Famous story from a series of books with several sequels
A girl, a tornado, a yellow brick path and an emerald city. These are things most people are sure to know about and certainly immediately identify with the Wizard of Oz. The famous story created by L. Frank Baum tells the journey of young Dorothy who, after being taken (with her dog Toto) by a hurricane to the land of Oz, must meet the mysterious local magician who knows how to do it. return. Along the way, she will have unforgettable allies and challenges offered by the Wicked Witch of the West.
The first book, which made up a series of fourteen other titles, came out in May 1900 but artistic “immortality”, so to speak, can be traced some thirty-nine years later when Victor Fleming (who partially directed the work because it necessary to abandon the project in favor of E o Vento Levou …) has launched its film adaptation.
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The eponymous classic starring Judy Garland took audiences by storm with its colorful look (making the most of the new colorization technique in the movies) and unforgettable music tracks. It competed for six Oscars, including Best Picture, and won those for Best Soundtrack and Best Original Song.
The 1939 classic is the image many have of the work of L. Frank Baum
No wonder, when New Line Cinema recently announced that Watchmen episode director and Emmy winner Nicole Kassell would be in charge of a new adaptation of The Wizard of Oz, questions immediately arose as to the difference. to the Fleming version. or maybe some kind of tribute in the form of a musical.
However, Dorothy’s first visit to the Land of Oz is only the first chapter in a much longer saga and one that has a rather different streak than expected. In general, the image the author had for this fantastic world was not really successfully adapted in the famous 1939 version, as Baum uses the fantastic elements to focus on certain concepts that otherwise would not be. discussed in a children’s story. The famous illustrations signed by William Wallace Denslow also convey the idea of surrealism in this world, with a different and even grotesque style of art.
Around 1904, The Wonderful Land of Oz was launched; a project born of several requests from child readers for a sequel to the first book. In a note published with the work in question, the author mentions the requests. “After the publication of The Wizard of Oz, I began to receive letters from children, telling me how much they enjoyed reading the story and asking me to write something more about the Scarecrow and Iron man”.
After much insistence, in 1904, the child audience had the desired result
This sequence does not bring Dorothy as a heroine, but young Tip. He is a child who, since he remembers, has been under the tutelage of the witch Mombi because in the past her parents had made an agreement with her: in exchange for her leaving the village alone, they would give her her grandson. Right now it is interesting to note the similarity, and a somber tone, between Tip’s early life and a terrible custom in many places, generally poorer in the majority but not entirely, of selling their children in exchange for something (usually food). ).).
This concept is also an old acquaintance with children’s stories; traditionally it is interpreted that the beginning of João and Maria’s adventure, in which the couple of brothers get lost in the forest until they meet the witch’s house, is an allegory to the old habit that parents of very large families had to abandon their children in the forest (usually those who were not old enough to bring their livelihoods home) so that there was more food left for everyone.
Therefore, Tip’s life under the witch’s tutelage is quite unpleasant, marked by a truly abusive relationship from the start. The child being necessarily placed to serve the whims of the tutor as she threatened to transform him into a statue. These more explicit details about domestic violence were a detail author Baum believed to be in the hands of fairy tales.
Suffered Tip will embark on an unforgettable adventure
After all, his goal has always been, when creating the Oz Saga, to do something worthy of the traditional Grimm Brothers stories but adapted to the scenario of the United States and not a copy of distant Europe. In the first accounts of the saga, we notice that the author did not weigh as much as he would later on the eccentricity of the decor.
Totally uncomfortable with his situation, Tip decides to create a hybrid with a wooden body and a pumpkin head so that he can scare his guardian as soon as he gets home. The plan doesn’t work and she threatens to turn Tip into a statue again; terrified, the young man decides to run away from there at night with his inanimate friend, but before that he steals a potion from the witch that gives life to inanimate objects, to bring the pumpkin-headed Jack to life. .
Some of the weirdness surrounding this footage has to do with Jack Pumpkin Head. As the article The Original The Wizard of Oz is shockingly violent compared to Talkin’s Judy Garland Classic, a very baffling snippet about Tip’s partner comes to the fore. “Baum decides and chooses when he wants the world of The Wizard of Oz to reflect real life. In the books, he features a character called Jack Pumpkin Head, who looks a lot like Jack Skellington at the start of Jack’s Strange World. It has a real Halloween look, with all the spider limbs and a pumpkin head that rots like a real pumpkin ”.
In some situations, Jack Pumpkin Head has managed to be quite disturbing
Throughout the journey, the couple separated, with Tip going in search of the Scarecrow, who is now the ruler of the Emerald City but who is at risk of being overthrown in a coup; and Jack visiting the Tin Man, who has also become a monarch and plans to march to the Emerald City in search of helping his mate. Again, there is an analogy with real factors such as the instability of political systems and alliances between national states obscured by a fantastic varnish.
The Wonderful Land of Oz was still partially serving (because Ozma’s third book of Oz was also the inspiration) as the base material for a 1985 film adaptation under the name The Fantastic World of Oz, in which it set out – unofficially because the MGM (1939 film studio) was not involved in the production – to be a sequel to the classic by Victor Fleming. A fundamental change has been the shift from Tip’s head to a Dorothy who struggles to keep up with the world outside of Oz.
So much so that at first her behavior worries her uncles, who fear for the mental health of Dorothy, who takes her to see a psychiatrist. After a few tense sequences at the start, she finds her way back to the Land of Oz, which is however quite different from what she remembered; everything is destroyed and Princess Mombi (a mix of the previously mentioned tutor witch with the villain from the third book, starring Princess Langwidere) commands with an iron fist and the nasty habit of picking up heads.
In the movie “The Fantastic World of Oz”, Dorothy returns to the long-awaited land of Oz, but the rules have changed
The film was poorly received by specialist critics at the time of its release, even the Oscar nomination for Best Special Effects didn’t change that, due to its very opposite approach to everything the original stood for, but currently it is on the list of “revered films for years after its launch.” Economically, it also failed to pay the cost of production, which at the time was budgeted at $ 28 million, a factor that prompted Disney to give up producing new footage.
Each Oz saga is full of messages that point to real elements, which is quite common in 20th century fantasy literature. Although alive in the imagination like the 1939 musical, the original works do not necessarily follow the same trend, but that in no way weakens the charm of this world.
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