The 1925 film adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, released by Chadwick Pictures, is largely forgotten — remembered mainly because the Tin Woodman was played by Oliver Hardy prior to his partnership with Stan Laurel.
The film starred comedian Larry Semon as the Scarecrow, and was primarily a vehicle for Semon's comedy (he also directed). Dorothy Gale was played by Mrs. Semon, the actress Dorothy Dwan. The script was credited to L. Frank Baum's eldest son Frank Joslyn Baum (as "L. Frank Baum, Jr.") and Leon Lee.
The film script departed vastly from Baum's books. Dorothy is an Ozian princess and the heir to the throne, who was kidnapped as a baby and taken to Kansas. A love triangle develops among the 18-year-old Dorothy, the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman; the latter, disappointed in love, connives with the piece's villain, prime minister Kruel. In the end, Princess Dorothea marries her destined match, Prince Kynd. (Kruel and Kynd are from Baum's ninth Oz novel, The Scarecrow of Oz.)
In this film the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and Cowardly Lion are not real characters, but merely disguises adopted by three farmhands blown to Oz by tornado. (The third farmhand is an African-American character, played by Spencer Bell under the Jim-Crow stage name "G. Howe Black.")
The film was an expensive flop that bankrupted the studio that made it.
- Dorothy Dwan as Dorothy, an 18-year-old girl from Kansas who is later revealed to be Princess Dorothea of Oz (possibly derived from Princess Ozma).
- Larry Semon as a farmhand who later disguises himself as the Scarecrow. He is hopelessly in love with Dorothy but is too shy to tell her his feelings.
- Oliver Hardy as another farmhand who becomes the Tin Woodman and is later made the Knight of the Garter by Kruel. Towards the end he almost becomes a villain.
- Spencer Bell as Snowball, who later becomes the Cowardly Lion. In the credits he is listed as G. Howe Black.
- Charles Murray as the Wizard, who cannot do real magic as he claims to but only magic tricks.
- Bryant Washburn as Prince Kynd, who marries Dorothy. He is based on King Kynd from the original books.
- Josef Swickard as Minister Kruel, an evil dictator of Oz. He is based on King Krewl from The Scarecrow of Oz.
- Mary Carr as Aunt Em.
- Frank Alexander as Uncle Henry, who travels to Oz with Dorothy and is made the Prince of Whales.
- Virginia Pearson as Lady Vishuss, Kruel's advisor.
- Otto Lederer as Ambassador Wikked, Kruel's henchman. His name is possibly derived from the Winkies who appear in the original books.
- Frederick Ko Vert as the Wizard's glamorous assistant who is in fact a man in drag.
- The film aired on TCM on November 25th 2018, for unknown reasons, only the first half-hour of the film was shown.
- David L. Greene and Dick Martin. The Oz Scrapbook, New York, Random House, 1977.
- Mark Evan Swartz. Before the Rainbow: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Stage and Screen to 1939. Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2000.