The Wizard of Oz (1939)


‘Toto, i have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’

Victor Fleming’s iconic musical produced by AGM tells the story of Kansas girl Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) who finds herself transported to the land of OZ by a twister. Her farm house lands in munchkin land where she is greeted by the inhabitants (munchkins) and Glinda the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke) who hail her as a heroine as the house landed on the Wicked witch of the East (signified by a pair of slippers from under the house). The Wicked Witch of the West (Margret Hamilton) arrives to claim the slippers, but they appear on Dorothy’s feet instead. she swears revenge on the girl and Glinda tells Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road’ (que the song) where she will find the Wizard of Oz and return home.

To help her on her quest are The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Tin man (Jack Haley) The cowardly  Lion (Bert Zahr) and of course her adorable terrier Toto (Terry the dog, who had her fair share of appearances in Hollywood movies). After many perils and defeating The Wicked Witch, they arrive at Emerald city to discover the Wizard is just an ordinary, middle aged man. (Frank Morgan) He then reluctantly agrees to give them all their rewards ‘a a brain, a heart, courage and to go home.’

After Toto chases a cat when they are about to board the wizard’s hot air balloon the group are left in the Emerald city. Glinda arrives and tells Dorothy that she can click her heels together three times and say ‘there’s no place like home’. (This is the part I don’t get, after all they’ve been through, she could’ve just told her at the beginning). Dorothy says goodbye to her friends, and then transports herself home and wakes up back in Kansas. And basically, like the best films it turns out to be all a dream and the friends she made in OZ were actually the people she knew on the farm.

This film has been one of my favourites since I was a little girl. I always love the contrast of the dull black and white mise en scene and the Technicolour of Oz (old world of cinema vs colour) and the superb soundtrack and catchy songs. Yes, the backdrops and scenery look a bit fake but it still has its merits. My Grandma (who is nearly 86) remembers it being released when she was a little girl and it being in every magazine etc.

It is also a source of many quotes of much American popular culture and is based on L Frank Baum’s 1900 novel of the same name.

A heart is not judged by how much you love; but how much you are loved by others


My rating: 4/5

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