Saturday, May 14, 2016

Anne Hathaway reads "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz"

Four years ago, Audible released a collection of famous actors reading classic books. One they highlighted—and certainly of interest to Oz fans—was Anne Hathaway (now known for Les Miserables, The Princess Diaries, The Devil Wears Prada, Interstellar, and Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland) reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.

The number of audio book versions of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are not in short supply. Searching Audible reveals several abridged, unabridged and dramatized versions, and there are many more not available through Audible. The book has been public domain for sixty years now, and we've had vinyl records, audio cassettes, compact discs, and now digital audio formats to release recordings of the story to. So, even though I think Anne Hathaway is a great actress and fantastic talent, it wasn't exactly a priority to check out another one of these. (Particularly since Audible's monthly plan can be tricky to get out of, although it's not required to purchase their audiobooks.)

Not long ago, I had an offer for two free Audible titles, and decided to finally get Anne's version of Oz. It took me some time to listen to it, but I finally did.

The recording is simple and straightforward. Unlike other audio books, there aren't attempts to add music or sound effects to liven up the proceedings. It's just Anne reading the book. However, it's a good reading. Anne reads at a gentle pace, running under four hours. (Other unabridged versions run from about three and a half to four and a half hours.) This is absolutely one you could let your kids listen to chapter by chapter for a bedtime story.

Being an actress, Anne puts on a different voice for each character, keeping them charming. Dorothy is a nice sounding child, the Scarecrow is a little gruff, the Tin Woodman sounds calm, while she does a bit of a Bert Lahr tribute for the Cowardly Lion. Her Wicked Witch is wicked, her Glinda is good, her Wizard has a drawl to his voice, Omby Amby sounds like a drill sergeant, while her Jellia Jamb sounds a little German. I liked her Queen of the Field Mice, she sounds posh and trilly.

Overall, Anne does a great job with this, and that is what makes me recommend it if you're looking for an unabridged audio book version of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and aren't satisfied with the free versions from sites like Librivox or a previous one you may have heard.

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