|Deleted "The Wizard of Oz" Footage|
|Promo shot of The Wicked Witch's death.|
Although it remains the most famous and successful adaptation of L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to this day, production was a bit of a nightmare. With a total of five directors, a plethora of footage was shot that was either scrapped or cut out of the film after preview showings.
Norman Taurog - Summer 1938In July 1938, MGM announced that they had tapped director Norman Taurog, who had a reputation of guiding young performers, to helm their upcoming film adaptation of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Working on the film during the extensive wardrobe and makeup tests for the summer of 1938, Taurog was paid for three-days of directorial work for the project, most likely for test shots performed in July-August. During the first week of September, however, Taurog was reassigned to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, which would be released on Febuary 10, 1939, and replaced by Richard Thorpe.
Though some pictures from the set have survived, the test footage shot by Taurog is presumed lost.
Richard Thorpe - Fall 1938
After Taurog quit, MGM brought in director Richard Thorpe to work on the film. According to the book The Wizard of Oz: The Official 50th Anniversary Pictorial History, Thorpe "had a reputation for bringing in pictures on budget and on schedule, which must have been a real attraction as the studio watched preproduction costs mount on The Wizard of Oz."
On October 13, filming began on the MGM Studios lot, and continued for a total of nine days. The scenes filmed included Dorothy and the Scarecrow's first encounter in the cornfield and various sequences in the Wicked Witch's castle. After an on-set mishap caused the production to shut down, producer Mervyn LeRoy reviewed Thorpe's footage and decided that it lacked the childlike wonder and innocence the production needed, and that Thorpe was rushing the production. Thorpe was subsequently fired. As a new director was saught out and hired, director George Cukor took over while waiting for his next film, Gone With the Wind, to begin filming. Staying with the film for less for a week, he was brough on to help shape the film.
All footage from his reign was scrapped, and like the Taurog footage, is presumed to be lost. Two notable aspects of the Thorpe footage include...
The Original Dorothy
Under Thorpe's reign as director, the makeup and costume designs for Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and the Wicked Witch differed from what they would be in the final film. Though subsequent changes to the Witch's and the Scarecrow would be fairly minor, Dorothy proved to be another story.
Under studio direction, Garland wore a long, blonde wig, heavy, "baby-doll" makeup, and a blue cotton pinafore with a blue poka-dot border, and directed to be played in an exaggerated fashion.
After Thorpe was taken off the production, Cukor had her makeup and wardrobe altered, and gave her a more naturalistic look. He also told Garland to play Dorothy more down-to-earth, to remember that she was "just a little girl from Kansas."
The Original Tin-ManOriginally cast as the Tin-Man was MGM contract player MGM Buddy Ebsen. After he recorded all of his songs as the Tin Man, he started filming. However, on the Tenth day of filming, he left production because of an allergic reaction to the aluminum dust used in the Tin Man makeup. One of his songs recorded as the Tin Man, "If I Only Had a Heart", still survives and is included on the 2-CD Deluxe Edition of the film's soundtrack of 1995. Apart from that, no full footage of Ebsen as the Tin Man has ever been found or released.