Farnsworth Presents Two Visions of OZ

FarnsworthPoster for British reissue of “The Wizard of Oz”, 1955.  Image from “The Wonderful World of Oz: An Illustrated History of the American Classic” by John Fricke (Down East Books)

On Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16, the Fansworth Art Museum will present two movie versions of The Wizard of Oz. First, on Saturday, the 1925 film version will be presented at 1 p.m. in the museum auditorium, Then, on Sunday, the 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz, starring Judy Garland, will screen at The Strand Theatre, in Rockland at 2 p.m. The Sunday Strand screening will be preceded by an OZ-inspired dance performance by Midcoast students.

The Saturday, March 15 screening will be of the 1925 movie The Wizard of Oz. The American silent film was directed by Larry Semon, who also appears in a lead role, that of a farmhand disguised as a Scarecrow. The only completed 1920s adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this film features a young Oliver Hardy as the Tin Woodman. The American comic actor would later become famous as one half of Laurel and Hardy. The film departs radically from the novel upon which it is based, introducing new characters and exploits. The Saturday screening will be introduced by Willard Carroll, whose collection is on display at the Farnsworth through March in the exhibition The Wonderful World of Oz. The 1925 film is free with museum admission.

Presented by the Farnsworth and The Strand Theatre, the Sunday, March 16 screening, will be a 75th Anniversary special showing of a 35mm “library copy” of the 1939 classic. The definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 children’s fantasy, the movie made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, a young orphan girl living a drab black-and-white existence on a dusty Kansas farm with her aunt and uncle. Dorothy yearns to travel “over the rainbow” to a different world, and she gets her wish when a tornado whisks her and her little dog, Toto, to the Technicolor land of Oz.

Audience members are encouraged to be in their seats at 2 p.m. sharp in order to view a special added attraction: Dorothy and other characters will come to life and dance!  Dorothy, performed by Emma Gross, a junior at Camden Hills Regional High School, and other Midcoast students, will greet attendees as they arrive, then perform a short dance inspired by the Land of Oz. Tickets for the Sunday show are $7.50 matinee pricing for all seats, and will be available at The Strand box office, one hour prior to the screening. For more information call 596-6457.