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A promotional poster for the film.

The Wonderful Land of Oz is a low-budget 1969 film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's second Oz book, The Marvelous Land of Oz. It has been acclaimed as "the worst Oz film ever made," [1] although this can be a term of endearment similar to the reputation of Ed Wood's films.


The movie was written, produced, and directed by Barry Mahon, who made low-budget "nudie" films for the "grindhouse" circuit during the 1960s, like Nudes on Tiger Reef (1965) and Fanny Hill Meets Lady Chatterly (1967) among others. By the end of the 1960s, the trend toward more overtly pornographic films drove family-man Mahon away from the genre and into children's pictures. His Oz film was his first venture in this new genre, though he would go on to make a Jack and the Beanstalk and a Thumbelina (both 1970) among other titles.

The Oz film was made on a skeletal budget of only $50,000. (Mahon also had to offer his distributor $90,000 for advertising and promotion.) Mahon employed many beginners and newcomers in both cast and crew, who received on-the-job training in filmmaking through making the film. It was also a family affair: Mahon's youngest son Channy (Chandos Castle Mahon), then ten years old, starred as Tip. Channy's mother Clelle was the movie's script supervisor.

Unfortunately, Channy Mahon was "an incredibly bad child actor" whose "ill-timed, lethargic performance"[2] was the central element in a largely inexperienced ensemble. The film's production values, in terms of sets, costumes, and effects, are crude and primitive.

The movie was quickly forgotten after its initial appearance in the summer of 1969. Yet the modern proliferation of obscure video, aided by the Internet, has brought renewed attention to the film, mainly from those interested in cult movies and the ironic "so bad it's good" outlook.[3]

The movie features songs by Ralph Falco and George Linsenmann.

In The World of Oz (1985), Allen Eyles incorrectly reported that Dorothy was Tip's traveling companion in the movie, an element which coincidentally was soon to be used in Ozu no Mahōtsukai (1986).


Jellia Jamb and the Emerald City Guard are played by uncredited actors, as Barry did not get their names while they filmed their scenes in only one day.


  • This film came 30 years after 1939's The Wizard of Oz
    • In a Variety article, Barry claimed that he wanted Judy Garland to provide narration but tragically she passed in June of that year.
  • In an apparent plot hole, Jack Pumpkinhead remembers his creation by Tip, which happened when he had no consciousness yet, and neither Mombi nor Tip has had time to tell him his origin story.
  • The Sawhorse and the Jackdaws do not appear.
  • Omby Amby and the Guardian of the Gates are conflated into one character, a convenience which has been used in other movies. Jack Snow did this in The Magical Mimics in Oz (1946) in which context it was a continuity error.
  • Before the visitors from the North arrive, it appears that the Emerald City has a population of exactly three: King Scarecrow, the Guardsman, and Jellia Jamb.
  • This is the earliest known sound film to feature General Jinjur. She may have appeared in some short films made in the 1930s, which are now lost. The previous adaptation of the novel supplanted her with a male character, Lord General Nikidik.
  • The Army of Revolt have a distinctively 1960s appearance (haircuts, go-go boots, etc.), and are the stock "rebellious teenagers" of period caricature. Their "girlish" grievances are updated from 1904 to include "homework" and "babysitting". Jellia Jamb is similarly "60s" in her look.
  • The director had previously made adult films before this one and so it was rumored that Jinjur's girls had appeared in those. However this is unlikely, based on filming location, but Michael Thomas did in at least one. Also as extras they were uncredited so this is difficult to verify either way.
  • The role of the Queen of the Field Mice is taken by a white rat, and the character is not indicated to be verbal.
  • Michael Thomas once noted that Hillary Lee Gaess had extreme bouts of stage fright.
  • The ending makes an unusual change with the notion that when Tip is transformed into Ozma, his essence through spirit is passed onto all of the boys in Oz. Ozma is restored with apparent amnesia, and is quickly reintroduced to characters by Glinda. The idea that Tip's spirit could live on as a separate entity after Ozma's restoration was introduced in Jack Snow's short piece "A Murder in Oz" and has been recycled by more recent authors.
  • Joy Webb as Ozma only has two lines with “I have a feeling that I know you all” and “You may all go now, I must have a conference with my Royal Teacher”.
  • In 2017, movie commentary company RiffTrax released a riff version that made fun of the film featuring Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, and Bill Corbett. Although a digital copy is sold for $10 with enhanced HD for $12, their YouTube channel released it for free in 2022.


  1. Marc Berezin, "Oz on a Budget: The Making and Selling of Barry Mahon's The Wonderful Land of Oz," The Baum Bugle, Vol. 53 No. 1 (Spring 2009), pp. 41-6.
  2. Rob Craig, quoted in Berezin, p. 43.
  3. Berezin, p. 46.
Site-logo Films Site-logo
Live-Action adaptations Silent films Fairylogue and Radio-Plays (1908) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910) • His Majesty, the Scarecrow of Oz (1914) • The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) • The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914) • The Wizard of Oz (1925)
Modern films The Wizard of Oz (1939) • The Wonderful Land of Oz (1969) • 20th Century Oz (1976) • The Wiz (1978) • Return to Oz (1985) • The Dreamer of Oz (1990) • The Wizard of the City of Emeralds (1994) • The Muppets' Wizard of Oz (2005) • After the Wizard (2011) • Oz the Great and Powerful (2013) • The Wiz Live! (2015)
Inspired films Flying Monkeys (2013) • OzLand (2015)
Guest Appearances Inkheart (2008) • Space Jam: A New Legacy (2021)
Animated adaptations Feature films Journey Back to Oz (1974) • The Wizard of Oz (1982) • The Wizard of Oz (1983) • The Wizard of Oz (1991) • Lion of Oz (2000) • Tom and Jerry & the Wizard of Oz (2011) • Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return (2014) • Guardians of Oz (2015) • Tom and Jerry: Back to Oz (2016) • Urfin Jus and His Wooden Soldiers (2017) • The Steam Engines of Oz (2018)
Guest Appearances The LEGO Movie (2014) • The Lego Batman Movie (2017)
Upcoming adaptations Wicked: Part One/Wicked: Part Two (2024-5) • Dorothy & Alice (TBA) • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (film) (TBA) • Toto (film) (TBA)
Short films After Oz (2007) • The Land of Oz (short film) (2015) • Dorothy in the Land of Stars (2017) • Unknown, Lost, or non-English Adaptations