The Wizard of Oz (1939) – Victor Fleming (King Vidor, George Cukor, Mervyn Leroy and Norman Taurog – uncredited)

 

The next title in the family genre of the Great Movies – 100 Years of Film book was too good to pass up. I mean how do I turn down the opportunity of pulling out my blu-ray copy of The Wizard of Oz and throwing it on for the evening?

There has been so much written about this film over the years, and there has been so much said about the classic songs, the wonderful transition from sepia to gorgeous Technicolor and the wonderful costume and set design that brings the wonderful dream worlds of Oz to life.

Based on the Oz stories by Frank Baum, Dorothy (Judy Garland) is on a journey of self-discovery and the realization that she carries home with her all the time, even as she helps her friends, the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) discover the things about themselves as well, as they seek out the Wizard (Frank Morgan) for help.

It won’t be an easy journey however, even with the help of the Munchkins, as Dorothy, Toto and company have made an enemy of the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton)…

The iconic characters, the beautifully shot film… At this point it has become so engrained in the consciousness of society to even speak the name is to elicit the nostalgia of the generations who have viewed it and taken it into their hearts.

In fact, I’m well aware that there is nothing new I can say about this film, it’s been done, all I can share is my own experiences with it…

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I remember first seeing it when I loved on CFB Borden. I seem to recall watching it once a year there, when it would air on television (for some reason I think it was around the Christmas holidays). I remember being scared of Mrs. Gulch as she transformed into the Witch outside of Dorothy’s window during the twister sequence. Looking back, I think it scared me, because it scared Dorothy, there’s nothing truly frightening in the moment, unless you count the terrifying cackle and the uproar of strings from the soundtrack…

But that moment was always pushed to the side, and I could rest easy, and surrender to the awe of the film again, when the door would swing wide, and Dorothy stepped out into that brilliantly colored world…

That’s still one of the most amazing moments in film as far as I’m concerned.

I, sadly, don’t watch this film once a year anymore, and as I viewed it I couldn’t imagine why I didn’t. It has stood the test of time, as only the best films do, and is still an absolute joy to watch, and sing along with. And those amazing songs by Edgar Harburg and Harold Arlen…

What a classic and beloved film… I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it, but it’s always a joy to settle in and take that trip one more time… over the rainbow.

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