The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


Short Starts typically presents a weekly short film from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. This week we present a short film from the start of a film property. Say what you will about Oz the Great and Powerful (I’m not a fan, but the $80 million gross implies some of you are), but you can’t dismiss it simply out of loyalty and preference for MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. That film may be a classic, but it’s far from being an original product that can be ruined by any remake, sequel or prequel. Sure, the new Oz strangely attempts to get away with as much visual linkage to the 1939 film as Disney could get away with, but it’s also just another in a very long list of adaptations of L. Frank Baum‘s children’s stories, which includes animated versions, Muppet versions and all-African-American versions, as well as silent incarnations going back more than a century, many of which involved Baum directly. The first cinematic treatment of Oz was in 1908, as part of a compilation of stories adapted from Baum’s books (including non-Oz works) titled The Fairylogue and Radio Plays. I don’t technically qualify the project as the first Oz movie because it only partly involved colorized film material in addition to slides and live performance, all wrapped up in a traveling stage show. Naturally, this means it doesn’t survive — also it was not financially successful, resulting in Baum’s bankruptcy in 1911, so that may be […]


Oz the Great and Powerful Poster

Right around the time that the 67th poster of two stars leaning back to back hits theater lobbies is when the pessimism about modern one sheet design starts to creep in. Fortunately, there’s always a handful of excellent posters dotting the year to keep hope alive. Thank you, Oz the Great and Powerful poster, for keeping hope alive:


Why Watch? In 1910, (possibly) Otis Turner directed a silent, black and white film (the only kind they had back then) that brought L. Frank Baum’s 1900 novel to life for the first time in moving pictures. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz capitalized on the author’s popularity and launched a filmic fascination with the works which, of course, led to the benchmark 1939 version. This is an artifact to be certain, but it features charming images and a fantastical spirit that can’t be tampered by the antique feel. What will it cost? Only 14 minutes. Skip Work. You’ve Got Time For More Short Films



John Boorman has signed on to direct a new film of a book that has grown into a legend, “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum. Boorman could be an interesting choice for the job of adapting Baum’s classic book into a new non musical animated film version.

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published: 02.01.2015
published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015

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