The Wizard of Oz (1939) / Fantasy-Musical
MPAA Rated: Rated G, suitable for all audiences (I'd rate it PG for some scary images)
Running Time: 112 min.
Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton
Director: Victor Fleming
Screenplay: Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf (based on the novel, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz", by L. Frank Baum)
Review published June 17, 1998
I know everyone knows the story, but for the purists I will continue.
Dorothy (Garland, Meet Me in St. Louis) runs away from her home on the farm, due to dissatisfaction with her life, desiring to see "what's over the rainbow", and also to protect her dog from being put to sleep. When she rethinks her situation, she returns home only to find it about to be hit by a huge tornado, which she gets whisked away in. When she finally hits land again, she discovers she is no longer in her home-world of Kansas, but in the land of Oz, unlike anything she has ever known, with all things beautiful and bizarre.
She is immediately proclaimed a hero, as her house has landed on the Wicked Witch of the East. Dorothy finally gets to see this fantastic world she has only dreamed about, but now what she wants is to return home so her family will not worry. She is told to follow a yellow brick road to meet a powerful wizard, and along the way she meets a trio of characters who also want to see the wizard to find things they have been missing. But following the road isn't as easy as it seems, as the Wicked Witch of the West seeks revenge and also wants the powerful ruby red slippers Dorothy was given.
It's hard to view The Wizard of Oz with an objective eye, as I've seen it countless times as a child and practically know it by heart. However, not having seen it as an adult until now, I must say that I still found the Wizard of Oz to be an astonishing achievement on every level you can imagine. It's filled to the brim with gorgeous sets, lavish costumes, memorable songs, a surprisingly adept script, perfect casting, and flawless direction. Arguably the greatest family film of all time, The Wizard of Oz is endlessly enchanting and endearing. Remarkable.
©1998 Vince Leo