News / Arts & Entertainment

High-Tech Oz Prequel Courts Modern Viewers

Oz Prequel Revisits Legendary Storyi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
March 19, 2013 2:53 PM
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.
Oz Prequel Revisits Legendary Story
Penelope Poulou
Written by Frank Baum in 1900, the magical story of The Wizard of Oz has weathered time, and many film and stage incarnations.

Its most famous was MGM’s lavish 1939 production starring Judy Garland and her ruby slippers. Now, a prequel to the original is out to court 21st century audiences.  

Like the original, Oz the Great and Powerful 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, who all deny they're wicked.

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.”

Sam Raimi’s 3D  film offers a good story, rich visuals, solid acting and great special effects.

But it can't match 1939's The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy, played by Judy Garland in her ruby slippers, made history. Dorothy 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 says.

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.”

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," Loughney says. "And so you have major movie studios beginning to accommodate artists coming out of the African American community."

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

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Ciaran Mulcahy from: Dublin, Ireland
March 25, 2013 8:18 AM
It is indeed interesting how well known stories can undergo many changes. An Italian composer created an opera which he set in the USA., its title was: "The Girl From The Golden West"; it was suitably filmed as a 'movie-western'.

I would like someone to search for a Soviet, or East German made Movie, which I saw, on "B.B.C. TV.," (as it was known when the film was screened, 'circa' 1961-1962, or 1963).

The BBC programme-guide, the "Radio Times", credited the actors, as: U.K. Actor, Alfie Bass; and U.S. Actor, Peter Falk. The film seemed to be about fur-trappers in the Arctic Wastes, somewhere, and was voiced-over by a single voice.

The actors wore such long, heavy fur-coats, that it is doubtful if even their closest family relatives would have recognised them. While its very likely that the performers, themselves, probably felt that the film was pointless, it would be interesting if somebody could track it down.

As it was, then, generally five-years at the least, before a film was released to television, that could mean that the film could have been made 'circa' 1957. It would be interesting to track-down, and release.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

Soul Lounge

Avery Sunshine is known for her irresistible combination of soul, jazz and gospel influences. She’s traveled the world entertaining audiences with her powerful voice, inspiring lyrics and infectious spirit. She joins host Shawna Renee on "The Soul Lounge" to perform and share the stories behind her new album, "The Sun Room."