With Emerald City being the latest adaptation of the late L. Frank Baum’s novel ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ (also known as ‘The Wizard of Oz’) to come to our screens it’s amazing how a novel that was written over 100 years ago is still being used today to make on-screen entertainment.
Over the years there have been many different ways that the book has been used to base an idea on then have that idea come to life on the big, and little, screen. Welcome to FanNews and today we count down the ‘8 Other Times the Emerald City Made It onto Our Screen’.
1: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Probably the most well known and successful version of Oz on our list, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was made in 1939 and stars Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale along with co-stars Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley as Dorothy’s fellow companions.
The plot of the story is focused around Dorothy and begins in Kansas as she attempts to run away from home. However, a tornado approaches and sweeps Dorothy away taking her to the land of Oz. She then attempts to track down the Wizard by making her way to the Emerald City along with the help of her companions The Scarecrow, The Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion so that she can get home. While on her quest she comes across the Wicked Witch of the West who tries to prevent Dorothy from completing her quest.
Image From: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Wizard_of_Oz_Haley_Bolger_Garland_Lahr_1939.jpg
Nominated for six academy awards, including the Best Picture award, the movie won awards for Best Original Song for the track ‘Over the Rainbow’ and Best Original Score. Highly noted for its use of Technicolor, unusual characters, musical numbers, and storytelling ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has become a movie icon over the years.
2: Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
The most recent adaptation of Oz on our list, ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ was made in 2013 and stars James Franco as Oscar Diggs along with co-stars Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz and Zach Braff.
The plot is set approximately 20 years before the original 1939 movie, essentially making it a prequel, and is focused on Diggs who is a traveling magician from Kansas. Diggs finds himself like Dorothy transported to Oz via a Tornado. Believed by the people of Oz to be the prophesied ‘Wizard’ that is to come to he is enlisted to help bring order to Oz by defeating the evil witch. His eventual success in this endeavor sees him crowned as King of Oz at the Emerald City.
Image From: https://youtu.be/YhLaBpvS7os
The movie certainly had its good and bad moments and praise was certainly given where it was due. Admired for its visually stunning scenes ‘Oz the Great and Powerful’ was not exactly slammed by critics, it just didn’t do nearly as well as its predecessor, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939), in terms of success.
3: Oz (1997-2003)
The first TV series to make it onto our list ‘Oz’ was the HBO TV series that ran for 6 seasons and aired over 50 episodes from 1997-2003.
‘Oz’ is not exactly a direct adaptation of the novel by L. Frank Baum as the stories plot is set in a state penitentiary system called ‘Oswald State Correctional Facility’. Focused on a group of individuals inside an experimental unit of the prison the only connection to the ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz‘ is that the nicknames used throughout the series come from the book as ‘Oz’ and ‘Emerald City’ are both used for the facility and the experimental area.
Image From: https://youtu.be/fxGJyYb9_po
‘Oz’ was the first TV series to be produced by HBO to have a one hour run time and is considered to be the show that laid down the foundation for all other HBO dramas. ‘Oz’ has been critically received very well and even made the top 100 in ‘Entertainment Weekly’s’ list of new TV classics back in 2008.
4: Return to Oz (1985)
Technically not a sequel, but is considered as such, ‘Return to Oz’ was made in 1985 and stars Fairuza Balk as Dorothy along with co-stars Nicol Williamson and Jean Marsh.
Largely considered as a sequel to the 1939 movie it officially is not but does take large parts from the movie and viewers can’t really be blamed for thinking so as the plot of the story is set 6 months after Dorothy returns from her visit to Oz. Dorothy is not coping with her experience very well since returning to Kansas. Her Aunt and Uncle take her to a doctor for treatment. While undergoing this treatment a thunderstorm ensues and a blackout occurs and Dorothy is whisked away by a mysterious girl. She then discovers she has been transported back to Oz where she finds that the emerald city is now in ruin thanks to a vain witch and the nome king. Her friends are either captured or turned to stone. With the help of her new friends she sets off to restore Emerald City to its former glory.
Image From: https://youtu.be/CklyKCKFtwE
The movie received mixed reviews, with fans of the novels ultimately giving the most praise for sticking to the original storyline as best as possible. The movie was nominated for an award in special effect but was only worthy of the nomination.
