The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - The True Story

Radio Times
Review by:
David Crawford

The Oz books of L Frank Baum were the Harry Potters of their day, a publishing phenomenon all the more remarkable for the fact that it was spread by word of mouth. This meticulously researched film looks at the man behind the books, behind the screen. It paints Baum as the embodiment of the American Dream; a peripatetic entrepreneur whose schemes often ended in disappointment, but who refused to be crushed by failure.

A host of historians, and Baum’s great-grandson and daughter, draw out the scenes of social upheaval and Baum’s family life that fed into The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. For such a fascinating subject it’s a treatment as dry and grey as a Kansas farmstead - but there’s always Baum’s wonderful life, the books’ vivid illustrations, and Judy Garland singing Over the Rainbow to hold the attention.

About this programme

Documentary exploring the career of L Frank Baum, the author and film director whose desire to write an American fairy tale resulted in the creation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Material from Baum's family archives tells the story of his life, while still photographs and clips provide an insight into the film adaptations of the book.

Cast and crew


Anne Macgregor