The Wizard of Oz Adaptations and Where it All Started

All the Oz's that ever were

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The Wizard of Oz has a long history and continues to be a fan favorite. It’s a novel that was written by L. Frank Baum in the 1900’s.  But everybody knows that the Wizard of Oz is truly known for the film version with Judy Garland that came out in 1939.With all the colorful characters and the marvelous wonders of the city of Oz, there is no wonder that the magical story has been made for film, Broadway, TV and has had its story extended through fan-fiction, prequels, and other stories.

Oz The Great and Powerful Cast

Source: Walt Disney Studios

The latest film version is titled “Oz the great and Powerful” (2013) and is a prequel that follows the life of the wizard, played by James Franco.

The greatest influence here was obviously the Technicolor film that made the yellow brick road and ruby red shoes famous. Fun Fact: in the novel, the shoes were actually silver and not red.

The other versions of Oz take liberty with how they make the characters behave and what caused the chain of events to begin. I also find it incredibly interesting that the movie didn’t portray the wizard in a sinister light, but a lot of the other versions make the wizard a bad man or a selfish politician. I get it though. Oz is a con-artist. It’s so much more interesting to explore the dark motivations for his climb to power. The man fooled an entire foreign city into believing he was more powerful than them and was qualified to be their leader.

What I love the most about all of these different versions is the fleshed out motivations and reasoning behind the stories. It gives us a glimpse into the history of the city of Oz and its inhabitants. These are a few adaptations:


The Wiz

The Wiz

A film adaptation of the original Wizard of Oz that tells the story of Dorothy, played by Diana Ross, and her friends, which include Michael Jackson as the cowardly lion. Produced by Motown Productions, this film is the rhythm tale of Oz. I personally like the fact that the walk down the yellow brick road isn’t stiff. That bop was much needed.

via GIPHY

I also find the production design, cinematography, costumes, and the feel of the movie is beyond creative. They took a familiar story and staged Oz in a setting that can be compared to New York City. It’s almost steam punk. The music is incredibly lively but the visuals are what steal the show.

Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West

A novel was written by Gregory Maguire that tells the “true” story of Elphaba (Wicked Witch of the West) and Dorothy in Oz. The story takes everything we know to have happened in the original film and invents details that justify the Wicked Witch of the West’s actions.

In this book, Elphaba is the hero that has been misunderstood. A woman’s struggle with being green, different, and mistreated. The idea, in theory, of this book, is amazing. In fact, it’s the reason why I read it as soon as I heard the synopsis. The execution, however, was painful. There are very confusing parts that seem to have some deeper than life meaning and they don’t come across well. I mean some parts of this book are at another level of weird. I’m deeply scarred by the “orgy” scene with the speaking animals and other beings. Yes, it’s just as crazy as it sounds. The characters are out at night in a dark bar-like place and all of a sudden there is some drawn out group sex scene that makes you question your own existence.

I just kept asking myself, why?

Wicked The Musical

WILLEMIJN VERKAIK AS ELPHABA Wicked The Musical source: wicked on broadway

Although I wasn’t a fan of the novel, I allowed myself to go see the musical. There is a reason why it’s the best show currently running on Broadway. They took the long twisted novel and deleted all the un-necessaries. Besides the wonderful music, the play is filled with humor and color. Glinda is absolutely hilarious.

Elphaba (The Wicked Witch) starts off as a young green girl going through school, trying to figure things out. Very relatable. Somewhere along the way she earns the reputation of being the wicked witch and the rumors told by people are what we know to be the original OZ story. But in this play, it fully explains what really happened.

There’s a lot of comedy and color. I recommend Wicked to everyone who is looking for a great Broadway show and an awesome experience. It is worth every penny. Especially if you’re a die-hard fan.

Wicked The Musical Tour and Broadway

Oz the Great and Powerful, has a great cast and beautiful cinematography.  Let’s wait and see where it lines up along the rest of its predecessors.

Oz the Great and Powerful U.S. release date March 8, 2013

The Official Oz the Great and Powerful Site

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The Wizard of Oz adaptations and where it all started

 

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