Thursday, December 03, 2015

The Latest Oz Reading

When Oz the Great and Powerful came out a couple of years ago, I tried to grab up as many books tied into it as I could, and have been spreading them through my reading since then. I've come to the end of that, but I clearly saved the best for last as well. The Art of Oz the Great and Powerful by Grant Curtis is a pretty thorough behind-the-scenes look at how the movie was made. Don't let the title fool you, it's not just about the art, although art is the main focus. But since art includes sets (real and virtual), props, costumes, special effects, and just about everything else in a movie, everything gets touched on. This book helped me realize what an accomplishment it was to have Finley and China Girl in the movie, for instance, and those two characters called for the development of new filmmaking techniques. There are lots of great behind-the-scenes pictures, and anecdotes about the production. I especially appreciate all the material about Baum, Denslow, Neill, and the influence of earlier Disney productions on the look of the film. (There was not as much attention given to earlier dramatizations of Oz, but considering the bad blood between Warner Bros. and Disney over this film, that's probably for the best.) If you enjoyed the movie, you'll probably want to track this book down.

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