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The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Updated on May 16, 2014

Pink Floyd's "The Dark Side of the Moon" (Warning: Contains Adult Language)

The Wizard of Oz

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Mervyn LeRoy, Norman Taurog, King Vidor

Writers: Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf, Noel Langley, L. Frank Baum, Irving Brecher, William H. Cannon, Herbert Fields, Arthur Freed, Jack Haley, E.Y. Harburg, Samuel Hoffenstein, Bert Lahr, John Lee Mahin, Herman J. Mankiewicz, Jack Mintz, Ogden Nash, Robert Pirosh, George Seaton, Sid Silvers

Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Margaret Hamilton, Charley Grapewin, Pat Walshe, Clara Blandick, Terry, The Singer Midgets

Synopsis: Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

MPAA Rating: G

Note: In honor of the recently released "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return", and the currently in development remake of "The Wizard of Oz", I've taken it upon myself to review ever film adaption on Baum's book series based on Oz; with the notable exception of TV shows and mini-series because there's simply too much of it.

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Stevennix2001's Rating:

9.1 / 10

Pros:


- Great songs that are timeless and catchy

- Excellent costume and makeup designs

- Great visual effects for it's time period

- Memorable characters that are fun to hang out with

- Great villain

- Excellent cinematography and pacing

- Unique concept of having the real world be portrayed in black and white, while showing Oz in full color to illustrate how magical it is.

- Unique set up having it to where Oz might've been a dream the whole time

Cons:


- The special effects are dated by today's standards

- Some of the characters are a bit one dimensional, but it's forgivable.

Somewhere...over the rainbow....

If someone had told me that I'd end up reviewing this movie someday, then I never would've believed it. Although "The Wizard of Oz" is a timeless classic, there's really not much I can say about it that most audiences don't already know. I mean what do you say about a classic film that has been seen by countless people for generations? A film that still continues to impact our society and culture even to this day? And most of all, what can I say that would give this movie any kind of real justice? The short answer to all these questions is...I can't. The film simply speaks for itself.

Sure, the visual effects are obviously dated by today's standards, but the story itself has a timeless feel to it. A certain magic that instantly makes you feel like a kid again. The songs are still memorable even to this day, and the lyrics are very catchy. Sure, the movie is a bit overly simplistic for it's narrative, but that's part of it's charm.

Like most of my readers, I too grew up watching this film a lot as a child. In fact, it was one of the earliest movies that I've ever saw as a kid growing up. The story is said be based on a series of books, by L. Frank Baum, about a young girl named Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), who lives on a small farm in Kansas. Her family is poor, and simple in their ways. The film starts off in black and white like most movies were around 1939, but she gets whisked away into a fantasy world known only as Oz.

In this world, it's filled with various magical creatures that defy the imagination of it's audience. However, due to a series of events, Dorothy finds herself in possession of magical ruby slippers that make her the target of the evil Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton). Now, she must venture down the yellow brick road to seek the counsel of the great and powerful Wizard of Oz if she wants to return home. Along the way, she befriends a cast of colorful characters, as she soon finds herself in an adventure that she will not soon forget.

It's been said that some of these characters represent various aspects about society, during the World War II era. The Scarecrow allegedly representing the clueless government. The Tin Man representing the heartless military and etc. And who really knows? Perhaps there's some truth to those symbolism, or it could be nothing more than a mere coincidence. Either way, you have to appreciate how clever this film was put together for it's time.

The fact that movie chooses to shift to color the instant it shows Oz to differentiate the real world (that's portrayed in black and white), from the fantasy colorful world of Oz was a stroke of genius in itself; hence making the fantasy world of Oz all the more appealing.

And, you have to admire how the story is set up to where it could be easily explained as being nothing more than a dream, while it could of actually happened as well. It's an interesting concept to say the least.

The makeup designs, sets, costumes, and visual effects are stunning, as you can tell "The Wizard of Oz" was way ahead of it's time. Plus, the acting wasn't that bad either. Sure, it can be a bit cheesy, but it's not meant to be taken too seriously. "The Wizard of Oz" is simply a fantasy story for the viewer to get lost in, and enjoy seeing the characters. It's not supposed to have a deep narrative for us to think about the same way we get from watching "A Clockwork Orange" or something along those lines.

Unfortunately, some of the characterization is a bit weak in this movie. However, it never ruins the film, as they're definitely likable enough to where you'll want to revisit them again upon each viewing. Not to mention, Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch character still continues to be one of the most iconic movie villains of today.

To be honest, it's hard to really bash this film for anything. Sure, there are certain aspects to it that are dated by today's standards like the visual effects, the characterization and etc. However, the memorable characters, songs and atmosphere more than make up for a lot of it's follies.

In the end, I'd say "The Wizard of Oz" is worth checking out in any format, as it's a timeless classic that deserves to be watched for generations.


The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of "The Wizard of Oz" game (Warning: Contains Adult Language, and Disturbing images. Parental Discretion is Advised)

© 2014 Steven Escareno

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    • Stevennix2001 profile imageAUTHOR

      Steven Escareno 

      3 years ago

      Hmm you do bring up a good point. To be honest, that's one of the reasons why I prefer "Return to Oz" over the original because at least with that one, it leaves it up to the viewer to decide whether or not Oz was real, or just a figment of Dorothy's imagination.

    • Breanne Ginsburg profile image

      Breanne Ginsburg 

      3 years ago

      The only thing I don't love about The Wizard of Oz is that in the end, it's all a dream. I've kind of always thought it would be cool if Oz was a real place, though I guess that ruins the moral of the story. I think that because I think it would be cool if Oz was real in the movie, is why Wicked appeals to me so much.

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