The Making of The Wizard of Oz

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Chicago Review Press, Oct 1, 2013 - Performing Arts - 360 pages
“Fantastic.”  Gore Vidal, New York Review of Books “Grand.”  Ray Bradbury, Los Angeles Times “Definitive.”  Salmon Rushdie, The New Yorker “A fluent, incisive and fair history of life in Hollywood during the golden age of films.  The author seems to have talked to everyone with knowledge of what went on at MGM in its heyday. . . . Marvelous.”       Publishers Weekly   From the ten scriptwriters at work to the scandal headlines of Munchkin orgies at the Culver City Hotel to the Witch's (accidental) burning, here is the real story of the making of The Wizard of Oz. This richly detailed re-creation brings alive a major Hollywood studio and reveals, through hundreds of interviews (with cameramen, screenwriters, costume designers, directors, producers, light technicians, and actors), how the factory-like Hollywood system of moviemaking miraculously produced one of the most enduring and best-loved films ever made.   We watch it happen--the bright, idiosyncratic, wildly devoted MGM-ers inventing the lines, the songs; flying hordes of monkeys through the sky; growing a poppy field; building the Emerald City (and 60 other sets); designing and sewing the nearly 1,000 costumes; enduring the pressures from the front office; choosing the actors.   Here is Oz, a marvelous, unprecedented experience of studio life as it was lived day by day, detail by detail, department by department, at the most powerful and flamboyant studio Hollywood has ever known--at its moment of greatest power.   Aljean Harmetz is the author of The Making of Casablanca, On the Road to Tara: The Making of Gone with the Wind, and other books.    


1 The Studio 1938
2 The ScriptS
3 The Brains the Heart the Nerve and the Music
4 Casting
5 The Directors
6 The Stars and the StandIns
7 The Munchkins
8 Below the Line
9 Special Effects
10 Accidents
11 After Oz
Notes on Sources
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About the author (2013)

Aljean Harmetz is the author of The Making of Casablanca, On the Road to Tara: The Making of Gone with the Wind, Rolling Breaks and Other Movie Business, and a novel, Off the Face of the Earth. She lives in Los Angeles. Margaret Hamilton was an actress best known for her portrayal of the malevolent Miss Almira Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West in the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

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