Classic Film Review: The Wizard of Oz
Ashleigh Dean / 11-05-2018
Some movies will remain well-known classics forever and “The Wizard of Oz” is no exception. Released in 1939, the Hollywood musical tells the story of a young girl trying to find her way back home. From striking cinematography to amazing musical performances, the film is a beautifully stunning example of why classical Hollywood is something to be missed.
“The Wizard of Oz” is one of those films that can only be described as unique and almost ahead of its time. When you begin watching the film you think to yourself that it’s “just another film shot in black and white” which is perfectly normal for the decade it was made. However, unexpectedly, the audience alongside Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) are transported to the magnificent Land of Oz - a world of pure colour and imagination. The transformation quite literally blew everyone away.
However, as amazing as the final product was, to say that the making of it was a bigger storm than the one that hit Kansas would be the understatement of the century. The production had four different directors. One got fired (Richard Thorpe); two got swept away for the making of “Gone with the Wind” (George Cukor and Victor Fleming) and finally, King Vidor was brought in to finish the job. Victor Fleming, however was the only credited director after the film’s initial release. It wasn’t just the directors that had problems, though. The original Tin Man was allergic to his makeup and had to be replaced by Jack Haley after landing in hospital; Margaret Hamilton’s fiery exit as The Wicked Witch promptly backfired after suffering second and third degree burns; Fleming slapped garland in an attempt to make her take a scene seriously and “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” nearly didn’t make the cut. Many months of filming and the set of “The Wizard of Oz” ended up being more dramatic than an episode of “EastEnders”, but all the drama and disaster paid off in the end.
The cast gave some wonderful performances that can be spotted from the get-go. Kicking off the musical numbers with the well-known track of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” Garland hits us right where we live until, suddenly, we’re not in Kansas anymore. Moving into the colourful and merry old Land of Oz, we’re met with the iconic characters of the Lion, the Tin Man and the scarecrow. This trio of side characters add something simply amazing to the journey down the Yellow Brick Road. Every musical number within the film is very well placed and, with a special nod towards Toto the dog, it’s safe to say it was perfectly cast. Whilst the cast are the stars of the show, the costumes, makeup and set designs also add something spectacular to the story.
“The Wizard of Oz” teaches us of the importance of home, family and friendship and it’s a beautifully heart-warming film that will forever be relevant within contemporary society. Teaching children and adults alike to never forget where you come from, the film is something that audiences will always come back to. After all, there is no place like home.
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