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to make room for

THE WIZARD OF OZ by L. Frank Baum

suggests Norman Warwick

Yesterday we shared recommendations form the I Love Manchester newsletter about the quality of the production and performance of The Wizard Of Oz,  on stage at The Palace Theatre on Sunday 5th May. The book and the film are both at the top end of my ratings in each of those categories, and the reviews we refer to below suggest that if only I could see the show for myself I could, with a clear conscience put it up near the top of the the live performance genre too.

The theatre was right on our doorstep when my wife Dee and I lived in Heywood and were regular visitors. We are still theatre goers, even since we came to live here on Lanzarote almost ten years ago. We are very proud of the island´s  most loved theatre, which under the directions of the visionary artist Cesar Manrique was created in a huge lava cave underground just about where the land meets the sea on our Eastern coastline.

Maybe, if the cast and crew and producers could just extend the current tour for just one grand finale here on our adopted island this wonderful play and obviously production could take a swan song  in our 800 seater theatre here at Jameos Del Agua.

Ah well I can dream, can´t I?


Maybe, if Dee and I could find the yellow brick road running on the sea bed alongside our water´s edge, underground theatre we might see Dorothy and her three friends et al setting off towards to ask to see The Wizard, the wonderful wizard of OZ.

Of course we´re not the only ones of our generation (ever so slightly over seventy) to so love the book, the film and the music. And now younger generations are being introduced to all that, or are falling in love with it all over again. Certainly an on line search throws up all sorts of excellent reviews of The Wizard of Oz

Sidetracks And Detours readers might like to pop in to Read, Watch And Drink Coffee ! Its architect, shown right below,

certainly seems to have a broad-church approach. You will find plenty to read and on the L Frank Baum novel she is clearly an expert and enthusiast, saying

Originally published in 1900, The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum follows Dorothy who thinks she is lost forever when a terrifying tornado crashes through Kansas and whisks her and her dog, Toto, far away to the magical land of Oz. To get home, Dorothy must follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City and find the wonderfully mysterious Wizard of Oz. Together with her companions – the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion – Dorothy embarks on a strange and enchanting adventure.

The author of the site named above then says I absolutely love The Wizard of Oz film adaptation so I was really interested to read the story that inspired it.

It’s hard to review the book without thinking about the film as I was expecting a little more, in a way. Of course, there are a lot of differences between them as the film is more complex, running away with Baum’s ideas, while the book is very much a children’s fantasy that sparks a lot of imagination.

So because there’s a lot more to the film, I did expect some deeper themes in the book. With not as much depth, I had to take a step back and remember that it was only intended to be a children’s story to appreciate the fantastical ideas, the magical adventure, and the warm characters. And of course, they are all there in heaps and bounds as it was Baum’s talented mind that inspired such a brilliant film in the first place.

Overall, the film brilliantly emphasises the messages of the book, while also making Dorothy a more compelling character by linking the World of Oz to her life in Kansas where she felt lost and alone. Without this connection, the book didn’t quite have the same grip for me, as an adult reader, but I also loved seeing how this children’s story was brought to life in such a brilliant and vivid way.

Most of all, I was shocked by how some of the scenes in the book felt more appropriate for children, while others felt a lot darker (the tin man detailing his limbs being chopped off, the scarecrow snapping the necks of the birds). Overall, the film is much scarier with more of a focus on the Wicked Witch, but I loved seeing Baum’s original ideas and how they influenced the classic film.

That drew a response from Jillian @ The Classic Film Collection.

I’ve been scouring my Reader for another Wizard of Oz fan, and I’m so pleased to have found your post!   I love the film version, too (it’s been my favorite movie since I was four years old), and I owned a copy of the book as a child as well, but I was so disappointed that it was in any way different from the film that I never finished it. So, I’m happy to read the opinion of someone who made it through.

Really, the differences only speak to the creativity of both the book (without which the movie wouldn’t exist) and the film, and it does seem as if the filmmakers used remarkable discretion in cherry-picking which details to keep (or run away with, as you said) and which to lose (like, “the scarecrow snapping the necks of the birds”…WHAT???). Also, the cover you featured is absolutely GORGEOUS. 

I recently wrote a tribute post about Judy Garland (whose 100th birthday was this year), with a special emphasis on The Wizard of Oz and what her performance meant to me as a young girl. It’s over on my blog, The Classic Film Connection, if you’d like to check it out. I hope you can stop by soon! 

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