News / USA

Wizard of Oz Gets a Movie Prequel

Wizard of Oz Gets a Movie Prequeli
X
March 19, 2013 1:16 AM
The story of the Wizard of Oz, the magician who inhabits the Emerald City has weathered time. Written by Frank Baum in 1900, the fantasy has become a movie and a play many times over. Its most famous incarnation was MGM’s lavish 1939 production starring Judy Garland and her ruby slippers. Now, a prequel to the original has been made to court audiences in the 21st century. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Penelope Poulou
The story of the Wizard of Oz, the magician who inhabits the Emerald City has weathered time. Written by Frank Baum in 1900, the fantasy has become a movie and a play many times over. Its most famous incarnation was MGM’s lavish 1939 production starring Judy Garland and her ruby slippers.  Now, a prequel to the original has been made to court audiences in the 21st century. 
 
Like the original, Oz the Great and Powerful, a new release by filmmaker Sam Raimi, opens in black and white. 
 
Circus magician Oscar Diggs, played by James Franco, is taken to the Emerald City where he’s destined to claim the throne. First, he’s told, he has to kill the Wicked Witch. He meets three witches. They deny they're wicked.
 
It will take time for him to figure out who the bad witch is.
 
James Franco says the original story inspired him. “I have been a fan of the world of Oz since I was probably eleven, maybe younger. So, I thought it was a really great opportunity to jump into the role of my childhood and imagination," he said. 
 
Sam Raimi’s 3D  film offers a good story, rich visuals, good acting and great special effects. 
 
But it can't match the 1939 Wizard of Oz where Dorothy, played by Judy Garland in her ruby slippers, made history. 
 
She travels to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard who will show her the way back home - only to find that Oz is a fake.
 
The journey is an allegory of self-discovery. 
 
The Library of Congress named The Wizard of Oz the most watched motion picture in history, says Patrick Loughney, Executive Director of the National Audio Visual Conservation Center at the Library.  
 
“It’s a magical film because it captures that concentration of energy, genius and creativity that was apparent in Hollywood, in the movie industry at that time," he said. 
 
Loughney says the 1939 film carried a post-depression message of endurance. “To me it's the message of hope in the movie that ultimately connects with everybody at that time, and even today," he said. 
 
Other incarnations of The Wizard of Oz have reflected changes in popular culture.  In 1974, The Wiz featured Dorothy played by Diana Ross, with an all-black cast. 
 
"I think it reflects a social change that already occurred in America since the 1950s and 1960s. And so you have major movie studios beginning to accommodate artists coming out of the African American community," said Loughney. 
 
Now, Sam Raimi’s technical marvel, Oz the Great and Powerful, may give new life to the wizard until the next incarnation of Frank Baum's beloved story.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid