Next year will see the 75th anniversary of one of the all-time great films, The Wizard of Oz. Few films have had the impact or importance. When Dorothy opened up her Kansas farmhouse door to the world of Oz, she might have well have opened up the world of cinema to color films in a big way. The Wizard of Oz also told a fantasy story, even a children’s story, in a darker and much more intricate way than almost any film prior.
There have been several follow-ups or spin-offs to L. Frank Baum’s world, most notably Sidney Lumet’s musical The Wiz and the incredibly dark unofficial sequel, Disney’s Return to Oz. No film yet has had quite the spectacle, cast, or pedigree behind a Wizard of Oz follow-up as Oz: The Great and Powerful has. Not only is Disney basically banking on this being their next Alice in Wonderland, but the film is by Evil Dead and Spider-Man franchise director Sam Raimi, and features a huge cast that includes Mila Kunis, Zach Braff, and former Oscar nominees James Franco, Michelle Williams and former winner Rachel Weisz.
After a rough few years for Disney, with both animation projects and live-action films not going as planned, Disney has quite a lot riding on Oz: The Great and Powerful, their first live-action film since John Carter bombed. Before checking out Disney’s latest attempt at live-action greatness, and the prequel to one of cinema’s most famous stories, maybe check out some of these under-ranked films from the stars of Oz: The Great and Powerful.
The revered Japanese director Akira Kurosawa came into the world on this date, so here we go with: