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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Opinion | TOM KEANE

Backward backstory

‘Oz’ indulges in the stereotype that women are malleable

It was all the wizard’s fault. The Wicked Witch of the West — the green-skinned, hook-nosed, flame-throwing nightmare of children everywhere — would never have been wicked but for a man. Poor, weak-willed woman: Others, not you, determine what you shall be.

Such is the message of “Oz the Great and Powerful,” a new movie that presents itself as the backstory to “The Wizard of Oz. The book and the 1939 movie recount the story of Dorothy’s confrontation with a wicked witch. The new film tells us how the wizard first made it to Oz and for good measure explains how the witch turned wicked.

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