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Oz Before the Rainbow: L. Frank Baum's the Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Stage and Screen to 1939

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Swartz reminds us in that various stage and screen dramatizations of Baum's story preceded and influenced the 1939 film. This richly illustrated book contains many rare photographs, film stills, sketches, theater programs, and movie advertisements from the different productions.Piecing together the Chicago and Broadway stage productions (1902-3) from contemporary reviews, Swartz reminds us in that various stage and screen dramatizations of Baum's story preceded and influenced the 1939 film. This richly illustrated book contains many rare photographs, film stills, sketches, theater programs, and movie advertisements from the different productions.Piecing together the Chicago and Broadway stage productions (1902-3) from contemporary reviews, surviving script pages, and published song lyrics, Swartz shows how Baum and his many collaborators worked to transform the book into a popular theatrical attraction -- often requiring significant alterations to the original story.


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Swartz reminds us in that various stage and screen dramatizations of Baum's story preceded and influenced the 1939 film. This richly illustrated book contains many rare photographs, film stills, sketches, theater programs, and movie advertisements from the different productions.Piecing together the Chicago and Broadway stage productions (1902-3) from contemporary reviews, Swartz reminds us in that various stage and screen dramatizations of Baum's story preceded and influenced the 1939 film. This richly illustrated book contains many rare photographs, film stills, sketches, theater programs, and movie advertisements from the different productions.Piecing together the Chicago and Broadway stage productions (1902-3) from contemporary reviews, surviving script pages, and published song lyrics, Swartz shows how Baum and his many collaborators worked to transform the book into a popular theatrical attraction -- often requiring significant alterations to the original story.

38 review for Oz Before the Rainbow: L. Frank Baum's the Wonderful Wizard of Oz on Stage and Screen to 1939

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    As the only book-length work to examine the 1902 stage "extravaganza" of The Wizard of Oz, Swartz's Oz Before the Rainbow is an invaluable tome for any scholar or enthusiast who is interested in this much vaunted but rarely examined adaptation of L. Frank Baum's classic story. Most books, going back Michael Patrick Hearn's The Annotated Wizard of Oz, have been content to provide a few pages on the subject, along with a couple of promotional posters and the occasional mis-captioned photo. The she As the only book-length work to examine the 1902 stage "extravaganza" of The Wizard of Oz, Swartz's Oz Before the Rainbow is an invaluable tome for any scholar or enthusiast who is interested in this much vaunted but rarely examined adaptation of L. Frank Baum's classic story. Most books, going back Michael Patrick Hearn's The Annotated Wizard of Oz, have been content to provide a few pages on the subject, along with a couple of promotional posters and the occasional mis-captioned photo. The sheer weight and number of Swartz's source provide a validity that has simply been lacking up to this point. Over the first half of the book, he very carefully describes the development, production, and numerous changes to the show, focusing (but not isolating) its original 1902-06 run. That material, frankly, is invaluable, and if that's all the book provided, I would still recommend it. Swartz's book doesn't stop there, though. The second half is concerned with the pre=1939 silent Oz films, especially Larry Semon's 1925 comedy. Some of this material, especially that relating to the Semon film, is fairly thorough. Other sections, however, feel underdeveloped - perhaps inevitably, due to the lack of surviving materials. The brief section on Baum's 1908 Fairylogue and Radio-Plays doesn't tell me anything I didn't know before, and in this age of YouTube, Swartz has little to say about the 1910 Selig film that I can't ascertain in a few minutes on the internet. (And that is, perhaps, ungenerous in hindsight; Swartz's book is from 2000, before we all realized that you would be able to find nearly everything on YouTube.) At very least, it makes the book feel lopsided - after all, almost 150 pages has been devoted to the stage musical, with less than another 150 to consider another half dozen projects combined. Perhaps more directly worthy of criticism is Swartz's attempt to frame everything in a mythopoetic context. His rundown of "theories" relating to Baum's original novel is a perfectly reasonable tangent in the prologue, but when he starts discussing the symbolism of the Selig and Semon films, it all starts to feel a bit ludicrous. As the book clearly has its origins in a doctoral dissertation, and claims at least some pop academic relevance, the presence of this kind of analysis was probably inevitable. By and large, though, it feels unnecessary, especially alongside the more journalistic aspects of the text. Whatever its minor shortcomings, this is likely to be the most thorough treatment we ever see of the 1902 extravaganza (as well as, I would wager, the 1925 silent comedy). And unlike any of the described silent films, most of us will never be able to experience the stage musical, its skits or songs - no, not even on YouTube. Swartz's book belongs on any enthusiast's shelf, and it would be hoped that as archives open and more and more lost films are found, there will be some addenda that helps to supplement the obvious limitations of the volume and its sources.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    This was not the light historical read I was expecting, but a very dense, slow, repetitive academic text. Recommend for stage historians, not for casual readers.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alan Wise

  4. 5 out of 5

    Peg

  5. 5 out of 5

    Alex Giorgio-Rubin

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monica:)

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alyssa Brown

  8. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Long

  9. 4 out of 5

    Gem

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alex Giorgio-rubin

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

  12. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  13. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  14. 4 out of 5

    Scott

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty Niven

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ricky

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ash Miller

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laurence

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

  20. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  21. 5 out of 5

    Martin Johnson

  22. 4 out of 5

    Martin.johnson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  24. 4 out of 5

    BookDB

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bill C

  27. 5 out of 5

    Laura

  28. 4 out of 5

    Katie

  29. 5 out of 5

    Katrina (Polly Paperclip)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  31. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

  32. 5 out of 5

    Maura Gerrans-Ortiz

  33. 5 out of 5

    A

  34. 5 out of 5

    Koramay

  35. 5 out of 5

    Jeff

  36. 4 out of 5

    David

  37. 4 out of 5

    John Dumas

  38. 4 out of 5

    Angel

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