Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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 That was when they decided to drop a musical number that was timely when filming but would soon be out of date.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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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

Interview: Rachel Hendrix of "77 Chances"
Rachel Hendrix plays Mac in the faith-based romantic film "77 Chances." It's a "Groundhog Day"-style story about a young man who feels lost ...

posted 3:39:15pm Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Tribute: Oliver Sacks
We mourn the passing of neurologist and writer Oliver Sacks, who illuminated the workings of the brain and set an example of grace and compassion that extended to the way he shared his thoughts about his terminal diagnosis. I first learned ...

posted 9:17:46am Aug. 30, 2015 | read full post »

Three Hundred Year-Old Actors Are Still Working
Scott Feinberg talked to three actors with a combined age of 302 for The Hollywood Reporter. Patricia Morison (age 100), Norman Lloyd (age 100) and Connie Sawyer (age 102) shared memories and offered tips. All are in good health. “I ...

posted 3:32:48pm Aug. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Youth with Michael Caine
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c[/youtube] Michael Caine and Harvey Keitel play friends on vacation in an elegant hotel at the foot of the Alps. Fred, a composer and conductor, is now retired. Mick, a film director, is ...

posted 3:25:22pm Aug. 29, 2015 | read full post »

Worst Accents in Movies
Thanks to Indiewire for including me in this great rundown of the all-time worst movie accents. Critics vented frustration and fury, many picking Quentin Tarantino and Dick van Dyke, but I went with two actors who played Robin ...

posted 2:13:18pm Aug. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.