Overview: ‘The Wizard of Oz's’ many film adaptations
Fri, Aug. 25, 2017
CAIRO – 25 August 2017: August 25 is the day that MGM's beloved movie
This article takes a look at the various, lesser known sequels film adaptations, showing the various interpretations of the beloved Land of Oz across the years.
MGM's adaptation was not actually the first time Oz came to the screen. In fact, Wizard of Oz adaptations were amongst the earliest films ever made. The only surviving one is 1910's 'The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,' a silent short film based less on the book and more directly on the 1902 theatre adaptation.
1925 saw another silent film adaptation, simply called 'Wizard of Oz'. The plotline differed wildly, and production for the film was quite troubled. The plotline differed considerably from the source material or any other adaptation, as it involved Dorothy as the heir to Oz's throne.
After the hit 1939 film was released, the world clamored for more, eager to return to Oz. MGM never produced an official sequel to the movie, though that didn't stop other studios from trying. Year 1972 brought the release of an animated film titled 'Journey Back to Oz;' though not affiliated with MGM, the film was advertised by directly referencing Judy Garland and the first film. It starred Liza Minnelli, Garland's daughter, as the voice of Dorothy.
One of Oz's more creative adaptations was 1978's 'The Wiz', an urban retelling of the classic tale with an African-American twist, starring Michael Jackson as the scarecrow and featuring Dorothy as school teacher played by Diana Ross, who is whisked away to Oz following a Snowstorm. It was nominated for 4 Oscars.
1985 brought one of the darkest takes on the beloved franchise yet, with 'The Return of Oz' featuring Dorothy (Fairuza Balk) just narrowly escaping electroshock therapy following her previous adventure, saved by a mysterious girl.
She returns to an Oz that's more dark, surreal and fantastical than ever before. Effects such as Claymation were used to portray the Nome King, the new threat facing Oz.
Despite not being an official sequel, the film actually faithfully adapts elements from the source book's follow-ups, Ozma of Oz and The Magical Land Of Oz. It was nominated for an Oscar.
Even the Muppets joined had their version of Oz with 2005's 'The Muppets' Wizard of Oz.' The film featured an outrageous cast including Quentin Tarantino, Queen Latifah and Ashanti alongside the Muppets. It received poor critical reception yet still managed to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy award.
More recently, the 2013 blockbuster 'Oz: The Great and Powerful' directed by Frank Herbert told the story of how the Wizard of Oz himself came to be, through the use of magnificent special effects. Much like the MGM movie, the film divided 'our world' and the Land of Oz by color, with Oz being fantastically colorful, while our world was black and white. It starred James Franco in the lead role as Oz himself and Mila Kunis as the Wicked Witch of the East. Though it won several Saturn Awards, the film ultimately failed to last in public memory and faded away.
The Wizard of Oz is a timeless tale that will not only continue to be readapted for generations to come, but already features a host of a classic film to introduce those willing to the Wonderful World of Oz.