My husband had never seen the movie Mary Poppins. His favorite movie from childhood is The Wizard of Oz, so we made a deal to watch both of them together (on separate nights). The film was released in 1939 and is rated G.
I was probably a teen the last time I saw Dorothy (Judy Garland, 17 years old at the time the film was made) whirl away from Kansas and land in the magical world of Oz. I was babysitting a little girl, and she became quite frightened. Not enough to turn it off, however.
I enjoyed the sepia tones of the cinematography at the beginning of the movie. The main characters are introduced, including the three hired hands, Dorothy’s dog Toto, Auntie Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charley Grapewin), and of course the wicked Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton, also the Wicked Witch of the West) who rides away on a bicycle with the very scruffy and not at all pretty Toto.
Dorothy never gets dirty on her journey, not one bit, even when she tips over into a pigsty. The crew should have paid more attention to this mistake. The story is cute, and the colorful world of the Munchkins a sight to see. Their world is all quite plastic looking, and magical to Dorothy as is Glinda, Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke). Dorothy sets off on her journey, following the yellow brick road in hopes that the Wizard will be able to get her back to Kansas. Along the way she meets the Scarecrow who needs a brain (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) who would like to have a heart, and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) who just wants some courage.
Her red shoes are really smart. While at the Smithsonian in Washington a few years back, I saw those red shoes, and they do indeed sparkle. The music and singing in the film are superb. This film introduced songs that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. There are many memorable quotes from this film, and many memorable songs. The Wizard of Oz won Best Original Song at the Academy Awards for Over the Rainbow, as well as Best Original Score.
A quote not often repeated, but that I loved is, “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others,” so speaks The Wizard.
No one interested in film can get away without seeing this movie. Even though it didn’t win Best Picture, it’s a really great film (lost to Gone with the Wind). The story is good, the journey of people on a quest to find the all-powerful wizard, who turns out to be wise, but not exactly the savior they expected.
The film previewed in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin on August 12, 1939 at the Strand Theatre. I like including this as I am originally from Wisconsin. There is a memorial in this small town that commemorates The Wizard of Oz world premiere.