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October 2002, Week 4


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Scott Andrew Hutchins <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 27 Oct 2002 14:17:55 -0500
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> Lang Thompson comments:
> " Red Dragon brings up the issue of when films are actually remakes as
> opposed to a new version of a source novel.  For instance, The Maltese
> Falcon is often referred to as a remake better than the original (or two
> earlier films in that case) but it clearly owes little if anything to
> the
> earlier films and shouldn't be considered a remake."

John Waters was on a documentary about _The Wizard of Oz_ talking about how
you could never successfully remake it, and points to the John Kane stage
adaptation as being inferior no matter who you get to act in it.

As those who've read it know, the film is a very loose adaptation of the
book, but closer than many of its predecessors--including one by Baum
himself who got creative and ended up using the film as a source for his new
novel, _The Scarecrow of Oz_, in 1915, which he would continue to cite as
his "best" Oz book.

Many adaptations that claim to be more faithful to Baum often fall back on
the MGM film.  Most recently, James Patrick Doyle, who died suddenly this
past February, wrote a stage musical, _The Wonderful Wizard of Oz_, and I
freely said to him I thought he took too much influence from the MGM film
despite having a somewhat gospel-sounding theme for the mice pulling the
Cowardly Lion out of the poppy field.

I also think _Return to Oz_, ostensibly based on the books, would have been
more successful had Disney not tried to do so many things to tie it to the
MGM film.

Waters is right on one count, that a big-budget film of The Wonderful Wizard
of Oz, much as I'd like to see SFX showing field mice pulling the lion out
of the poppy field on a cart, is not going to happen, as any producer would
find it suicidal, considering audience's past rejection of a non-MGM-based
Oz, or as it's called in fandom, the "Ozma who?" adaptations.

Scott Andrew Hutchins

Examine The Life of Timon of Athens at Cracks in the Fourth Wall Theatre &

"In today's world, we're always forced to do what is insisted by others.
But why should money determine what we do in life... or what we are... or
what we become?  Even the rapport of our true relationships?"--Jean-Luc
Godard, _Le Mépris_.

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