Oz in the News 3.13.13

yip-harburgYip Harburg: A Lyricist For The Ages  During his 84 years on the planet, Yip Harburg contributed brilliant lyrics to some of the finest melodies of the American popular song canon. Most of his songs were originally written for Broadway shows or Hollywood musicals. Finian’s Rainbow is probably his most popular stage work, but he’s best known for working with composer Harold Arlen on music for The Wizard of Oz, a collaboration which won them an Oscar for “Over the Rainbow.”

Wizard of nightmares: Five traumatizing moments from ‘Wizard of Oz’  Oh, we all wanted the Wicked Witch to get killed, no question about it. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a little jolting to see her slowly sizzle and melt into the ground, screaming all the while. More than a few of us felt the same way about water when Mom insisted we take a bath, so we could relate.

Movie review: Support your local wizard in ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful’  Thing is, several of the movie’s attempts at grand illusion fall short of the mark, the biggest culprit being James Franco himself. His Oz is too meta, too self-aware, and winkingly deprecating that it stands out like a gossamer thread in a levitation act. You can choose to ignore this since the story pacing will carry the day, but it’s relatively more than a minor problem since he’s in 90 percent of the scenes. Whenever he fake-real smiles it’s like white lint on a thespian black dress.

Take Two review: Wizard loses some power in new ‘Oz, the Great and Powerful’  James Franco is an Oscar-nominated actor with many talents, but passing himself off as a carnival charlatan from Kansas, is not one of them. The problem here is that Franco, unlike Morgan is too 21st century in his demeanor, speech and mannerisms. What was needed here was an actor with the same charm, and ability as Frank Morgan to carry an entire film and be believable as the character he’s trying to play.

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