Friday, February 19, 2010

Video Review: The Land Of Oz

As most movie buffs might know, Shirley Temple was up for the role of Dorothy in the original 1939 Wizard Of Oz movie, which of course went to Judy Garland instead. However, she eventually got the chance to star in an Oz-related production on her 1960s TV series, Shirley Temple's Storybook. This was run in black and white during its first season in the late 50s, and then in color in it second in the 60s. Each episode consisted of Temple along with an ensemble cast and playing out a children's story. The premiere episode of their second season had them doing an adaptation of The Land Of Oz, which was the first sequal to WOO.

This version has Princess Ozma(played by Temple)already in power as the ruling monarch. However, Nikidik, who outside of Wicked has never actually been shown in the books, is in this story a mean-spirited lord who wants to take over Oz. He hires the witch Mombi to entrance Ozma to coming to her, and turns her into the boy Tip with no memory of her former life. Most of the rest of the plot follows the original book with Jack Pumpkinhead and Sawhorse, although Jinjur's army of feminists is replaced with Lord Nikidik's troops, plus Glinda brings an army of toy soldiers to life and lifesize to take back the Emerald City.

This had a decent production value for a 60s TV show, and is very enjoyable to watch. Some of the puns might seem a little stale by today's standards, but if you still like the 1939 movie, then you shouldn't have problems with it. The detail to some of the characters is impressive too, like they're right out of the book, especially Mombi and Sawhorse. Aside from Temple herself, there is literally an all-star cast in it. Johnathon Winters is Lord Nikidik, Agnes Moorehead as Mombi, Sterling Holloway as Jack, and Mel Blanc as the voice of Sawhorse. This is currently on DVD with another episode featuring The Reluctant Dragon, and is for sale at Amazon.

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