The Wizard of Oz

(1939)

Genres: Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy

Movies That Made Us Critics: The Wizard of Oz

Transcript for Movies That Made Us Critics: The Wizard of Oz

CHRISTY LEMIRE: 
Now, I’m going to take things in a slightly happier direction here, if you’ll let me.  For my final film, I’m going back to the beginning.  THE WIZARD OF OZ is a movie I’ve seen a million times and I never get sick of it.  The older I get the more I see new things and respond in new ways, and yet, it’s the earliest memory I have of a film that truly moved me, the one that planted the seed for my life-long love of movies.  

Now, we all know the story, but here goes:  Judy Garland stars as Dorothy Gale, a young girl living with her aunt and uncle on a farm in Kansas.  Feeling neglected, as if no one is listening to her but her little dog, Toto, she dreams of a place without trouble.

CLIP from THE WIZARD OF OZ

CHRISTY:
But then a tornado comes, whisking Dorothy and Toto to the Land of Oz, and this is, of course, the iconic moment where THE WIZARD OF OZ shifts from black & white to color, an astounding thing back in 1939.  As she tries to get back home, Dorothy meets a colorful cast of characters, include the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion.  They’ve heard about a wizard who can solve all their problems.

CLIP from THE WIZARD OF OZ

CHRISTY:
But the Wicked Witch of the West is still angry that Dorothy killed her sister when she dropped into Oz, and sends an army of monkeys to hunt her down.  This made me hide behind the coffee table when I was a little girl.

CLIP from THE WIZARD OF OZ

CHRISTY:
Now, there’s a troubled history of how THE WIZARD OF OZ got made.  Changes in directors and key cast members, munchkin shenanigans and major injuries, even to Toto, but when you’re a little kid, it’s just magical.  It speaks to universal fears of loneliness, the need for companionship, and it’s a remind that – no matter how old you are – there’s no place like home.