History records that The Wizard Of Oz was edited by one Blanche Sewell, an Oklahoman and thwarted actress who also cut together such memorable films as Red Dust, Go West, and Grand Hotel during her 25-year career in Hollywood. But what if Oz had been assembled instead by an extremely diligent file clerk, one who cherished order and neatness over meaning and context? That is the unlikely scenario behind “Of Oz The Wizard,” a bizarre and thorough alternate edit of the 1939 family classic by filmmaker Matt Bucy. He has chopped The Wizard Of Oz, all 101 minutes of it, into individual words, and then arranged those words alphabetically, starting with “a” and ending with “zipper.” Bucy’s video is a neat freak’s delight. Even the opening titles have been alphabetized, right down to the fine print.
There is precious little narrative to follow in Of Oz The Wizard. This new edit turns The Wizard Of Oz into a merciless mind scrambler, assaulting the viewer with vocabulary for the better part of two hours without the compensation of plot, humor, or character development. Many of the clips here last less than a second, so it is extremely difficult to get one’s bearings in this iteration of Oz. Of Oz The Wizard only slows down when certain common words, like “the” or “you,” are repeated by many actors throughout the course of the entire film. In such cases, Bucy puts the clips in chronological order. Only then does any sort of overarching plot come into focus. Adventurous or masochistic viewers who decide to watch Of Oz The Wizard in its entirety are advised to cling to those moments for dear life.
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