The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz was made in 1939 by Victor Fleming for MGM Studios.  The story of the Wizard of Oz follows Dorothy Gale played by Judy Garland.  Dorothy lives in Kansas with her Uncle Henry and Auntie Em on a farm.  One day Dorothy discovers that her small dog Toto bite the evil neighbor Miss Gulch played by Margret Hamilton.  Miss Gultch gets an ordinance from the state to have Toto removed from Dorothy’s care.  This action by Miss Gultch greatly upsets her and the dog is taken away.  Eventually by some miracle Toto escapes and finds his way back to the farm.  Dorothy decides to run away and a traveling magician tells her that if she continues running away she will break the heart of her Aunt Em.  Dorothy grows a conscience and returns to the farm but not before a tornado knocks her unconscious and transports her to the Land of Oz.  The rest of the story should be left for the audience to discover.

The Wizard of Oz is one of the first movies to demonstrate Technicolor in its full glory.  The film stands the test of time in the minds of most critics because it reminds us there’s no place like home and that we are not in Kansas anymore.  The Wizard of Oz works for me because Judy Garland who plays Dorothy displays such a playful innocence that it is extremely difficult not to root for her.   Dorothy is struggling to return home throughout the movie blissfully unaware that she never left it.  I love that Judy truly grows to love herself and her companions throughout this picture.  In the beginning of the film she sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow in search of a place that will keep her out of trouble on the farm, but what I really believe she is wishing for is a place where she can be understood and heard.  This is something all humans feel especially in their youth and possibly one reason this film is so identifiable to children.  At some point, children all feel like Dorothy searching for a place where they can be heard and surrounded by people who understand them.  Upon watching this film recently I discovered that just by sticking with Dorothy throughout her journey the scarecrow, lion, and tin man already exemplified the very definition of the qualities they hoped to receive from the Wizard.  The qualities the companions ask for are all coincidentally things that help determine a person’s humanity.  Does someone have intelligence, do they care for others, can they be courageous?  All of those things teach children what it means to be good in this world.

The Wizard of Oz is a timeless classic because it asks us to believe in our dreams but also to believe in who we are and what we can be.  The sets are cheap and the backgrounds are painted but to those of us with an imagination, Oz is an entirely new world populated with endless possibilities.  The truth is we all need to go there sometimes no matter what our age may be and this film helps us believe in what is possible for ourselves if we travel over a rainbow.

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