Sunday, March 3, 2013
Oz the Great and Powerful and the China Country!
By now, we all know that next Friday will be the nationwide premier of Disney's newest movie, Oz the Great and Powerful. Anticipation runs high among the Oz community as we wonder how certain parts of Oz will be portrayed.
China Country is a good example of what I'm speaking of.
In The Wonderful Wiki of Oz, which I have found to be an excellent source of accurate information on Oz, China Country is described as follows:
"The China Country is an enclave hidden in a forest in the Quadling Country of the Land of Oz. It is surrounded by a high wall made of china.
The floor of the China Country is smooth and white like the bottom of a big platter. Many china houses are scattered around, painted in bright colors, the tallest reaching only as high as a little girl's waist. There are also china barns with china fences and little animals made of china. The people are shepherds, shepherdesses, milk-maids, princesses, and clowns all made of china. Everything in the China Country is prone to breaking and, although there is a mender's shop, one is never as pretty after being mended.
The china people move and talk and live freely in their own country, but if they were to leave, their joints would stiffen and they could only stand and look pretty on a mantle shelf or drawing room table."
This description is taken from L. Frank Baum's original novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900) and gives us a view of just how imaginative the Royal Historian of Oz (that's L. Frank Baum's official title) really was. The illustrations are by W.W. Denslow, who only illustrated Baum's first book for reasons that shall remain untold today. It would take a while to explain and I'm just talking about China Country today.
As you can see, Baum and Denslow have a fantastic idea for how China Country citizens look. I'm just glad my son Halley hasn't seen this image. He has a mortal terror of clowns. Why? I haven't a clue...
One of the things that annoy me most about reprints of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is that so much is usually left out, including China Country, the Kalidahs and the Queen of the Field Mice. Of course, in the 1939 MGM The Wizard of Oz film, none of these things are mentioned either, though it is understandbale given the technology of the time.
From the clips and stills from Oz the Great and Powerful, we do see that China Country plays a big role in the film. This pleases many of us Oz folks.
Fortunately, there is another Oz film coming out this year in which the China Country is also a major part of the film.
It is called Dorothy of Oz and is based on a fine Oz book of the same title by Roger Baum, great grandson of the original author, L. Frank Baum. His take on China Country is wonderful and I look forward to the release of this movie as much as I do for Oz the Great and Powerful.
It is a good year for Oz!
James C. Wallace II
Royal Liaison to Oz