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Adapting The Wizard of OzMusical Versions from Baum to MGM and Beyond$
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Danielle Birkett and Dominic McHugh

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190663179

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: December 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190663179.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 01 March 2021

“The Merry Old Land of Oz”?

“The Merry Old Land of Oz”?

The Reception of the MGM Film

(p.121) 6 “The Merry Old Land of Oz”?
Adapting The Wizard of Oz

Danielle Birkett

Oxford University Press

Few movie musicals have experienced the long-term success of The Wizard of Oz. This chapter investigates its complex reception history to assess why this film has stood the test of time, despite the lukewarm response to it in 1939. In particular, five themes are central to this discussion: the adaptation of Baum’s familiar text; the handling of the fantasy setting; the philosophy presented within the story; the innovative filmic devices; and the star casting. An array of archival documents from 1939 to the present day is used to address each of these points from both the writers’ perspective and a critical viewpoint. In addition, the legacy of this iconic movie is explored to reveal the significance of The Wizard of Oz in American culture today.

Keywords:   reception, MGM, culture, fantasy, cinematic masterpiece, critics, reviews

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