5: Once Upon a Time (2011- )
Another TV show to feature on this list and the only one that is still currently going ‘Once Upon a Time’ debuted on the ABC network back in 2011 starring Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla and Robert Carlyle and is currently on its 6th season.
This TV show does not just focus on one fairytale but rather than all fairy tales in existence. The plot of the story focuses on Jennifer Morrison’s character Emma Swan and is about how she is drawn to a little town of Maine where the fairy tale world and the real world have come together. Emma goes through each adventure trying to deal with her troubled past while immersed in this strange new place. As this show focuses on many different fairytales it was not surprising when parts of Oz finally started to make an appearance. The Wicked Witch of the West, or Zelena, as she is known on the show and The Wizard of Oz both appear during season 3 along with scenes of Emerald City.
Image From: https://youtu.be/hpqz24E-Bds
When the show began it was positively criticised as being both extremely inventive and promising. Feminist groups also praised the show highly for its strong female presence and the twists on the female fairy tale roles were also a hit amongst feminists. Viewership has remained strong, however, as time has gone by viewer numbers have dropped but it is still in the millions. How long the show will remain for is still to be seen.
6: Oz (1976)
The 1976 movie ‘Oz’, starring Joy Dunstan as Dorothy alongside co-stars Graham Matters and Bruce Spence was a Rock ‘n’ Roll musical version of the novel.
A re-imagining of the 1939 version the movie is set in 1970’s Australia and Dorothy is a groupie riding along with a rock band when she is an accident and receives a nasty hit on the head. She awakes to find herself in a fantasy land where she learns that she has killed a thug. She is gifted a pair of red shoes as a result of this death and she then makes her way to see the last rock concert of the wizard. Along her way she meets a dimwitted surfer a mechanic who is heartless and a cowardly biker.
Image From: https://youtu.be/KJD8xFpvuiw
The movie was a commercial disaster but did receive good reviews by critics. Problems with the soundtrack not being ready at the end of filming were undoubtedly the main cause for this. Despite all of this the movie did develop a cult follow.
7: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)
The shortest and quietest version on our list, ‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ was made in 1910 and is a silent movie and is suspected to star Bebe Daniels as Dorothy.
Based more on the 1902 stage version rather than the novel this silent movie only had a runtime of approximately 13 minutes and is the earliest movie version of the novels. Still set in Kansas, the silent movie follows other similar plots as Dorothy and her beloved cow are chased into the cornfield by a mule where they discover that their family scarecrow is alive. The scarecrow tries to protect them by the use of a haystack but a cyclone blows them all away landing themselves in Oz. While they travel through Oz they encounter the Tin Man and the Lion. They are then captured by the wicked witch and their soldiers who they then must defeat in order to escape. Once they made their escape they head to Emerald City where they meet the wizard who then announces that the scarecrow will be king and then leaves in a balloon.
Image From: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Wonderful_Wizard_of_Oz,_006.png
Credits to this movie adaptation are unfortunately lost and therefore not everything can be verified and almost all parts of this movie, including casting and the plot, are in dispute. The only thing that can be said for certain is that this movie was defiantly made, just by who, how and was it well received cannot be verified for sure.
8: The Wizard of Oz (1990)
Another TV series but the first and only animated series to make our list, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, was made in 1990 and starred the voices of Charlie Adler, Liz George, David Lodge and Tress MacNeille. The animated series only ran for one season featuring 13 episodes in honour of the 50th anniversary of the 1939 movie.
In this animated special Dorothy has returned to Oz with Toto where she reunites with the Scarecrow, Tin Man and The Cowardly Lion where she finds out the Wicked Witch of the West has returned from beyond the grave and she has taken over The Emerald City. The Wizard is unable to help as a spell is preventing him from landing his hot air balloon. Dorothy, along with her fellow companions set out to save The Wizard and bring an end to the witches reign.
Widely accepted and loved by a younger audience the episodes did surprisingly well and were frequently rerun up until 2002 on Toon Disney.
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That’s our countdown for ‘8 Other Times the Emerald City Made It onto Our Screen’. What did you think? Did we miss anything out? Leave a comment below to let us know your thoughts and don’t forget that to stay up to date with all our news, countdowns and opinions you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.