Movie Mom

Movie Mom


The Best Family Movie of All Time: The Wizard of Oz (and Other Versions)

posted by Nell Minow

This week’s release of the prequel, “Oz the Great and Powerful” is a good reason to take another look at what may be the greatest family movie of all time, the classic MGM musical version of “The Wizard of Oz,” starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, and Frank Morgan. The Making of the Wizard of Oz: Movie Magic and Studio Power in the Prime of MGM tells the remarkable story of how the film was made, including four different directors and a failed attempt to borrow Shirley Temple to play Dorothy.

YouTube Preview Image

It wasn’t until well into production that they realized they had something very special that could be an enduring classic. That was when they decided to drop a musical number that was timely when filming but would soon be out of date.

YouTube Preview Image

This was not by any means the first or only attempt to film L. Frank Baum’s classic story.  A very early silent version was made in 1910, just a decade after the book was first published.

YouTube Preview Image

Fifteen years later, silent star Larry Semon appeared in another version, with a Laurel-less Oliver Hardy as the Tin Woodman.

YouTube Preview Image

A sequel with Fairuza Balk was too creepy for kids, but is something of a cult classic.

“The Wiz” was a popular Broadway musical and a less popular movie, with Michael Jackson and Diana Ross.  “Wicked” is another Broadway musical, based on a book that tells the story from the witchs’s perspective.

The book and its sequels (by Baum and, later, two other authors) continue to be popular.  There is a theory that the original book was an allegory of the political conflicts of the time.  And there is a very active Oz Society for fans with an annual Winkie-Con.

Coming later this year is “Dorothy of Oz,” an animated film starring Patrick Stewart, Kelsey Grammar, Hugh Dancy, Dan Aykroyd, Martin Short, Megan Hilty (“Smash”), Spongebob’s Tom Kenny, and Lea Michele, and based on a continuation of the story by Baum’s great-grandson.

YouTube Preview Image


Previous Posts

Laggies
Lynn Shelton is known for writing and directing small, intimate, independent films with a lot of improvised dialogue ("Humpday,""My Sister's Sister," "Touchy Feely"), often using the same small group of actors. With "Laggies," she moves seamlessly to working with a more conventional screenplay, writ

posted 5:58:04pm Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Middleburg Film Festival -- Year Two
The paint was hardly dry at Middleburg Virginia's swanky new Salamander Resort when the first Middleburg Film Festival kicked off last year, but it was a spectacular start for both the festival and the resort, with Bruce Dern appearing to introduce "Nebraska." This year, the festival hits its strid

posted 4:28:04pm Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Disney's Headless Horseman, Sung by Bing Crosby
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ysNSKrH8hHo?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 1:39:39pm Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

List: My Favorite Movie Ghosts
Happy Halloween! Here are ten of my favorite movie ghosts.  (NOTE: Some of these have inferior remakes -- stick with the originals.) Topper Cary Grant and Constance Bennett are the most s

posted 8:00:42am Oct. 30, 2014 | read full post »

List: Sam Rockwell
Sam Rockwell is one of the most versatile leading me in Hollywood. This week, he stars with Keira Knightley in "Laggies," playing a single dad. Here are some of my favorite Sam Rockwell performances: Moon Rockwell takes on the biggest possible acting challenge -- he in alone on screen for the ent

posted 3:50:02pm Oct. 29, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.