Saturday, 6 November 2010

THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)- review

Director: Victor Fleming
Producer: Mervin LeRoy
Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley
Year: 1939

Victor Fleming's musical fantasy film The Wizard of Oz is a journey to a magical colourful world, an escapism from the financial difficulties (Great Depression) America was going through during that time. It is considered as a children's film yet under the bright colours and capturing songs there are some hidden messages within it.  'The Wizard of Oz is one of a very few shared experiences that unite Americans as a culture, transcending barriers of age, locale, politics, religion, and so on. We all see it when we are young, and it leaves an indelible mark on our imaginations. We can hardly imagine not knowing it. It ranks among our earliest and most defining experiences of wonder and of fear, of fairy-tale joys and terrors, of the lure of the exotic and the comfort of home.' Apart from its strong symbolism for the political and financial issues of that time (late 1930's), The Wizard of Oz is mostly known to the audience for its great special effects with the use of technicolour, the second major colour film and the most widely used color motion picture process in Hollywood from 1922 to 1952.
The vibrant colours of this fantasy world plays a major role for the movie as it's a great contrast to the Dorothy's world Kansas in America, a dull black and white world she wishes to leave behind and start a journey to fairytale land.  'After all, who wouldn’t, like Dorothy, want to leave black-and-white Kansas farmland, where the people are lovely but they just don’t understand you, and try your luck in the jolly old land of Oz, where life is lived with the magically fervid intensity of three-strip Technicolor? ' Emerald world could be described as an an Eden, a care-free world where you can leave your problems behind and become a child once again. It could be regarded as a symbol of a hope fora better future America was anticipating for.
This world is packed with unforgettable characters such as the squeaky munchskins, the Wicked Witch and of course the lion, the scarecrow and the tin man who are basically Dorothy's lovable relatives as caricatures. It seemed like the whole film was based on Dorothy's desires on how she wanted her own world to be where her family was taking place as well. Despite living her dream Dorothy wishes to go back, a kind of feeling that  exposes our childhood anxieties of abandonment. The repeating  phrase 'There is no place like home!' indicates the film's tendency to support the people during that time and and make them believe that their 'home' will soon be confronted with better days.
'Of course, there's more going on in Oz than just that. At the core of the story is a theme that speaks to children and adults in similar, yet different, ways. Dorothy's dream may be to travel to a far off land, but, when she finds herself there, all she wants is to go home - to a place where she's safe, loved, and warm. This is a dilemma that all children face - the desire to cut the apron strings balanced by the overpowering yearning for the comfortable and familiar. As adults, we can watch The Wizard of Oz and fondly remember our own pilgrimage from childhood to adulthood and how, in many ways, it mirrors the one Dorothy is taking.'



  1. Great review, Andriana - you've nailed the tone, and those quotes are 'killer' - it's very clear to me that you're working hard on this aspect of your degree studies - and it shows. If you could see me typing, you'd see my 'happy face'... :D

  2. it's very encouraging to hear that thank you! i've been gradually changing my reviews and I am happy i've reached a satisfying stage :)