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Oz The Great and Powerful

This is just a guess, mind you, but I suspect that there is a juicily entertaining book to be written by some enterprising journalist on the history of Hollywood’s attempts to exploit the oeuvre of L. Frank Baum, creator of the land of Oz. Baum wrote 14 novels set in his fantasy land, designed as a setting where he could spin out American equivalents of the tales of the Brothers Grimm for modern children. (Dozens more books were written by other authors after his death in 1919.)


Biographer William Manchester called Douglas MacArthur “American Caesar,” but the title of the new movie Emperor, in which he’s portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones, doesn’t refer to him. That emperor is Hirohito, who reigned in Japan during the Second World War. Emperor is actually about the American occupation of the defeated Japan in the immediate aftermath of that war and an investigation of Hirohito’s possible guilt for its start and war crimes committed by the Japanese government.


Subtitled “One Year on the Front Lines in the Battle to Save Detroit,” Burn is one of what seems like an endless stream of documentaries exploring the problems of that beleaguered city, though even more so than films like Detropia, it uses the Motor City to explore problems that face the rest of the country as well, if not (yet) in such dramatic proportion.

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