Saturday, 25 October 2014

The Wizard of Oz



Book 20 of 2014 is from the BFI Film Classics series and is a review by Salman Rushdie of the movie The Wizard of Oz. I'd call this an essay, more than a book but my only criteria to satisfy something is a book is if it looks like a book and quacks like a book.

In 69 pages, Salman Rushdie reviews the movie The Wizard of Oz in a way that has changed, ruined and enhanced my view of it.

He does this as the first part of a series of essays commissioned for a project by the National Film and Television Archive in the UK. This was before DVDs and IMDB and was a way of deconstructing and reviewing 360 classic movies by great minds of the time. When Rushdie looked through the list, he chose Oz as one of his favourite places as a child and decided to write about this movie.

Like anything you love that is deconstructed and discussed, some of the magic disappears but Rushdie's passion for the film and shared discovered facts compensate greatly.

The thing I did like the most was finding that this essay inspired Gregory Maguire's Wicked. I love the Oz world and Wicked continued for me, as this essay has extended it for me.

At the end of this essay, the author writes a fantastical story about the futuristic auctioning of the famous and obviously magical Ruby Slippers from the movie. There is a great quote that seems quite apt in this time...

"We, the public, are easily, lethally offended. We have come to think of taking offence as a fundamental right. We value very little more highly than our rage, which gives us, in our opinion, the moral high ground. From this high ground we can shoot down at our enemies and inflict heavy fatalities. We take pride in our short fuses. Our anger elevates, transcends. 

Salman Rushdie. At the auction of the ruby slippers. 
In: East, West. Vintage, 1995."

I give this a brain, a heart and some courage out of 5. Yes, that's a 3.5.

Should I read this? Read this if you love The Wizard of Oz movie. It would mean nothing otherwise.
What did I learn? Toto was female and her name was Terry.

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