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Wizard of Oz Essay

The wizard of Oz has been a beloved story that has had an impact way beyond being a children’s fairy tale. Numerous papers in sociology and the humanities have been written analyzing the allegories contained in the story. The song “Over the Rainbow” is such an inspirational song that it has survived over the years, being covered by numerous artists and featuring even in movies today, like the movie “Australia”. This article however will focus on viewing the book through the eyes of those who adapted it into the 1939 production of the musical “The Wizard of Oz” staring Judy Garland.

It will be demonstrated how the use of color and masterful story telling was able to transform a long the book with lots of details into a captivating masterpiece. It will also point out the areas in which the movie has stayed true to the source book. To do this existing research and references to the movie and the book will be used. Plot Summary Franks Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” was adapted by Victor Fleming into a musical “The Wizard of Oz”. It is a story of a young girl named Dorothy who lived in Kansas. She lived with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry and her pet dog Toto on a farm.

One day a tornado struck and she was transported to a place known as the Land of Oz where she met many strange characters. While on her journey to meet the Great Wizard of Oz, to learn how to get back home to Kansas, she made many friends such as the Scarecrow, Tin wood man, Cowardly lion and the good witch of the North. They encounter many obstacles in their journey to meet the Wizard. They finally defeat the wicked Witch of the West; expose the Wizard to be a sham artist and Dorothy returns home after a click of her boots.

Journal Article A number of sources were used to compile this report. [Billman 1-8] is the most comprehensive of them and is a detailed comparison of the book and the movie. The author argues that the film a more compelling version of the Oz story. Since most people end up approaching the book after having the film impressed on their minds, the author feels that the all other renditions of the story have to answer to the movie. She then goes on to point out where the movie strengthens the story in the book but explaining some points: for example why Dorothy wants to return to boring Kansas.

She also points out how the movie reduces detail in order to reduce complexity and ad hoc structure that Baum used in his book. Analysis: Original vs. Remake In this section a detailed comparison will be done between the book by Baum and the 1939 musical. The focus will be on three categories: focus and narrative of the two plots, visualization, and the soundtrack. Focus and Narrative Large parts of the movie closely follow the line in the book. The depiction of a fantastic land where success comes to those who believe in themselves and where human ingenuity trumps over wizardry are the common themes [Billman 2].

It shows us that we as individuals never appreciate what we have and later regret the fact . Dorothy never appreciated her aunt Em and the place she lived in but later she realizes that there is no place like home. It just goes to show that Dorothy possessed happiness and contentment all along the way but never appreciated it until now. In the same way her three friends that she met along the way to meet the Wizard of Oz showed us that they already possessed what they were looking for and they just needed to believe in themselves. The Tin-man is shown as one of the most caring and emotional members in the group.

The fact that he cries every time and then he begins to rust proves the point of his compassion towards his friends. He believes he has no heart not realizing that he has a big heart full of love but just doesn’t recognize it and says he feels hollow. When the Wizard gives him a symbol depicting a heart he is then content. The scarecrow is shown as very intelligent and in fact came up with solutions when they faced problems. When he was awarded a brain which was only an external symbol he felt satisfied and actually excepted that he now has a brain.

Lastly, the cowardly lion also feels like he is not courageous enough to encounter fearful situations. He does possess courage just doesn’t want to accept the fact. When the Wizard gives him a courage badge he feels like he now has the courage to confront his fears. Just a symbol of courage made him change his view from being a pessimist to an optimist. In this story, Dorothy is a force for good and she opposes, and confronts evil, helping her three friends find happiness in the end. A number of story lines were tweaked in the movie. Baum’s meandering story line is reconfigured for a more focused narrative.

The five separate territories ( the countries of the Munchkins, the Winkies, the Quadlings, the Gillikins and the region of the Emerald City) is simplified to two witches and two journeys to the Emerald City and the castle of the Wicked Witch. The movie also structures the story so that it increases suspense. Dorothy’s encounter with the wicked witch is placed at the end for a great climax. From the book its unclear who the story is about, whether it is about Dorothy or her companions. In fact even the wizard, after whom the book is named does not appear until much later and has a much smaller part than the four companions.

