Oz of Old
Since L. Frank Baum published the the Wonderful Wizard of Oz in 1900, cinema has had a love affair with his much adored children's book. There have been over 100 Wizard of Oz films, videos and book spinoffs between 1910 and 2011. Though the 1939 Victor Flemming/Judy Garland version is the best and most popular, there were many other versions before and since.
As early as 1902, there was a stage version. Between 1910 and 1925, over a dozen films were made by various companies based on the original book or the sequels published after. Titles like Patchwork Girl of Oz, Magic Cloak of Oz and so on. The 1925 version of of the first book is some what memorable and even has Oliver Hardy as a farmhand.
Walt Disney dabbled with various ideas for a production of Oz that never really materialized. Jim Hill has a great look at the various concepts Disney had for Oz over the years. Disney's long, long journey to Oz In 1978, Diana Ross & Michael Jackson stared in The Wiz, another musical version, with the memorable song 'Ease on Down the Road'.
In 2007, the SciFi Channel gave us the 2 part mini-series entitled Tin Man staring Zooey Deschanel, Alan Cumming and Neal McDonough. It did an excellent job of mixing modern ideas into the story's mythic framework.
Oz of Today (2013)
Sam Raimi who has given us Evil Dead, Zena and Spiderman over the years will have his hands full with three witches in this latest Oz film produced by Disney Studios.
Filming begins in the magical land of Pontiac Michigan. The stars include James Franco, Zach Braff, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, and Michelle Williams.
James Franco is the lead, a "small-time circus magician with dubious ethics, is hurled away from dusty Kansas to the vibrant Land of Oz. He thinks he’s hit the jackpot—fame and fortune are his for the taking—that is until he meets three witches, Theodora (Mila Kunis), Evanora (Rachel Weisz) and Glinda (Michelle Williams), who are not convinced he is the great wizard everyone’s been expecting." From the Disney press release.
Add in the talking winged monkey voiced by Zach Braff and we might have a very entertaining spring movie for 2013. And unlike the previous Disney incarnations, this Oz/Disney production will finally reach the big screen.
Oz the Great and Powerful is set to release March 8th, 2013
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