Everyone is familiar with the film The Wizard of Oz and Dorothy and Toto and her three friends. It is a story from writer L. Frank Baum that has delighted generations of viewers, again and again. It has gone from plain black and white to amazing Technicolor.
Well, the new film After the Wizard, which is available on DVD August 7 from Breaking Glass Pictures, re-imagines the story and tells the tale in reverse. After the Wizard reveals an Emerald City that isn’t quite the place of dreams and yellow brick roads, and it seems that the city has gone to hell in a hand basket—probably the same basket from the hot air balloon that was used in the original The Wizard of Oz. The place is described as one where everyone tries hard to be selfish throughout the day and at night laments over their shortcomings as far as not having thought of only themselves as much as they could have. The Wizard has absconded with all the riches, leaving the inhabitants to fend for themselves.
These circumstances could be a metaphor about what has gone on in contemporary society, where hopes of the American dream have burst, with crime slowly eating away at what’s left of a civil society.
Now the story isn’t so idyllic, and After the Wizard is about a young lady and her trip from Kansas to Oz and back. This time the story is told from the perspective of a 12-year-old girl named Elizabeth (Jordan Van Vranken) who is stuck in an orphanage in Kingman, Kansas, but whose friends, the Scarecrow (Jermel Hakia) and the Tin Woodsman (Orien Richman), come looking for her to take her back to a destructive, disenchanted Oz. Elizabeth firmly believes that she is Dorothy and has been deemed delusional by the headmistress (Helen Richman), and plans are being made to have her committed to another restrictive facility.
But one day Elizabeth reveals that the Tin Woodsman and the Scarecrow are there—sans the Lion, because he was too afraid to get on the hot air balloon on the way to the train station to their final destination ofKansas
While on the train, the pair run into a blind old man who has answers to all of their questions. Since they are not from modern times and are amazed that the old “philosopher” knows the story of Dorothy, Toto and Oz, they are convinced that their lonesome traveler must be the Wizard.
Through their travels to reach the orphanage, they are assisted by many other locals who know very well who they are and are more than happy to point them closer to Elizabeth, the young girl whom they know as Dorothy.
They believe in their hearts, well the Scarecrow at least—since the Tin Woodsman doesn’t have a heart—that Oz is a messy place and if only they can bring Dorothy back with them, then the Emerald City will be better.
It is a great, magical movie with a modern day Tin Woodsman and Scarecrow who are so out of place in the world and Kansas where they have no clue as to what’s going on. They are thrown together on a mission to find Dorothy. In the end, however, with a tornado looming, they realize when they do that Dorothy no longer has a place in Oz. She decides that it’s best for her to remain at the orphanage. This is a tough pill to swallow for the trio, because all they know is that they should stick together for better or worse, as they did when Dorothy originally saved them from the evils of Oz. But things are destined to get better for Dorothy, as she is not the only one to realize that she hasn’t lost touch with reality. The headmistress also finally admits that the fantasy that Elizabeth had been living all along—where she thought she was Dorothy—isn’t unhealthy, after all.
Breaking Class Pictures has done it again with a great movie that the entire family will enjoy.
After the Wizard is available on DVD August 7. Visit www.BreakingGlassPictures.com for more information.