This jumble of narrative episodes and characters gives readers a sense of a story that rambles without purpose [Tibbetts and Welsh 2]. The narrative in the movie is structured from Dorothy’s perspective and greatly simplified. A fundamental point of why Dorothy would want to leave the wonderful Land of Oz is treated much better in the movie than in the book. In Baum’s novel the farm in Kansas is described as an extremely boring place, where everything was gray [Baum 2], but as soon as Dorothy arrives in magnificent and multicoloured Oz she is trying to get back.

This is justified by her telling the Scarecrow that although it is boring there is no place like home. This specious reasoning is improved upon drastically in the film. Dorothy is shown running away from home at the start of the film to prevent her dog Toto from being taken away from her. She however returns, feeling homesick, when a fortune teller lets her know that her Aunt is sick and missing her. Optimism is more prevalent in the film. The boring and drab Kansas landscape is made more pleasant in the film.

Victor Fleming in the musical “The Wizard of Oz” has portrayed Kansas as a nice place to live in besides its malevolent neighbours and harsh weather. The farm that Dorothy lived on with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em is shown to be a happy little place with people who help around and at the same time have fun working with each other. The song sung in Kansas “Somewhere over the Rainbow” by Dorothy brings more of a bright side to the black and white picture depicted of Kansas.

The song shows us that Dorothy is thinking of a place that is just like the Oz so she can get away from the life in Kansas. Billman 2] The film also develops the characters of the book. Unlike in the book where Dorothy actually travels to Oz, in the movie the whole adventure was Dorothy’s dream. The fact that the face of the Witch turns into Auntie Em at two moments could be done by the director to depict that Dorothy had confused thoughts about her as a “Mother figure” [Tibbetts and Welsh 3]. Dorothy’s three companions are actually farmhands in Kansas, and the movie brings out their personalities as if hidden below their drab demeanour. Visualization There is no doubt that movies completely change the way stories are viewed and imagined.

When comparing the novel to the musical there are many differences. Some of these differences have helped enhance the story and made it much easier to understand than the book. In the musical they have tried to eliminate the number of witches compared to the novel. It made the novel seem a little too confusing. They combined the good witch of the North Glinda and South into one. She is shown in the beginning when Dorothy enters the Land of Oz and at the end when she helps Dorothy to realize that she had the power all along to return back to Kansas by clicking her red ruby slippers.

Special visual effects are added to the film so as to create a greater effect on the way the film was portrayed to the audience. The slippers in the movie are red in color which makes it more attractive for the audience than the silver shoes mentioned in the book. In the movie Glinda the good witch is shown with blond hair and a gorgeous pink gown which actually makes her look more like a fairy than a witch and that is why Dorothy looks in awe when she claims she is a good witch of the North. The city of Emerald looked very stunning and in the book the city was green only because they had to wear green glasses.

The scenes which involve the winged monkeys were given special sound effects to show the darker side of the story by making it scarier. Special effects were also added when the wicked witch wrote a message in the sky asking for Dorothy to surrender. The film depicts the imaginative journey to a fairy tale land through a dream. The film gives us a transition from the black and white to the imaginative world which is full of color which is the Land of Oz. The musical basically emphasis on all the important details which makes the story even more interesting as well as gives us a better understanding.

Soundtrack Music and sound are powerful tools of a narrative as they help convey the story. They express the moods and feelings of the characters in the story. The book does not mention any songs. The song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” has a child like composition and tune to it. The song helped the story by showing us Dorothy’s imagination through music. The beginning of the movie it clearly brought out Dorothy’s boredom in Kansas, and her longing for another more interesting place. The lyrics in the song were very well structured and they gave a peek into the Land of Oz.

It is as if her song came true. The second sound track “Ding Dong the Witch is dead” was very artfully structured. It showed happiness, it was raw and full of emotion and hence easy to link together with the characters of the movie as well as the backdrop, telling and enhancing the story. Summary and Conclusion As expected there were changes made from the novel to the film. Scenes were added as well as eliminated. Moreover, the film was a different transformation which helped tell the story in a way where it gave us description of the scenery and characters in a more vivid way.

It conveys its description through sound effects, music and visual effects. The film gives us a beautiful scenic view and the actors portray and convey personality traits and emotions through their acting performances. Ultimately the moral of the story remains the same and is a lesson for people down the years. It shows us how if one believes in themselves they can achieve anything. The willingness to see things in a positive form is a very essential element for every individual.


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