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Early draft script of The Wizard of Oz by Noel Langley

(MGM,1939) Original and complete 96pp MGM script dated August 8, 1938, by Noel Langley.This is a complete script draft as issued. There are no pages missing, and it is marked “Oz Sequence”. This very famous draft script of The Wizard of Oz is stamped boldly in numerous places on the cover “DO NOT MAKE CHANGES”. It dates very close to the shooting script for the Technicolor scenes, which would go before the cameras under Richard Thorpe in September, 1938. Five weeks or so were spent filming under Thorpe – specifically the Scarecrow Cornfield scene and the Witches Castle sequence – before everything was scrapped, the script re-written and costumes, sets and make-up changed. It appears that the Kansas scenes have been developed to a great degree as the “West Witch” is referred to as “Miss Gulch” in some of the descriptions – and therefore the decision to have that character appear in both sections has been made. This was one of Langley’s major contributions in the script writing process – giving Kansas counterparts to the Oz characters. Considering the history of the filming of this production, this script is very close to what Thorpe would have been using as a shooting script, as the Kansas scenes appear to have been thought out, but not finalized, since they were to be filmed last (in March, 1939). The script was still in major development. The following are some interesting and unusual differences with this particular draft of The Wizard of Oz as compared to the final theatrical release: The entire tornado sequence is written out in descriptive detail, very close to how it was filmed. The script starts with Dorothy in the house looking out the window at the things floating by during the tornado. Page three is indicated at the bottom, “Med shot, int. front door – Full Technicolor.” The decision has been made to start the Technicolor reel here, as in the final film. The door was painted a sepia-shade, and a black and ochre gingham dress (which has subsequently been found and sold at auction) was dressed on a stand-in to make this shot appear sepia, and when the door opens, color is revealed and Judy Garland steps into the frame wearing the blue and white gingham dress. The songs are in place in this script, and the lyrics for the Munchkinland sequence are presented almost as in the final film (using much of song writer Yip Harburg’s material, who also contributed to the script writing). A reprise of the lyrics to “Over the Rainbow” are in the opening of this Munchkinland scene, which of course does not appear in the shooting script or in the final version of the film. The Good Witch is called the “North Witch”, and is here described as a plump older lady – so perhaps Billie Burke did not figure in this draft. There is a Rainbow that leads Dorothy from her house into Munchkinland, which is not in the final film. The “North Witch” does, however, appear in a bubble. Page 13 – the Ruby Shoes appear. Although much of the dialogue in the Munchkin scene is similar to the final film, much is different. “Off to See the Wizard” is not indicated as the song that leads her down the yellow brick road. The dialogue for the Scarecrow’s scene is very different from the final film, though this was the very first scene shot both under Thorpe and weeks later under new director Victor Fleming. This indicates that the script Fleming would shoot was much different. The song “If I Only Had a Brain” is present,with the lyrics. As Dorothy and the Scarecrow leave the cornfield, they do so accompanied by a song that is still referred to (as in all earlier drafts) as “The Marching Song”. The Apple Tree scene is similar to the final script, as is the Tin Man sequence, including the cut sequence where bees come out of him. His song is intact, and as they go down the Yellow Brick Road, they say “To Oz”, and then “The Marching Song”. The Lion and Poppy Field sequences are fairly well developed with the “Lions song” and the “Omnificent voices” coming out of the poppy field, with lyrics in place. In the Emerald City, the song “Merry Old Land of Oz” is indicated, but the lyrics are not present, and the script is written more in outline form at this point. On page 46 after “Wash and Brush Up”, the song “We’re Off to See the Wizard” is mentioned for the first time. Of course, the song does not appear in the film during this scene.“King of the Forest” is quite similar to the final film, although with different dialogue. The dialogue for the introduction to the Wizard is also different. The dialogue in the Witches’ sequence is quite different, and the “Rainbow Bridge” idea leading the character from the Witches’ Castle back to the Emerald City, an idea which was abandoned, is still present. Crocodiles are indicated in the Witches’ moat around her Castle. The reprise of “Over the Rainbow” in the Witches’ Castle, which would be recorded and filmed on the set, is not indicated. The script takes us right up to Dorothy chanting “There’s no Place Like Home” as she leaves Oz, and her Technicolor world, behind. Slight bend to the first few pages starting at the cover (with small tear) to the first few pages at the very lower left bottom edge. A few chips at the top of the front cover, and a few chips at the outer left edge of the back cover. There is no presence of bad yellowing, tears, or marks throughout the script, and no insect or water damage. Overall, the script remains in very good condition, and is a nice, clean all-original example. A wonderful and historically important artifact from The Wizard of Oz. Estimate $6,000 – $8,000

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