Saturday, 11 August 2012

Page To Picture #2 - The Wizard Of Oz

This week we're going back to one of the earlier page-to-picture adaptations, the classic Wonderful Wizard Of Oz!

First published in 1900 by L. Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz is the first in a series of fourteen books about Oz. The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz or The Wizard Of Oz as most people refer to it is the story of Dorothy and her little dog Toto, from the drought stricken Kansas to the lush surroundings of Oz - a land of Munchkins, witches & wizards, flying monkeys and talking animals. Dorothy lands in Oz after being swept up in a tornado and lands on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. An appearance by Glinda, the Good Witch of the South, means Dorothy is wearing the silver slippers previously owned by the Wicked Witch and off an adventure. Along the way she meets the characters we're all so familiar with - the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion. In the book however her adventures don't stop after she meets the Wizard, they continue but that's for you to read about. I'm ashamed to say I haven't read all fourteen books in the series but hopefully one day I'll complete my Oz journey.

Now to the movie...

Everyone knows this movie! From the now ruby slippers - thanks to MGM for this change to showcase their new advances in color film making - to the bright and, at times, garish colours it was an amazing movie for its time, especially as it was the first ever movie to feature said color technology and therefore the movie wasn't just a movie but also a showcase of sorts for MGM. Of course, like every other book-to-movie adaptation there are liberties taken, large chunks missing and maybe the worst transgression, things added! This didn't detract from what is a glorious romp through some of the most weird and wonderful storyscapes you can find and to this day remains one of my favorite movies.

Carrying on the Oz tradition we had Return To Oz in 1985 which should have been box office gold but sadly was not. It was dark, disturbing and so unlike its predecessor but more faithful to Baum's books. If you haven't seen this, please buy/rent/stream it - you won't regret it. Some of it is cheesy, some of it is genuinely scary but this combination works.

Of course you can't talk about Oz without mentioning Wicked, Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel (and its three sequels) now more well known as the famous Broadway musical of the same name which has its fans and its detractors. An honourable mention must go to Muppets' Wizard Of Oz from 2005 starring Miss Piggy as the witches - all of them, good and bad...

Last but not least, we have Oz: The Great And Powerful to look forward to next year on March 8 in both the UK and the US (March 7 in Australia) starring James Franco and Michelle Williams. Oz is a prequel about the Wizard and his arrival in the magical land and I will definitely be going to see it. Just because I love it, here's the promo poster for Oz -

I have a strange fascination with hot air balloons so this poster equals just about perfect for me.

1 comment:

  1. The Wizard Of Oz is the first fil I really remember watching, being scared silly by those flying monkeys really sticks in my mind. I'm not sure I want to see the new Oz film as I'm not a fan of James Franco but I'll wait for more reviews before deciding. Off to watch Wizard Of Oz now!



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