Preview: Many film adaptations of The Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz book poster – Courtesy of Wikimedia

CAIRO – August 25, 2017: August 25 is the day that MGM’s beloved film

‘The Wizard of Oz’

premieres in public theaters across America. When aired on television, the film will go down in history as one of the most viewed films on television, still inspiring the hearts of millions to this day.

This article takes a look at the different film adaptations of the lesser-known sequels, showing the different interpretations of the beloved Land of Oz over the years.

The MGM adaptation wasn’t actually the first time Oz had arrived onscreen. In fact, the adaptations of The Wizard of Oz were some of the first movies ever to be made. The only survivor is “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” from 1910, a silent short film based less on the book and more directly on the 1902 theatrical adaptation.

1925 saw another silent film adaptation, simply called “Wizard of Oz”. The plot was vastly different and the production of the film was quite confused. The plot differed significantly from the source material or any other adaptation, as it involved Dorothy as heir to the Throne of Oz.

Following the release of the 1939 blockbuster film, the world demanded more, eager to return to Oz. MGM never produced an official sequel to the film, although that hasn’t stopped other studios from trying. The year 1972 brought the release of an animated film titled “Journey Back to Oz”; Although not affiliated with MGM, the film was announced with direct reference to Judy Garland and the first film. It starred Liza Minnelli, Garland’s daughter, as Dorothy.

One of the most creative adaptations of Oz was 1978’s “The Wiz,” an urban retelling of the classic fairy tale with an African-American twist, starring Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow and starring Dorothy as as a school teacher played by Diana Ross, who is taken to Oz. following a snowstorm. It was nominated for 4 Oscars.

1985 brought one of the darkest versions of the beloved franchise to date, with “Return of Oz” starring Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) narrowly escaping electroshock therapy after her previous adventure, saved by a mysterious girl.

She returns in an Oz darker, more surreal and fantastic than ever. Effects such as Claymation have been used to portray the Nome King, the new threat Oz faces.

While not an official sequel, the film faithfully adapts elements of the source book sequels, Ozma of Oz and The Magical Land Of Oz. He was nominated for an Oscar.

Even the Muppets joined their version of Oz with “The Muppets’ Wizard of Oz” from 2005. The film featured an outrageous cast including Quentin Tarantino, Queen Latifah and Ashanti alongside the Muppets. It received a poor critical reception but still managed to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award.

More recently, the 2013 blockbuster “Oz: The Great and Powerful” directed by Frank Herbert recounted how the Wizard of Oz himself was born, through the use of magnificent special effects. Much like the MGM movie, the movie divided “our world” and the land of Oz by color, with Oz being incredibly colorful, while our world was black and white. It starred James Franco as the lead role of Oz himself and Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch of the East. Despite winning multiple Saturn Awards, the film ultimately failed to stay in public memory and faded away.

The Wizard of Oz is a timeless tale that not only will continue to be re-adapted for generations to come, but already features a classic film series to introduce those who wish to experience the wonderful world of Oz.

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