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The Wizardry of Oz Hardcover – October 12, 1999
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The Wizardry of Oz, directly flouting the orders of the famous Wizard, asks us to pay attention to the man behind the curtain--all the men and women, in fact, who made the captivating visuals of The Wizard of Oz possible. The book is a beautiful and entertaining record of exactly how the stunning sets, costumes, and makeup in the classic movie came to life. Fascinating images crowd every page--makeup tests, storyboards, and costume renderings show the evolution of the look and feel of the movie, while lighting plans and set blueprints reveal the technical intricacies involved. The text is no less engaging, filled with tales of technical problem-solving. How to make Glinda's bubble shimmer properly? Would witchy ruby slippers be too unflattering for the young Dorothy? And how did they make that still-scary cyclone? The book is also peppered with sidebars and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, such as the startled reactions of other MGM players running across the garishly dyed versions of the Horse of a Different Color. One of the greatest pleasures of the book is the opportunity to look long and hard at the intricate sets (ever notice the hand-for-a-bookmark in the Witch's Tower?) and elaborate background matte paintings. Even the appendices are charming, including a complete listing of the cast and crew and a tribute to the career of Terry the terrier, later known to the world as Toto. Thoroughly researched and affectionately written, The Wizardry of Oz is a marvelous tribute to the making of one of the best movies ever made. --Ali Davis
Excerpt: Is there a moviegoer in America who hasn't seen "The Wizard of Oz?"....The pages of "The Wizardry of Oz: The Artistry and Magic of the 1939 M-G-M Classic" are loaded with plenty of wonderful photos, blueprints, drawings, storyboards and other images. Exhaustively researched would be an understatement for "Wizardry of Oz" in which the authors...pick out minute details of the makeup, special effects and art direction in the film....The anecdotes about the actors are mostly gentle love letters; there's no nasty gossip or dastardly tales....You've just got to love makeup stories, costume tales and special effects recollections. Nevertheless, there are a few spicy moments. It also talks about the joys of creating special effects for the first time and the unprecedented look of the film....There's even a filmography of Dorothy's beloved dog, Toto. You'll come out of the book humming, "We're off to see the Wizard." -- Michael Farkash, The Hollywood Reporter, November 11, 1999
There's good reason why this new book...is a top seller on Amazon.com---a totally fascinating, revealing look at [Oz]. -- Collectors' Eye, July/August 2000
[A] work of art...packed with rare information that will delight the most devout Oz lover...a most satisfying resource... -- Coco Kiyonaga, Cult Movies,Issue #31
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Top Customer Reviews
Oz has become an Icon of the day. Frank Baum's story of an "Over the Rainbow" fairy tale has turned into a modern day cult of tens of thousands who are collectors of facts, trivia and memorabilia.
Did you know that some five billion people have seen "The Wizard of Oz?" This book is for everyone who has seen the film and come away feeling alive, enriched, and even in love with the story. Somewhere in that story is every human being that ever lived.
As an original cast member of the 1939, MGM classic, I believed that I had at least a rudimentary appreciation for the sights, sounds, odors, and impressions of what Oz was about. Well, at least from a child's point of view. After reading this book, Oz has my full attention.
This book has taken me lovingly, by the hand, and introduced me to the complicated but captivating worlds of the creation of the motion picture of Oz. The authors of this book have managed to take you to the nuts, bolts, and inner workings, and even the mores of the film capital of the world in 1939. They take you through the birth, growth, maturation, and the finished stages of this transcendent creation.
The techniques used by the technical crews, camera men, the make-up artists, set designers, and sound engineers were so avant-garde in 1939 that this film, more than any other film, has stood the test of time and newer technologies. Yet with all the entertaining information, the authors have shown us why "The Wizard of OZ" has become the forever classic. The wizards of MGM managed to get us down the "Yellow Brick Road" without their technology shouting at us or in any way interfering with the story.
The authors of the "Wizardry of Oz" did the same thing with their wizardry of words by not interfering with the charm of the book. It is chocked-full of great information and hundreds of artfully presented pictures, many in full color. A goodly percentage of these photos have never been seen before.
I cannot end this review without mentioning Rita Dubas who did the pictorial layout for the book. Rita Dubas also designed the shimmering jewel of Emerald City on the dust cover. There is a classy subtle hint of four of the main characters in the background. She did a superb job.
Ray Bolger, when asked about this film said, . . . all of the people connected with (Oz) will be remembered as a part of the one beautiful moment captured on film . . .
This book is not only for the collectors and the Oz historians. Because of this book, I am more in love with this film today at 66 than I was at age six. If you only read one book a year, then this must be the one!
This book is a keeper.
Donna Stewart-Hardway Child Munchkin The Wizard of Oz, 1939