Wednesday, October 01, 2014

the wizard of oz faq

The Wizard of Oz is an enduring and endearing classic. Who hasn't seen it, perhaps even multiple times? It made a star out of cultural icon Judy Garland and has held up remarkable well over the years since its 1939 release, enchanting generations of young and old alike. There have been stories over the years about what went on behind-the-scenes of making the film. The most familiar factoids center around Buddy Ebsen, who was originally cast as the Tin Woodman, but had such a terrible reaction to the silver make-up that he had to quit. Another popular story concerned the ribald antics of "The Munchkins" during production, which were even featured in a 1981 film, Under the Rainbow, starring Chevy Chase and Carrie Fisher.

One might think that a new book about the making of the film, The Wizard of Oz FAQ, might just be a rehash of such stories, peppered with a few photos, but it is far more than that. An impressive tome, running over 400 pages, The Wizard of Oz FAQ is a detailed, analytic look at the making of the film in all of its aspects - from the writing of the original source material, by Frank L. Baum, to selecting the actors, to the production of the film and beyond.

They're off to see the Wizard, L-R: The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tin Woodman (Jack Haley), Dorothy (Judy Garland), and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr)

Author David J. Hogan ... starts off not with the making of the film, but the formation of the studio that produced it, MGM, providing background stories about Louis B. Mayer and the birth of Hollywood and proceeds from there. It is this attention to detail that makes The Wizard of Oz FAQ such a fascinating read. ...

Read my full review of Cinema Sentries


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