Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Review: The Wizard of Oz FAQ All That's Left to Know About Life According to Oz by David J. Hogan


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
The Wizard of Oz FAQ is a fact-filled celebration of the beloved 1939 fantasy masterpiece starring Judy Garland. It's all here – from L. Frank Baum and his Oz novels to the complete background story of the movie's conception, development, and shoot, with special attention given to the little-known parade of uncredited directors, casting difficulties, and on-set accidents and gaffes, as well as more than 75 sidebars devoted to key cast members, directors, and other behind-the-scenes personnel.
You'll find a wealth of fun facts: How MGM overworked Judy Garland before, during, and after Oz; why director Victor Fleming had his hands full with the Cowardly Lion and Dorothy's other friends; what it was about Toto that really bothered Judy; the physical horrors of filming in Technicolor; the racial Oz gag that was scripted but never shot; when the Wicked Witch was going to be beautiful; why The Wizard of Oz owes a lot to silent-screen star Mary Pickford; the story of deleted scenes, and a full two weeks of shooting that had to be scrapped; why MGM star Mickey Rooney was part of the movie's traveling publicity blitz; how the Wicked Witch was literally blown off her broomstick one day; the place where lions, tigers, and bears really do live together; singers you hear but never see; the day MGM fired Judy Garland; and much more. Just follow the yellow brick road!

MY TAKE:
If ever there was a book that could be dubbed as the absolute ultimate guide to The Wizard of Oz, this one is it.

In The Wizard of Oz FAQ All That's Left to Know About Life According to Oz, readers learn about everything from the history of MGM, the roles the people at MGM played in the creation of the 1939 movie, the different people involved in the production, L. Frank Baum's life and works, and a great many other things related to the world of The Wizard of Oz movie.

I was surprised at how thorough this book was. It was a bit like IMDB.com + a documentary + encyclopedia. The writing flowed smoothly and although it's clear by the sheer amount of information featured that a lot of work went into this book, you never feel how difficult it must have been to write such a detailed book as this one.

When I saw this book is a definitive guide, I mean it. Ask anything, except possibly the transcript of the movie, and this book has it. It has mentions of the other Wizard of Oz movies, biographies of MGM executives and actors, behind-the-scenes looks, test images, Wicked, errors from the movie, list of covers of  "Over the Rainbow", and even a short discussion of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album.

There are so many things I liked about this book, for example, the test images and the stories on how the elements like costume and makeup were created. I also liked how they were able to create the twister in the movie.

If you're a huge fan of the movie, you'll definitely want to get a copy of this book.

Thanks to NetGalley and Applause Theater and Cinema Books for the e-ARC. Publication date of The Wizard of Oz FAQ All That's Left to Know About Life According to Oz is on July 15, 2014.

THE GOOD:

  1. It contains a ton of information.
  2. You'll learn a lot of new things.
  3. The images alone are worth the price of the book.

THE BAD:

  1. If you only care about the movie itself, you may find some parts too long and boring. 

FAVORITE QUOTE/S:
Rumor-mongering can be a lot of fun, but that doesn't mean it's a particularly intelligent pursuit.
READ IT IF:

  1. You're a huge fan of The Wizard of Oz.
  2. You like collecting movie memorabilia.
  3. You like the song "Over the Rainbow". 

RATING:
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