Wizard of Oz Better as Book or Film

However, this seeming recent trend actually has a long history. Examples of this exist as far back as the beginning of the film industry with Hollywood’s early interpretation of Tennyson’s poem Enoch Arden in 1911. Unfortunately, film representations such as this struggle desperately to provide an accurate recreation of text originally presented in novel form. The many fans of the Harry Potter series are fully aware that film, while interesting and entertaining in its ability to bring out certain elements of the story that might have been missed in the reading, can never duplicate the full depth and artistry of the novel. Yet translating book to film is not always fully detractive. Sometimes, film can add artistic elements that may or may not help to inform the meanings intended within the book. Because more recent films are able to dazzle with amazing special effects and digital imagery, it is better to compare a film of the past which was more limited to simply telling the story. To illustrate the differences between film and novel, then, it is helpful to compare something like Victor Fleming’s 1939 filmic rendition of Frank L. Baum’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz both in terms of medium and zeitgeist of the age in which each were made. Numerous differences exist between the film and the novel, many of which can be said to be minor but which also tend to generalize significant details of the book. Clearly, the film is limited in its ability to tell the story because of time constraints. While the novel could be as long as it needed to be to properly tell the story, the film is limited to two or three hours at most before it starts losing the interest of the audience. It is for this reason that the more specific details of the book are lost within the film. However, the film adds additional components such as sound in the form of music and voice. This creates a stronger emotional draw than just reading the words. Throughout the film, the actors are also able to provide a greater sense of personality as they carry thoughts and emotions through facial expressions and actions rather than simply in narration. Some changes were made purely as part of the zeitgeist and change of medium, such as changing the silver slippers from the book to ruby red slippers for the film. This change was made to take advantage of the new color film technology that was then being introduced in Hollywood and used as a distinguishing feature between Kansas and Oz. Changes in wording, such as transitioning from the Tin Woodsman found in the novel to Tinman in the film are reflective of the changes in language that took place between 1900 England and 1937 America. However, even such a small change causes the story to lose some of the artistic wordplay present in the book. While these are all small changes, larger changes are also present. In both presentations, book and novel, the story begins in a gray and drab Kansas, but this depiction is quite different between the two mediums, again reflecting changing zeitgeist. In the book, Dorothy and her family are quite isolated to the point that Dorothy can see nothing but the great gray prairie on every side. Not a tree nor a house broke the broad sweep of flat country that reached to the edge of the sky in all directions (1-2). In the film, Dorothy is not quite as isolated as she is first seen making her way home from school along a dirt road on which she is able to interact with several other members of her community. Dorothy’s house has also been changed from the simple four walls, a floor and a roof described in the book to a comfortable frame house in the film in which Dorothy has her own room indicating the family exists in a comfortable middle class