MOVIE REVIEWS

Wizard of Oz

ADD TO MY FAVORITES
8/10 G 01 hr 52 min

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By Cat Ellington February 22, 2017

'Oh, Auntie Em, there's no place like home!'
— Dorothy Gale

There were two beloved and highly fabled films that my immediate family and I—while in the comforts of our home—never missed during the Easter holiday weekend of each year: The Ten Commandments (ABC), and The Wizard of Oz (CBS) - an unsurpassed duo of the most tremendously blessed movies in motion picture history.

Many a generational - both past and present - has already seen this musical masterpiece, whether in its original film format, or in its stage adaptation. And without a doubt, it will continue to amaze future generations. Iconic and mesmerizing, The Wizard of Oz (produced during the Great Depression era) is a classic on so many great levels: Screenplay; cinematography; set design; costumes; beautiful Technicolor; the award-winning songs of Herbert Stothart (score), and Harold Arlen & E.Y. Harburg (lyrics: the pair wrote "Over the Rainbow"); cutting edge special effects ... And superior performances. Yet another cinematic honoree in the Library of Congress National Film Registry, Langley, Ryerson, and Woolf's The Wizard of Oz is set in stone as one of the greatest efforts in motion picture storytelling to ever be released for general viewing ... Not to mention one of the most mimicked.

The cast includes: Judy Garland as our beloved and resilient protagonist Dorothy; Frank Morgan, starring in a quintet of roles: The Wizard, Professor Marvel, the Doorman, the Cabbie, and the Guard; Bert Lahr, in his memorable roles as both Zeke and the Cowardly Lion; Jack Haley as both Hickory and the Tin Man; Ray Bolger as both Hunk and the Scarecrow ... And let us not forget the legendary Margaret Hamilton, as both Miss Gulch and The Wicked Witch of the West. These, in addition to a second to none list of supporting players, make for one exceptionally performed ensemble. Outstanding creativity. Exquisite direction.

It was not my wish, as I composed this review, to go into detail (not even minorly) concerning the plot here, because, as I'd indicated earlier, many a generational has already witnessed this filmed phenomenon. And for me to have rehashed a summary of its plot would have been simply redundant.

Directed by Academy Award-winner Victor Fleming (Gone with the Wind), The Wizard of Oz will always have the authority to command my love, my admiration, my awe, and my fascination. Always.

Five out of five well-earned stars.

By John Chard January 28, 2017

Timeless classic still entertaining the masses as each generation comes in.

Dorothy is a young girl living on a Kansas farm, during a tornado, she, along with her dog Toto, is swept up and plonked down in a magical and mysterious land known as Oz. Desperate to get back home and under threat from a wicked witch, she is advised to seek out a great wizard who should be able to help her get back home. As she sets off and on her way she meets and befriends a wonderful array of characters whom also have something to ask of the fabled wizard, it's a journey that will prove to be both magical and fraught with danger.

The Wizard Of Oz is a film that has been pored over and dissected from almost everyone involved in the wonderful world of film. One thing that strikes me every time I view it is that their not only is no place like home, there is also no film like The Wizard Of Oz, and really, when all is said and done, there is unlikely to be another film of its ilk to ever grace the silver screen. Upon multiple viewings only the most biased of film fan could say that it is a technically perfect picture, it clearly isn't. At times it's a wee bit creaky and when scrutinised, some of the performances in the piece are far from an excellent standard, but crucially any misgivings are quickly erased due to the wonder of it all because the film has an ability to transport everybody who is watching into OZ alongside Dorothy.

The Wizard Of Oz appeals {and caters} to every demographic and pretty much any age group; adventure, meeting new friends, fears and trepidations, booming colour, songs to singalong with, and of course it's total point of homely values: The Wizard Of Oz stands up well 70 years later because it taps into all the emotions available to the human being, be it a young child spellbound on a first viewing, or an octogenarian couple of grandparents wistfully humming along to the tunes, it's a film that shouldn't be dissected looking for faults and hidden meanings, it's a film that should be loved and praised for the ode to fantastical whimsy that it so obviously is.

The film of course will forever be associated with its darling star, Judy Garland. Viewing now, and knowing what a sad life she would eventually lead, The Wizard Of Oz is a fitting picture on which to remember what a magical and wonderful performer she was, myself as a 14 stone lump of waning machismo, I have no shame in saying that as Judy sings Somewhere Over The Rainbow I melt and feel as tho I'm being sent spinning into another world, that's the power of the piece, as a sepia Kansas becomes the glorious colour of Oz, nothing else in my world matters, I'm in hook line and sinker.

There are many interesting back stories to the picture, with books galore available to anyone interested. Some notes that might interest you being: original castings to be W.C. Fields, Shirley Temple and Deanna Durbin, munchkins running riot, drunken cast members, sadness and suicides, and grizzled old pros fighting hard not to let Garland steal the picture. Well it makes for a great read, for sure, but what remains to this day is one of the most beloved pictures to have ever been made, for once in the pantheon of great cinema we have a film that is termed a classic, that actually deserves to have that tag. One of the great things about the advent of technology is that it can benefit old classic movies to make them better, for now we can view remastered editions of The Wizard Of Oz and appreciate even more what a great job the makers did. Keep your eyes on Dorothy's Ruby Slippers during the film and see how they are the sparkling important character that they should be, or take in the brilliant work of the make up crew, the tiniest of rivets on The Tin Man a testament to the brilliant work that goes into bringing magic to our lives. Get the newest copy you can and then see it on the biggest screen available to you because The Wizard Of Oz is a 10/10 movie: and then some.

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