After my students have made their
Wizard of Oz
chapter presentations, I will show the film,
The Wizard of Oz
. It is at this time that I will ask my students to discuss the similarities and differences between the Baum’s book and the 1939 film. When my students look at how the book and the film begin they will notice that both begin with a cyclone. From this point differences begin to surface. In the film, the farm hands on Aunt Em’s and Uncle Henry’s farm become three main characters in Dorothy’s fantasy. Also, the film version introduces the characters who will portray
The Wizard of Oz
and the wicked Witch of the West, whereas in Baum’s novel the reader is only introduced to Dorothy, Aunt Em, and Uncle Henry. I think this would be a good point at which to have a discussion with my students concerning why it is often the case that when a book is made into a movie that differences will always occur. I intend to point out to my students that a book and film version of the book are usually created by different people, thus differences will naturally occur. Also, it is not possible to include every part of the book in the film, because there are limitations that film makers are subject to that did not inhibit an author.
As I continue my discussion with my students concerning the similarities and differences between the book and film, my students should see that even though differences exist, the main story line is basically the same. One aspect students should be made cognizant of, especially if they don’t make this observation themselves, is the fact that some events that both the book and film share include are presented at different times in the book and film, as, for example, when Dorothy meets the wicked Witch of the West for the first time. In the book this meeting does not occur until Dorothy goes to the Witch’s castle on the mission to destroy the witch, while in the film Dorothy meets the wicked Witch soon after her house falls on and kills the wicked Witch of the East.
Also, although the book and the film may both include certain events, the reasons why things occur are different. This can not be made more evident than by the example of the killing of the Wicked Witch of the West. In Baum’s novel, Dorothy throws the water on the wicked Witch because she is angry at the witch for not returning one of her silver shoes. In the film, Dorothy throws the water on the witch (inadvertently) while attempting to douse the fire with which the witch ignited the Scarecrow.
There is one more point that I hope my students will notice. This involves the Emerald City. In both the film and the novel, everything in the Emerald City is supposed to be green. In the film this green effect is created by the actors’ lines and when the film is finally colorized, while in the book this effect is created when the main characters and the people of the Emerald City wear green spectacles which are locked on their heads. One last difference that I wish to discuss with my students concerns the poppy field scenario. In the book only Dorothy and the Lion are affected by the poppy field fragrances and fall asleep. Their rescue is effected by the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Queen of the Mice, whereas in the film the Wicked Witch is the reasons why Dorothy and all of her friends failing asleep in the poppy field by sprinkling a sleeping potion into her crystal ball which fell over the poppy field. In this scenario their rescues is attributed to the Glenda(the Good Witch) causing it to snow which awakens the entire group.
There are some major differences between the book and film that I believe need to be highlighted with my students because my students need to understand that filmmakers have a tendency to change certain events and items found in the novel for technical and visual reasons. One is in the color of wicked Witch of the East’s shoes. In the book they are silver, while in the film they are ruby red. I do not think that the argument could be made that the silver shoes would be too blinding on film because the original film version was done in black and white. Another difference that I hope my students point out in the discussion is the fact that the book’s account of what happens with the Scarecrow, the Lion, and the Tin Woodman when Dorothy leaves to go home to Kansas differs drastically from that of the film. In the film
The Wizard of Oz
has the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Lion aiding one another in the ruling of Oz, bringing with them their individual strengths. However, in Baum’s novel, when Dorothy departs to go home to Kansas these three characters have a kingdom of their own over which they will rule. I believe this is due to the fact of that the film omits certain parts of Baum’s book. In my opinion, the omitted parts of the book that contribute to this are the chapters dealing with the Winkies and the one in which the Lion becomes the King of the Beasts. One other difference between the book and film that I wish to discuss with my students involves the talking trees. In Baum’s novel the trees are attacking Dorothy and the members of her group by trying to grab them, while in the film version there are talking apple trees that slap the hands of any one attempting to take an apple.
It is not my intention to list every similarity or difference, that exists between the Baum’s novel and the 1939 film version because there are just too many to list in a unit of this size. It is my hope that I have given the reader of my unit some idea of some of the types of things to look for when doing this part of the unit Even though I don’t think it is necessary to have each student read Baum’s novel(individually),l do believe it is necessary for the teacher to read Baum’s unabridged copy of
The Wizard of Oz