Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
When a tornado rips through Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz. They follow the Yellow Brick Road toward the Emerald City to meet the Wizard, and en route they meet a Scarecrow that needs a brain, a Tin Man missing a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants courage. The wizard asks the group to bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West to earn his help.Written by
Margaret Hamilton, a single mother, got into an argument with the studio over guaranteed time to work, only agreeing to take the role of the Wicked Witch three days before filming. Ironically, although she finally got an agreement for five weeks of work, she ended up working on the film for three months. See more »
During the Cyclone scene when Dorothy approaches the fence the Cyclone can be seen in the background bearing down on the farmhouse. The scenes with Aunt Em, Uncle Henry and the farmhands show the Cyclone way off in the distance. Then when Dorothy goes up on the porch and enters the house the Cyclone in the background is once again very close, bearing down on the house. Then when the group is seen going into the storm cellar the Cyclone is still off in the distance. When Dorothy tries to enter the storm cellar seconds later the Cyclone is now very close in the background. See more »
She isn't coming yet, Toto. Did she hurt you? She tried to, didn't she? Come on. We'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em.
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Clara Blandick, who plays Aunt Em, Pat Walshe, who plays Nikko, and Toto are not listed at all in the opening credits, only in the closing ones. See more »
The original 1939 prints incorporated a "stencil printing" process when Dorothy runs to open the farmhouse door before switching to Technicolor; each frame was hand tinted in order to keep the inside of the door in sepia tone. The 2000 Warner dvd release uses this technique. See more »
In the fall of 2006, my husband and I saw a screening "The Wizard of Oz" that had a full orchestra providing the soundtrack. Never in my life had I seen a more eclectic audience: there were families with little children, adults who came alone (one woman was dressed as Glinda), teens and college students, even couples who had to have been in their '90s. Not to gush, but it's really a testimonial to "Oz"'s legacy that it can appeal to every generation, to every age. Like hot chocolate or Mickey Mouse T-shirts, "The Wizard of Oz" is something you never have to worry about being too old for. There is something so comforting about the familiar story of farm girl Dorothy's journey through the strange but wonderful land of Oz, and yet it remains a wonder to behold. I still get excited when Dorothy steps out her sepia-toned world of Kansas into the Technicolor Munchkinland, even though I learned ages ago how the trick was done. I'm still overjoyed when Dorothy makes another odd yet loyal friend along her journey (hmmm, a nice message of tolerance, too!). I still cry when Dorothy bids her friends farewell (Jack Haley in particular breaks my heart). I just want to yell at the screen, "no! Forget boring old Kansas, stay in Oz!"
Not only is "The Wizard of Oz" a charming, addictive classic, but it's one of the best-cast films ever. Putty-limbed Ray Bolger ("Some people without brains do and AWFUL lot of talking, don't they?"), over-the-top Bert Lahr (I haven't any courage at all, I even scare myself!"), and boyishly charming Jack Haley ("Now I know I have a heart, 'cause it's breaking.") are pitch-perfect in their respective roles as the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and the Tin Man. All three were vaudeville vets, and they infuse their roles with both theatrical shtick and warmth. Billie Burke is memorably twittery yet poised as Glinda the Good Witch, and who can possibly forget Margaret Hamilton's cackling, gleefully evil performance as the Wicked Witch of the West? Hamiltion's iconic, villainous image is so emblazoned in our minds, that it's easy to forget she was a former kindergarten teacher and future animal rights activist! As superb as the cast is, however, "The Wizard of Oz" belongs to the young Judy Garland. Garland makes Dorothy a very real character that we can all relate too, whereas any other actress would have made her one-note and whiny. She believably plays an ordinary girl in an extraordinary place, her lovely brown eyes wide with awe and wonder. And that singing voice! Long before Garland's voice became tinged with tremulous desperation due to age and hard living, the true beauty and purity of her voice comes through in "Oz". Garland sings "Over the Rainbow" so simply, without a trace of theatrics, and you're swept away just the same. It's spellbinding, seeing someone so young have the presence and talent to hold a movie in the palm of her hand. "The Wizard of Oz" will remain the ultimate escapist classic for generations to come, and it will always be one of my favorites. It's comforting, familiar, why... it's just like home.
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