So for the first time in my life I read The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, which was published in 1900 after being written a few years before. This article is not about if the the Wizard of Oz movie is better that the Wonderful Wizard of Oz book; this post is about the differences between the original book at the 1939 MGM movie that we’ve all seen countless times.
The character’s origins and background info is detailed in the book and ignored in the movie, but that is to be expected from a book to movie adaptation. And, yes, I understand that the MGM movie had a different creative teams and a bunch of scriptwriters. I shouldn’t have been surprised about the differences, but there were so many major differences that I was totally shocked.
Without judgement or opinion, here is a listing of the differences between the Wizard of Oz movie and the book.
In the book-
- Dorothy is an orphan.
- Their house is very small- just one room.
- There is no cellar, just a trapdoor in the middle of the house floor which led to hole in the ground.
- There are no trees or other houses around the farm.
- Aunt Em and Uncle Henry had a hard life and never laughed.
- THERE ARE NO FARMHANDS- Hunk, Zeke, or Hickory.
- THERE IS NO MISS GULTCH.
- There is no Professor Marvel.
- There is no Toto being misbehaving plot.
- The cyclone just comes and Dorothy and Toto are too late to go down the trapdoor.
- Dorothy DOES NOT HIT HER HEAD and have a dream- the cyclone REALLY takes the house away and transports Dorothy and Toto to another place.
- The Good Witch of the North is NOT Glinda; Glinda is the Witch of the South. The North Witch kisses Dorothy to protect her from all evil.
- The Munchkins were not midgets or dwarfs, just smaller than regular adults.
- The Wicked Witch of the East had Silver Shoes, not Ruby Slippers.
- Dorothy is greeted by three men and the Witch of the North.
I’m pressed for time right now, so to list the biggest differences besides the tale NOT being a dream:
1- The Wicked Witch of the West is just in one chapter and is simply an obstacle to overcome as opposed to the centerpiece of the story.
2- Oz himself has many different illusions.
3- The Tin Woodsman was originally a human.
4- The death of the Wicked Witch of the West is in the middle of the book, and the Scarecrow isn’t even there.
5- Dorothy’s journey is much longer, and the team gets separated at times.
6- Oz wants Dorothy to kill the Wicked Witch of the West as opposed to bringing him her broomstick.
7- The Flying Monkeys weren’t evil; they were under control via a magical Golden Cap. Dorothy actually gets the cap and controls them.
8- Everyone wears emerald glasses in the City of Emeralds so everything looks green (another scheme by Oz).
9- Dorothy and friends fought more monsters and visited different cities, such as a city made entirely of china.
10- The Tin Woodsman used his axe to kill 40 wolves sent by the Wicked Witch of the West.
11- Then the Scarecrow broke the necks of a bunch of crows she sent.
12- Toto isn’t responsible for everything and doesn’t have the super-intelligence he has in the movie (he accidentally moves the screen Oz is hiding behind as opposed to detecting the scheme).
13- Dorothy is like 11 or 12.
If you’d like to read some more differences you can follow these links. They don’t list EVERYTHING, which I will do one day, though.
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