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March 08, 2013

Great and powerful? Recalling the original ‘Wizard of Oz’ [Photos]

Posted in: Books,Comics,Fans,Movies

Judy Garland portrays one of the most instantly recognizable characters in film -- Dorothy in 1939's "The Wizard of Oz." (Warner Bros/Associated Press)

This is how movies were publicized in the old days, via a lobby card: This one shows the stars of "The Wizard Of Oz" as well as scenes from the film. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

The film was nominated for several Oscars, including best picture. Here, Dorothy and Toto in Kansas. (Turner Entertainment / Warner Bros.)

Another lobby card for the film, this one showing one of the most famous scenes from the film, where Dorothy wipes tears from the eyes of the Cowardly Lion, played by actor Bert Lahr. (Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

"We're off to see the wizard..." (Sing along! You know the words) (Warner Bros.)

Warner Home Video digitally remastered the film for its 70th anniversary. Here, Dorothy and the gang are off to see the wizard, and following the yellow brick road in an image release as part of the DVD remastering. (Turner Entertainment / Warner Bros.)

Another image released as part of the digital remastering: Garland as Dorothy, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, and Lahr as the Cowardly Lion. (Turner Entertainment / Warner Bros.)

A closer look at the lion's whiskers. (Turner Entertainment / Warner Bros.)

The one and only Dorothy. (Turner Entertainment / Warner Bros.)

Members of the Lollipop Guild strut their stuff. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment / Graham Barclay / Photographer)

The Wicked Witch, played by Margaret Hamilton. (Graham Barclay / Photographer)

Here, the Wicked Witch conspires with one of her assistants. (Graham Barclay / Photographer)

Glinda the Good Witch, played by Billie Burke, waves her magic wand over Dorothy. (Warner Bros. Home Entertainment)

The dramatic showdown between good and evil. (Warner Bros.)

This image depicts the pivotal moment when the death certificate is presented. (MGM Photo)

L. Frank Baum (1856-1919), the prolific author behind the series that gave birth to the legendary film "The Wizard of Oz." (Apic / Getty Images)

Garland, as Dorothy, sings "Over the Rainbow," one of the most iconic songs in Hollywood history. It won the Oscar for song in 1940. It also won an Oscar for original score. (Warner Bros. / Associated Press)

And perhaps there is no more iconic memorabilia in film than these: Dorothy's ruby red slippers, on display as part of the Hollywood Costume Exhibition at the V&A Museum on Oct. 15, 2012, in London. (Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for The V&A)

“The Wizard of Oz” is one of the most beloved movies of all time, so it’s a bold move to try to step inside those ruby-red slippers.

Disney has done just that with its new film “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a prequel of sorts to the 1939 classic. Although reviews have been mixed, many agree that the Sam Raimi-directed film starring Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz and Mila Kunis, and James Franco as a con-man magician swept away to Oz, is visually stunning.

But no one would dare to say that “Oz the Great and Powerful” surpasses the original, even if they believed it, right? (That would be sacrilegious!)

We dug into the Los Angeles Times archives to bring you — above –some images tied to “The Wizard of Oz.” Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy, the film is the most watched movie of all time, according to the Library of Congress, thanks in part to the film’s many television showings.

“The Wizard of Oz” routinely tops favorite-film polls, and almost always has a berth on top 100 lists (if not in the top 10 or even the very top spot.)

The film’s signature song, “Over the Rainbow,” is considered the No. 1 song in film, according to the American Film Institute.

But why is “The Wizard of Oz” so popular?

Some would say it’s pretty obvious — it’s an entertainment romp with plenty of action and adventure, and flying monkeys.

Others, however, say the film continues to transcend time because of its not-so-obvious messages, intended or not. Psychology Today, for example, says the film reflects “enduring values” even as it “raises some provocative ideas“:  “One prominent theme revolves around the inadequacy of adults — their inability to live up to expectations and to face down the larger forces in life.  Adults, especially the good adults, are portrayed as powerless.”

What do you think? Why is “The Wizard of Oz” so enduring?

– Rene Lynch


Mila Kunis talks ‘Oz’

113 years in the land of Oz: A look back

‘Oz’: Robert Stromberg on Raimi, Burton, Baum

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