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.
OSCAR winner for Best Musical Score, Best Original Song
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‘We’re off to see the wizard, the Wonderful Wizard of Ooooz’… A young and naďve farmer’s niece, Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), is whisked away by a ‘twister’ to Oz. Oz is a place which is in Technicolor and where unforgettable characters and a Wicked Witch live. Upon trying to find her journey home to Kansas, Dorothy meets the cheeky scarecrow without a brain, the savvy tin man without a heart and the endearing lion without courage. Along the yellow brick road, Dorothy also sings some of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written.
Frank L. Baum wrote the book, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Victor Fleming adapted the novel. Early on in his career, Fleming moved from camera assistant to cinematographer to director. Given this background, he was the ideal candidate to transform Frank L. Baum’s pages into an MGM film reel.
Victor Fleming neatly balances the eerie atmosphere with the fantasy aura. A slight tweak should have been made to mould the goody –two ruby slippers Dorothy into a human being with a bad and good side and to show the mix within her. However, Fleming does a wonderful job of introducing the rest of the cast.
The fully rounded characters are opened up and exhibited by the incredibly versatile actors. Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley embed their characters with precision and passion.
As stated, each of the three characters is missing an element. A brain, a heart, and the nerve are the elements. It is this that brings out the sympathy from the audience to Oz’s most beloved inhabitants. The empathy of escapism and bettering yourself and the sympathy works hand in hand in the film.
The film’s most heartfelt moment comes when Dorothy says goodbye to her new found friends and then sub-consciously taps into that ‘never want to wake up’ dream feeling. The script itself is very much like a warm bed and the film is the duvet, doing its job of giving you that cozy feeling.
The first act compared to the other two acts may be a struggle to watch. Although, pace-wise and compared to other films it is reassuring to see the first act clocking out within fifteen minutes. The style of the film is very (take a guess on the word I’m going to use) magical.
The time is 1939 and the special effects make a good go of it by stepping up to the mark of 2009’s special effects. Bearing in mind this was made before computers let alone computer generated images.
The only flaw is the predictable ending. The ending disobeys the absolute no, no of story and screenwriting. Although, adapted from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz book, this is excusable.
It’s family viewing all the way with this one. The songs deserve a category of easy listening and the film deserves a stamp of essential viewing. This isn’t just for Christmas, it’s for a lifetime.