Oz Film Company

From Audiovisual Identity Database

Credits
Logo descriptions by
Eric S. and rj4712

Logo captures by
Eric S. and TrickyMario7654

Editions by
WelcomeToMyChillHome, Cat124

Video captures courtesy of
MattTheSayian, Century Guy Entertainment and RonaldEmmis

Background

Founded in 1914, Oz Film Company, also known as The Oz Film Manufacturing Company, produced silent films based off L. Frank Baum's books, most notably the Oz series. Every single one of them bombed commercially. The movies they made had various colors and custom themes playing over it, like silent films traditionally do.

In 1915, the company would be absorbed into Metro Pictures (now Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). Only four of their films are known to survive: The Patchwork Girl of Oz[1], His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz[2], The Magic Cloak of Oz[3] and The Last Egyptian, the last of which is only partially found.

(September 28, 1914-1915)

Logo:

  • Opening: On a black background, a woman (Vivian Reed in The Patchwork Girl of Oz or Violet Macmillan in His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz[4], see "Trivia") wearing two flowers and a crown-like object on her forehead with a Z inside a circle (obviously the company name) with a few loose curls hanging down (apparently supposed to be Princess Ozma from the book series) fades in. She looks around the screen and smiles. No obvious indication of the name of the company is shown; it only appears in the title card of the movie.
  • Closing: We only see Ozma looking around the screen for about 4 seconds.

Trivia:

  • The woman in these logos are Vivian Reed (1894-1989) in the normal, orange, magenta/purple, red and yellow variants, and Violet Macmillan (1887 - 1953) in the green variant and all of the close - up variants. Both were American actresses of the Silent Era and had acted in all of the Oz Film Manufacturing Company's films. Vivian appeared in 36 films between 1914 and 1938; Violet had made 26 motion pictures. For these logos, both women only wore black clothes so that only their faces were visible. Vivian appears in the opening logo for The Patchwork Girl of Oz; Violet appears in the closing logo for The Patchwork Girl of Oz and the opening and closing logos of His Majesty the Scarecrow of Oz.
  • This logo is not seen on The Magic Cloak of Oz.
  • Several print[5] versions[6] of the logo exist, most frequently appearing on promotional posters for movies from Oz Films; one stylised version[7] was even used in an official letter from L. Frank Baum himself.[8]

Variants:

  • The logos, including the films, have been shown in gray, red, yellow, blue, green, and purple tones.
  • The logo has also featured Ozma's head in a close-up, to the point where her head almost covers the entire screen. Her loose curls are also missing.
  • The logo may, at times, simply cut in, with the fade-in effect being removed.
  • There is a variant where Ozma's clothes are shown briefly.
  • There is a title card variant where the company name is shown below Ozma's head. This is only seen in The Patchwork Girl of Oz.

FX/SFX: Ozma moving her head and the fade-in effect.

Music/Sounds: None for the close-up variant; the regular variant may use a custom opening/closing theme on some films.

Availability: Ultra rare. Only four films produced by the company are known to survive, the rest having been decomposed or lost. However, the logo is widely available on YouTube.

Legacy: The logo is regarded by some as unnerving, due to Ozma's cold, lifeless stare and lack of music (or the accompanying music on some of the films). The close-up variant is considered even worse, due to the "in-your-face" style that will surprise many who were expecting the original variant and the silence. However, those used to both variants will consider them beautiful examples of early film and makeup. In addition, the usage of dark clothes on Vivian and Violet to make only their faces visible predates chroma-key technology, which would be created years later.

References

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