In this age of reboots, remakes, and reimaginings, it’s not uncommon to hear the modern film fan wax nostalgic for an era of cinema when all the ideas were fresh and new. While there is certainly merit to the nitpicks of these proud protectors of celluloid, often the righteous few forget that some of the silver screen’s most audacious, genre-defining moments were actually remakes or reimaginings of previous works.
John Carpenter’s The Thing comes to mind, adapted from Howard Hawks’ The Thing from Another World. Also, David Cronenberg’s definitive body-horror epic, The Fly, which originally hit the screens in an earlier, safer incarnation starring Vincent Price.
But perhaps the most beloved and popular remake of all time is one that many people may not even be aware is a remake. Now, I don’t mean to cause any disenchantment here, but the hard truth remains that the gem of 1939 and perennial classic The Wizard of Oz is not the story’s first filmic representation, and to the shock of gays everywhere, Judy Garland is not the first Dorothy. While it is an inarguable fact that The Wizard of Oz is a groundbreaking entry into the world of motion pictures, and its place in history is well-earned, it is certainly not the first comer to the land of Oz. Hell, it’s not even second or third.