‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block

Above, an early version of a script to the movie ‘The Wizard of Oz’ being kept in the vaults of the Smithsonian’s American History Museum. (AFP)
Updated 08 November 2018
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‘Wizard of Oz’ draft scripts head for auction block

  • The first three original draft screenplays, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft
  • ‘It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history’

LOS ANGELES: A collection of draft scripts for “The Wizard of Oz” and other material from the archives of the 1939 film are going up for auction in December and could fetch up to $1.2 million.
Los Angeles auctioneers Profiles in History said on Thursday four handwritten draft screenplays by Noel Langley were being sold.
Langley, who died in 1980, was one of about a dozen screenwriters who worked on the big screen adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s children’s book that catapulted Judy Garland to fame and became an enduring movie classic.
Langley’s first three original drafts, dated between April 5 and May 14, 1938, are being sold alongside a fourth draft of the screenplay, written by Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, and a fifth draft from August 1938 by Langley.
“It is the single most important manuscript in Hollywood history,” Brian Chanes, head of consignment at Profiles in History, told Reuters.
Chanes said the more than 150 pages of handwritten manuscript notes and pages were “the genesis of ‘The Wizard of Oz,’” tracing its development and changes from first draft to the final version.
Some 16 photos of special effects, including the tornado sequence that transports Garland’s Dorothy from Kansas to the magical land of Oz, will be included in the single lot.
The archive is being sold by an anonymous private collector who bought it years ago from the late Los Angeles memorabilia collector, Forrest J. Ackerman, Chanes said.
Profiles in History put an estimated sale value of $800,000 — $1.2 million on the archival material, which will be auctioned during its Hollywood memorabilia sale in Los Angeles from Dec. 11-14.
Langley, Ryerson and Woolf all received credits for the screenplay when the movie was released in 1939, but several others also made uncredited revisions and contributions.
“The studio assigned a number of script writers and each scriptwriter did not know the other was working on it. The others kind of fizzled out,” Chanes said. “Noel Langley is the one that really set the stage.”
“The Wizard of Oz” won just two Oscars — for its music — after it was released in 1939 but went on to become one of the best-known musicals in Hollywood history. In 1989, it was among the first to be preserved by the National Film Registry.


A starry night at the 40th Cairo Film Festival

Updated 21 November 2018
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A starry night at the 40th Cairo Film Festival

CAIRO: The stars of Arab cinema walked the red carpet at the opening of the 40th Cairo International Film Festival on Tuesday night and there were plenty of glittering gowns on show.

Orchestrated by Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy, who at just 43-years-old is said to be the youngest president the festival has seen, the Cairo Opera House-based event was attended by stars from across the Middle East and North Africa.

Set to run from Nov. 20-29, the festival opened with the regional premiere of Peter Farrelly-directed comedy drama “Green Book,” starring US actors Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali.

The festival will include 16 world premieres and screenings of 160 films from 60 countries.

Meanwhile, on the red carpet, Egyptian actress Nelly Karim and Tunisian star Dorra Zarrouk looked glamorous as they posed for photographs on Tuesday night.

Karim wore a black leather dress by designer Mohanad Kojak, while Zarrouk wowed onlookers with an opulent design by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad. The black ballgown was embroidered with golden flowers and leaves and also featured a daring high split.

Egyptian actress Nelly Karim wore a leather dress on stage. (AFP)



Seven Egyptian films will be screened during the festival, including “Leil Khargi” (External Night) — a film that will compete for the coveted Golden Pyramid Award.

The other Egyptian films on the itinerary are “Garemet Al-Immobilia, “Ward Masmom” (Poisonous Roses), “Kilo 64” and “La Ahad Honak” (The Giraffe).

Other films set to be screened at the festival include “Heaven Without People,” a provocative film that is the debut feature-length work of director Lucien Bourjeily; “Laaziza,” in which Moroccan writer-director Mohcine Besri tells the moving story of Laaziza, a troubled mother who is faced with the difficulty of welcoming back a man who once rejected her and “Fatwa,” which explores radicalization and its horrors.

Egyptian actress Sherine Reda took to the stage. (AFP)



The festival’s jury committee is headed by prominent Danish film director Bille August, who has received the Cannes Film Festival’s Palm d’Or award twice.

The festival has also added a People’s Choice Award for the first time in its history, with the prize money amounting to $20,000 for the film that gets a majority vote from the audience. A new award entitled “Best Arab Film,” with prize money of $15,000, has been added to this year’s festival as well, according to Al-Ahram newspaper.
Signs of a revamp in the festival include the attendance of executives from such international powerhouses as HBO, Netflix, France’s Gaumont, Participant Media and Middle Eastern players OSN, Front Row Distribution, New Century Productions and Aroma Studios.