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We're Off To See The Wizard Of Oz

Updated on April 30, 2010

"...Oh Auntie Em, there's no place like home," Dorothy exclaims breathlessly in the closing line of the 1939 MGM cinema classic The Wizard of Oz, this revelation coming after she has learned some serious lessons in a surreal world based more or less on the fantasies created by L. Frank Baum.
To their credit, MGM studios did mange to create in The Wizard of Oz a modern myth which remains popular because of the lasting value in many of its sentiments. Through the original movie version we are shown the daily dilemmas, in black and white, faced by Kansas schoolgirl Dorothy, who is told what to do by everyone around her. She is dreaming of going to the other side of the rainbow when a tornado swoops over the land. Her house is torn from its foundation and is pitched by the storm over the rainbow into Munchkin Land. Dorothy's world is no longer black and white, but Technicolor.

Her house lands on and crushes the Wicked Witch of the East. This elicits the vengeful wrath of her sister, the even wickeder Witch of the West providing the dark shadows which always accompany rainbows. But Dorothy has somehow received the protective power of the late witch's famous ruby slippers. The Munchkins hail Dorothy as a heroine, but from the moment she realizes that she's not in Kansas anymore all the girl wants to do is to get home.

Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, provides advice but no magical solution as she points Dorothy toward the Yellow Brick Road, reflecting Baum's original intentions upholding self - reliance as the most valuable answer to adversity. It's along this fabled highway that she joins up with her companions: the Scarecrow who wishes he had a brain, the Tin Woodman who wishes for a heart, and the Cowardly Lion who wants to be brave. Together they head for the Emerald City to implore the great Wizard for assistance.

The Wicked Witch dogs their every step with a variety of nefarious obstacles along the way until they finally meet the Wizard, who scares the wits out of them. He orders them to bring back the Wicked Witch's broomstick if they expect their wishes to be granted. Again self - reliance is the key to salvation.

Before storming the witch's foreboding castle, Dorothy is kidnapped, and her little dog too, by the flying monkeys. Her companions, led by the Scarecrow, sneak into the fortress, facing mortal danger to rescue the girl, and proving that they possess the very things they have been searching for all along: brains, heart and courage.

When they manage to outdo the Wicked Witch and return to present the broomstick to the great Oz as their part of the bargain, instead of granting their wishes, the Wizard is revealed to be a fake. He's a little man behind a curtain who's been putting on a special effects show of smoke and lights all along, underscoring the premise that nothing over the rainbow is ever what it appears to be. After being shamed by the Kansas schoolgirl, Oz figures a way to grant wishes to Dorothy's friends a diploma to prove the Scarecrow has a brain, a testimonial in the form of a ticking clock to prove the Tin Woodman has a heart, and a medal of valor to prove the Lion has courage.

Continued In We're Off To See The Wizard Of Oz Part 2


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    • quicksand profile image

      quicksand 7 years ago

      I like Judy Garland's song "Somewhere Over The Rainbow," although I never got to watch the movie.