The Magic Cloak (1914)
aka The Magic Cloak of Oz
Article 5669 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by J. Farrell MacDonald
Featuring Mildred Harris, Violet MacMillan, Fred Woodward
What it is: Another Oz story
A family leaves their home and have a series of adventures; the son unexpectedly becomes king of Noland, the daughter is given a magic cloak by a fairy, and a donkey is stolen by robbers.
This is another of the three Oz movies scripted by L. Frank Baum in 1914. Reportedly, it was as long as the others, but was cut into two shorts for release in England. The original film is lost, but the two shorts survived, and were edited back together to create a shortened version of the original feature. You would think with all of this editing the story would be rendered incomprehensible, but actually, I found it the most coherent of the three films; maybe they ended up editing out the worst of it. Unlike the other Oz stories, this features none of the characters from The Wizard of Oz, but I rather like it doesn’t try to tie it to that other book; after all, Oz is an entire world. Once again, the costumes are the best thing about it, and though the story is coherent, it really isn’t all that good. Still, after having seen the other two movies from this series, this is perhaps the best of the lot.