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
In "The King of the Forest" song the "crown" the Tin-man makes for the Cowardly Lion by breaking the flower pot has a different jagged edge pattern then the one he is wearing in subsequent shots. 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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The Oz characters that Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Margaret Hamilton play are not actually listed in the cast list at the end; only their Kansas counterparts are. However, Billie Burke (who plays only Glinda the Good Witch) and Pat Walshe, who plays only Nikko, the Head Monkey, *are* listed in the closing credits as having played those characters. See more »
From 1968 to 1984, on NBC-TV and CBS-TV airings of the film, the film was edited to sell more commercial time. As the amount of commercial time on network television gradually increased, more scenes were cut. According to film historian John Fricke, these cuts started with solely a long tracking shot of Munchkin Land after Dorothy arrives there. The rest of the film remained intact. Also according to Fricke, more wholesale cutting of the film took place when CBS regained the TV rights in 1975. By the 1980s, the other excised shots included: the film's dedication in the opening credits, continuity shots of Dorothy and Toto running from the farm, establishing shots of the cyclone, the aforementioned tracking sequence in Munchkin Land, the establishing shot of the poppy field, and tiny bits and pieces of the trip to the Wicked Witch's castle. CBS, which had shown the uncut version of the film in 1956, and again from the films first telecast until 1968, finally started to show it uncut again beginning in 1985, by time-compressing it. Network airings in the 1990s were uncut and not time-compressed; the film aired in a 2-hour, 10-minute time period. See more »
The NBC Peacock began unfolding its wings. "The following program is brought to you in living color--with portions in black & white--on NBC." That exclusive intro began my exposure to color television at Grandma's in 1968. When Dorothy stepped out into Technicolor, I'll bet my eyes just popped.
This is the Movie of All Time, folks--a status achieved during its long run as a huge annual TV event during that classic era whose programs now show up on TV Land network. In the 1970s, Peter Marshall once read the answer on Hollywood Squares as to the program seen more times by more people than anything else ever shown on television. It was "Oz." Likewise, no movie has the hold on popular culture that this one does. What lion character ever since (i.e., Snagglepuss) hasn't been an impersonation of Bert Lahr going, "Put 'em up, put 'em uuuuup!"
Few musicals offer an equal combination of lovable music and engaging story. Perhaps "The Sound of Music." Hard to think of many Hollywood musicals where the story gets as serious as it does here when the Witch informs Dorothy that, "The last to go will see the first three go before her...and her mangy little dog too!" Yikes! In contrast, even the best of other Hollywood musicals seem to serve up fluffy, forgettable story lines that are mere backdrop to the song numbers that typically put the plot on hold.
I can't say that "Oz" doesn't have technical flaws or story element inconsistencies. It's just that the astonishing production values all around so overwhelm the shortcomings. The tornado sequence is a 1939 special effects tour de force--incredible. And the Nutcracker-quality musical score offers songs tastefully interwoven with the action. Certain numbers like "Merry Old Land of Oz," I never get tired off, though I like each of the songs.
Oz should be viewed in the lightness of spirit that it deserves. I mean look, we have Frank Morgan as the Emerald City gatekeeper, then seconds later as the cabbie with the Horse of a Different Color, then the Wizard's palace guard, and then the voice of fire-and-smoke Wizard of Oz who bellows, "Step forward, Tin Man!" What other film could put an actor go through 4 quick-changes within 10 minutes to such an endearing result? "Oz" is as magic as those sparkling ruby shoes.
The early Technicolor process utilized triple nitrate negative strips--separately recording each primary color in light. This was done due to the lack of a suitable "color film" in 1939. That would quickly change--but films from years following suffered from hues that faded with the years, even original negatives. Because "Oz" was actually filmed on a black-and-white base film, the negatives never faded. So now we have home videos/DVDs of breathtaking color quality. Now, the tinted filters in the cameras that separated the colors onto the negative strips meant that intense illumination was required, rendering the filming experience miserably hot for the actors involved, especially Lahr. But they all hold up amazingly well.
"Oz" has a valuable message. As the pop group America once said, "No, Oz never did give nothin' to the Tin Man....that he didn't, didn't already have." If we have truly search, we can find within us--or create through trial, like the Lion's courage--what we think we most lack. The Wizard (like the Lord) helps those who find help within themselves.
I feel sorry for the Almira Gulches who can't treasure this film experience. They need to visit the Emerald City to get their own ticking Testimonials and find their hearts.
Didn't bring your broomsticks with you? Well, I'm afraid you'll have to walk.
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