by Aljean Harmetz
Alfred A. Knopf
115 illustrations and photographs, 16 in color, $12.95
There’s nothing very deep here, just wonderful reading. It’s a play-by-play description of how Film No. 1060 was made in the days when Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer ground out movies by the dozens, shuffling writers, directors, and actors around like Parcheesi pieces. It’s fun to learn how they adjusted, readjusted, and re-readjusted L. Frank Baum’s book, how they plucked actors out of their stable, how they created a convincing tornado and menacing trees. MGM tried to borrow Shirley Temple from 20th Century-Fox to play Dorothy, and chose Judy Garland when they couldn’t get her. Judy, by the way, was the next-to-lowest-paid star in the film. Only the dog Toto earned less.