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

    Escalation of Media Crackdown in Turkey Heightens Concerns

    Critics see 'a new dark age' as arrests of journalists, closures of media outlets by Erdogan government mount

    Russia Boasts of Troop Buildup on Flank, Draws Flak

    Russian military moves counter to efforts to de-escalate tensions, State Department says

    Video Iraqis Primed to March on Mosul, Foreign Minister Says

    Iraqi FM Ibrahim al-Jaafari tells VOA the campaign will meet optimistic expectations, even though US officials remain cautious

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora