Classic Review : The Wizard of Oz (1939)
“If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with!”
Back in the 1930s to late 1950s, there were many fairy tales made into a movie. Like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Cinderella. Most that I know was animated films, produced by Disney. The Wizard of Oz (1939) was one of the movie who was made during the era. A musical, fantasy and adventure film about a young girl named Dorothy (Judy Garland), wasted to a world called Oz, where she met new friends; The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Tin Man (Jack Haley) and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) along her way to meet the great Wizard of Oz.
Dorothy wants to meet the Wizard to ask him the way she could go back to her hometown, Kansas. Scarecrow wishes to ask him for a brain, The Tin Man wants to have a heart and The Cowardly Lion requests for a courage. Their adventure often disturbed by the Wicked Witch of West (Margaret Hamilton) who hated Dorothy for making her sister dead.
There’s something really joyful watching The Wizard of Oz, like fairy tales did. Warms your heart, filled with kind friendly characters and also really wise. Dorothy basically a kind and innocent girl, who worry a lot. Attached to her dog, Toto. She always opens up to a new friend, in this case the friends she met on the road; Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion.
Watching it really brought back that joyful and adventurous soul of a child. It’s hard not to like it, with the colorful set and costumes, the cheerful characters and the beautiful thoughtful songs (and the choreographed and synchronized performances). That song Over The Rainbow Garland sings, wonderful and soothing for the soul. The song is still a song to remember up until this day, a classic.
Not just Over The Rainbow, other songs and dialogues performed by other characters were filled with philosophical words. Like Scarecrow’s If Only I Had A Brain : With the thoughts you’d be thinkin’ / You could be another Lincoln / If you only had a brain. And Tin Man’s If Only I Had A Heart : Just to register emotion, jealousy, devotion / And really feel the part / I could stay young and chipper / And I’d lock it with a zipper / If I only had a heart. And Cowardly Lion’s song was as great. Such a clever way of telling kids that it’s a privilege for them to have a heart, brain and courage.
The Wizard of Oz is indeed an joyful adventurous cinematic ride, such a recommended film for the young souls. The kids will love it because its colorful sets and costumes, that cost a lot back then (but it was launched, it was reportedly didn’t sell much so it didn’t covered the production cost). It introduced me to Judy Garland, who was perfect as Dorothy Gale. Funny when I watched the film, I thought of Shirley Temple who could be cast as Dorothy and why wouldn’t she. She did was originally picked as Dorothy, but the producer wanted Garland from the start.
The costumes were quite detailed, synchronized with the set and stylish; Dorothy’s red glittery shoes, the dwarfs’ outfits and the Wizard of Oz people. The set itself was like a fantasy land kids would love to go to. Like Dorothy’s first place after her house was shifted to Oz land, and she followed the yellow bricks.
I think it would be much greater if the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion shared more of their background for wanting a brain, heart and courage. But perhaps, for younger crowd, it’s too heavy too digest. The moral message to me is not only relevant for kids and teenagers, but also to all ages. No wonder The Wizard of Oz is a popular and favorite for many people, including great movie critiques. It’s timeless and a great mood lifter movie, the blend of the fantasy, musical and smart dialogues.