The Wizard of Oz (1939)

PG   |    |  Adventure, Family, Fantasy


The Wizard of Oz (1939) Poster

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.

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  • Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Jack Haley in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Jack Haley in The Wizard of Oz (1939)
  • Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz (1939)

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Reviews & Commentary

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User Reviews


27 September 2004 | Snow Leopard
Still Has Its Magic
Judy Garland's portrayal of Dorothy, Dorothy's oddball Oz friends, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and the rest of this fine production of "The Wizard of Oz" have lost little of their magic over the years. While it has become oddly fashionable in recent years to deride this kind of classic, innocent fantasy, the movie itself has aged very well, and it is likely to retain an appreciative audience for some time to come.

There's no doubt that part of the appeal of the story and the characters comes from them being such old friends to so many cinema fans, but there are also good reasons why they have endured for so long, and have been able to hold up even after becoming so familiar. Although Dorothy is not a particularly complex character, she represents an innocent but deep yearning that is easy to identify with. Likewise, the 'Oz' characters are bizarre enough to remain interesting, but there is a core of substance that again is easy to believe in. Who does not feel that he or she could use at least one of the things that Dorothy's friends want?

The adaptation from the original story is done quite well, making fine choices for the characters and episodes that would work on film. The settings and visual effects may not impress the devotees of today's computer imagery, but in their time they certainly demonstrated a great deal of skill and planning, and even now, in their own way they are more believable than are most of the computer tricks that have become so overused.

The popular story has also been used for a number of more recent adaptations, and some of them have had some good points of their own. But this Wizard remains by far the most wonderful of the versions of the classic tale.

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film started shooting on 13 October 1938 and was completed on 16 March 1939 at a then-unheard-of cost of $2,777,000 (approx. $48 million in 2016 dollars, adjusted for inflation). It earned only $3,000,000 ($51.8 million in 2016) on its initial release.


Quotes

Dorothy: 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.


Goofs

When Dorothy is helping to oil the Tin Man, she grabs onto his arm and shows that the "tin" arm is quite flexible.


Crazy Credits

As in some other M-G-M musicals of the '30's and '40's, the heading "Musical Program" appears at the top of the card listing all the music credits (arranger, composer, lyricist, conductor, choreographer, and so on).


Alternate Versions

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 Munchkinland, 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.


Soundtracks

Scherzo in E Minor, Op. 16, No. 2
(1829) (uncredited)
Written by
Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy
Played by The MGM Symphony Orchestra conducted by Herbert Stothart
Heard as background music during the scene in which Toto escapes from the Witch's castle and runs to fetch Dorothy's three friends

Storyline

Plot Summary


Synopsis (WARNING: Spoilers)


Genres

Adventure | Family | Fantasy | Musical

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