so they decide to journey to the Emerald City where they will never starve. Along the way, they meet Mewel, a waif and stray (mule) who leads them to Dr.... See full summary »

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(novel), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Violet MacMillan ...
Frank Moore ...
Raymond Russell ...
Leontine Dranet ...
Bobbie Gould ...
Marie Wayne ...
Richard Rosson ...
Danx, a Noble Munchkin (as Dick Rosson)
Frank Bristol ...
Fred Woodward ...
Todd Wright ...
...
The Scarecrow (as Herbert Glennon)
...
The Cowardly Lion / Tottenhot (as Al Roach)
Dave Anderson ...
The Hungry Tiger (as Andy Anderson)
Jessie May Walsh ...
William Cook ...
The Royal Chamberlain
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Storyline

Ojo and Unc Nunkie are out of food, so they decide to journey to the Emerald City where they will never starve. Along the way, they meet Mewel, a waif and stray (mule) who leads them to Dr. Pipt, who has been stirring the powder of life for nine years. Ojo adds plenty of brains to Margolotte's Patchwork servant before she is brought to life with the powder. When Scraps does come to life, she accidentally knocks the liquid of petrifaction upon Unc Nunkie, Margolotte, and Danx (daughter Jesseva's boyfriend). So all go on separate journeys to find the ingredients to the antidote. (Of course Jesseva has Danx shrunken to take with her, which causes trouble with Jinjur.) Of course, no one ever told Ojo that some of the ingredients were illegal to obtain... Written by Scott Hutchins <scottandrewh@home.com>

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Be a Woozy; Be Square! See more »


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Details

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Release Date:

28 September 1914 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Ragged Girl of Oz  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Film debut of Charles Ruggles. NOTE: He had previously appeared on stage in the related play "The Tik-Tok Man of Oz:. See more »

Goofs

The character of Ojo is stated several times to be a boy, but is referred to as a girl in one of the dialogue caption cards. See more »

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User Reviews

Better than that Munchkin movie
9 November 2002 | by (Minffordd, North Wales) – See all my reviews

"The Patchwork Girl of Oz" was the most racist of L. Frank Baum's Oz novels, featuring the Tottenhots (stereotyped Africans) and also an ambulatory Victrola phonograph that sings ragtime songs in an offensive "darky" dialect. Fortunately, this film version (written and directed by Baum himself) omits the ragtime racism and reconceives the Tottenhots so that they're only barely recognisable as racist stereotypes. This is a fun movie, which I recommend without reservation for adults and kids.

It is of course rather a crude film, even by silent standards, and hampered by cross-sexed casting in both directions. The hero of the film, a Munchkin boy named Ojo, is obviously played by an adult woman. The Patchwork Girl, Scraps, is very obviously played by a man. However, Pierre Couderc, the French acrobat who plays this role, gives an incredible performance. He effortlessly turns backward handsprings and shoulder kips, his performance made even more amazing by the bulky costume and elaborate hoop skirt he's wearing. There's one very amusing sight gag when the Patchwork Girl and the Scarecrow meet for the first time. Ah, true love!

The plot of this film is a simplified version of the Oz novel. Orphan boy Ojo and his elderly Unk Nunkie visit Doctor Pipt the magician. Pipt has invented the Powder of Life, which brings life to any inanimate object it touches. (Why doesn't it animate its own container?) Pipt's wife Margolotte has made a girl dummy out of patchwork quilts, which will become Margolotte's maidservant after Pipt animates it. When Pipt brings the Patchwork Girl to life, her exuberance causes her accidentally to spill another elixir over Margolotte and Unk Nunkie, which transforms them into marble statues. Dr Pipt can't reverse the enchantment until he mixes another batch of the Powder of Life, which requires certain ingredients ... including three hairs from a Woozy's tail. Ojo sets forth to obtain the ingredients.

Animal impersonator Fred Woodward does amazing work as several different animals. Woodward is the spiritual father of Janos Prohaska, a 1960s stuntman who specialised in portraying animals and aliens. One of the roles Woodward plays here is the Woozy, a creature whose body is made of cardboard boxes. (This is a very low-budget movie, but that's part of its charm.) The squared-off look of the Woozy in the Oz book's illustrations was obviously inspired by the low-budget costume worn by Woodward in this movie.

TRIVIA NOTE: Watch for Harold Lloyd and Hal Roach Snr (very early in their careers) in grass skirts and body paint as two of the Tottenhots. Shortly after this movie was filmed, Roach received the inheritance which enabled him to set up his own film studio. Juanita Hansen, later a Roach actress, appears briefly here. Also glimpsed is Charles Ruggles, who would soon get his big break as Private Files in L. Frank Baum's stage musical "Tik-Tok in Oz".

"The Patchwork Girl of Oz" is an absolute delight, which adults and children will enjoy in repeated viewings. There are some impressive sets and costumes, despite the low budget. Jaded modern audiences will sneer at the very crude special effects, but I would rather watch this movie instead of a certain overrated MGM musical starring Liza Whatsername's mother.


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