As a longtime fan of L. Frank Baum’s Oz books (I couldn’t read them fast enough growing up) people are always coming up to me asking what I think are the best of the various Oz related movies produced over the last hundred or so years. Because so many of the adaptations veer so far away from the original spirit of the thing, it is actually an easy task to assess. Here is what I’ve come up with, ranked in order of superb-ness.
(#1) RETURN TO OZ (1985). Walter Murch finally fulfilled Walt Disney’s long-held dream of bringing a Disney Oz film to the silver screen in this fantasy masterpiece. Ethereal Fairuza Balk is outstanding in this early role, and John R. Neill’s original book illustrations are faithfully brought to life in all their grandeur. My favorite movie to watch at Halloween time.
(#2) THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939). Victor Fleming really made something for the ages with this little number. Lots of vaudeville humor like L. Frank Baum would have wanted, and topnotch songs too. All the hype is well-deserved. A perfect movie from Hollywood’s Golden Age. Judy Garland is another breathtakingly lovely Dorothy Gale.
(#3) THE WONDERFUL LAND OF OZ (1969). Barry Mahon made a slew of kiddie matinee films during this time, and while he always worked on a shoestring budget (often filming his movies in children’s amusement parks to take advantage of the cool fairy tale sets) he actually pulled off a very faithful adaptation of the second Oz book “The Marvelous Land of Oz.” A forgotten gem fans of Ed Wood and Ray Dennis Steckler would certainly appreciate, and it actually has the famous Woggle-bug in it too! (a character often left out of film versions for some reason, even though he has always been one of the most famous Baum creations. Go figure).
Well, that’s all for now, and remember: Freedom Is Ink on The Page!
Hey everyone! Over the years I’ve really been blessed, big-time, with the opportunity to interview some of the unique artists I continue to greatly admire. Talk about inspiring circumstances! Well, now the tables have been turned! I’ve been interviewed! Can you believe it?
Check out the brand new Summer/Fall 2015 issue of Ocean County College’s OCEAN VIEWS magazine to read an interview with yours truly, as part of a super nice “Alumni in the Arts” feature that covers a hand full of OCC alum devoted to those exhilarating creative juices. A few of my works are even reproduced within as well. Yes, the topic was art (my favorite subject), and I hope it will be encouraging to others.
Here is the link:
Missing the Days When the Comic Book Industry Was Still Fun, Long Before Creators Got So Miserly Selling Their Kickstarter Indulgences18 Jul
What would the summer be like without a trip to the local cinema?
Celebrated the twentieth anniversary of seeing BATMAN FOREVER at the movie theater by going to JURASSIC WORLD (Hey, I can’t help it if there wasn’t a new BATMAN movie out yet). Excellent film! I rate it 5 plastic dinosaurs (which, given the current rate of exchange, equals out to 5 stars). Nice logical progression from the foundation of the first film; appreciated the science fiction (not just mindless action); and enjoyed all the minute details invested in bringing this immersive theme park to life. Got to catch part 2 and 3 on TV for the first time too, which added to the enjoyment. Really great bunch of films. Thank you Steven Spielberg (again).
What would the summer be like without a trip to the local comic shop?
As a long time SABRINA: THE TEENAGE WITCH fan, I was very excited about the prospect of a whole new comic book series hitting the newsstands. Major disappointment! The horror! (and not the good kind). While the art was very good in the first few issues that I took the time to peruse, detractingly the whole spirit of the work came off as oppressively gross, tasteless, and extremely mean spirited, especially given the sweet, positive, and sorely missed source material of comics legend Dan DeCarlo. It was my hope that ARCHIE was going to produce something classy and cool, like the Kim Novak/Jimmy Stewart classic BELL, BOOK, AND CANDLE (which seems to be the basis for the original DeCarlo character). That would have been a more mature treatment, while also retaining something of the original purpose and heart of the character. I am not adverse to the genre of horror, Vincent Price and Peter Lorre remain two of my favorite actors since childhood; but, as stated before, the new SABRINA seemed endlessly mean spirited, and never suspenseful.
There is a silver lining to all of this…I never have to buy it again (which I won’t). Thankfully, I also tried out a few issues of BATMAN ’66 which I was pleasantly surprised with and greatly enjoyed. From the Mike Allred covers (his MADMAN comics remain one of my all time favorite comic book works) to the fun stories and art, I think I’m going to be a regular reader. And with all the confusing continuity issues going on at DC right now, BATMAN ’66 seemed like the only legitimate Batman story I’ve read for a long time. Maybe it’s because I grew up on reruns of the old Adam West show in the early ’90s and it had more of a lasting impact than I had supposed. I certainly find that West/Ward universe infinitely more preferable and accessible than the current crop of “canonical” books.
Well, that’s all for now, and remember: Freedom is Ink on the Page.
Have a Happy 4th of July!