Saturday, February 25, 2012

Movie Critique: The Wizard of Oz

Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

In this charming film based on the popular L. Frank Baum stories, Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado's path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage.

Stars: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Burt Lahr, Margaret Hamilton.

Do you really think I would review The Wizard of Oz?

In my book, it's a Five Bucket Movie.. One of the classics.

Premiering in 1939, The Wizard of Oz was an annual favorite of my youth, showing on CBS often around the Christmas holiday season.

There's something totally different about the movie when you see it on the Big Screen. Fortunately I was able to do just that on Tuesday, February 14, at the Bad Axe Theater, Bad Axe, Michigan.

It was an amazing experience.  The lights dimmed and the movie rolled.  No previews, no cartoon, right to the movie. Just the roar of the Metro-Goldwin-Mayer lion and the opening credits.

I've seen this show so many times I know most of the dialog and all of the songs!

What I didn't expect were the things I would see on the big screen:
  • a small "crate" with the name Toto on the floor of Dorothy's bedroom as she sits crying after Miss Gulch takes her beloved dog away.
  • the amazingly-poor bald-head make up on the Lollipop Guild munchkins,
  • how you can see the Wicked Witch of the West drop into the stage as she departs from Munchkin land.
  • the string on the Cowardly-Lion's tail that rises up to a puppeteer above.
  • the teardrops on Dorothy's face as repeats, "There's no place like home, There's no place like home."
Of course some of the theatrical magic was lame! The Wizard of Oz was produced in 1939.  The use of sepia-tone for the scenes from Kansas while using vivid color film for scenes in Oz were cutting edge ideas.

I'm certainly not complaining about any of it.

The Wizard of Oz is, and always will be, a beloved classic movie to me.

Wizard of Oz Trivia:
The Tin Man role was originally was going to Buddy Ebsen, but due to allergic reaction from the aluminum powder makeup, Ebsen was taken out of the casting and Haley replaced him.

There was originally a scene where the Witch sends a pink and blue bug (known as the "Jitterbug") into the haunted forest "to take the fight out of "Dorothy and her friends." When the Jitterbug bit one of the characters, he/she would start dancing helplessly. This is perhaps the most famous deleted scene of them all, but the actual footage no longer exists. All there is left of the Jitterbug scene is home movies that the composer, Harold Arlen, filmed during rehearsals, and the sound track of the song.

Behind the scenes, deleted scenes. (10 minutes)

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I'm beginning to see a new meaning for the word "cinema" since that more defines the cinematic magic of the big screen. Well done, BNB!