By Josh Zerbini (Clarks Green, PA)
In my opinion, The Wizard of Oz is the most classic movie of all time because it successfully targeted audiences of all ages (young and old). I would like to begin my critique by mentioning that if any of you out there have not seen this movie, there is simply no reason or excuse! In fact, you should stop reading this blog right now and go find a copy!
All right. Wizard of Oz was released in late August of 1939. The director of this movie was Victor Fleming, who won an oscar for it. If you are not aware of who this director was, you might be delighted to know that he also directed perhaps a movie on your top movie lists (Gone With the Wind which won Best Picture Oscar). Judith Garland (Dorothy) Ray Bolger (The Scarecrow), Frank Morgan (The Wizard), Bert Lahr (The Cowardly Lion), and Jack Haley (The Tin Man), co-star in this movie. The chemistry between these actors, especially the four friends that embark down the yellow brick road, is incredibly remarkable to say the least.
An interesting theme that this movie portrayed is the powerlessness of man. In most movies, the guy is the hero. Think of The Hulk, Ironman 1 & 2, Batman (all of them), Thor, and too many more to count. You get the picture. Whereas in this movie, all the men seem sort of powerless, unable to control their own fate. Even the Wizard seems weak in his own way. The power figures in the movie are Dorothy, Glinda, and the Witch. In fact there are several themes in this movie, but for sake of avoiding pain in my hands due to the laborious typing, I will refrain from delving in too much. I will leave it up to you to share what you think the important themes are.
I think that what makes this movie so amazing in my mind was the director’s genuine ability to relate to the audience’s imagination. There are no special effects in this movie, like Transformers or Super 8. What you do see in this movie, if you were to call it “special effects” merely depict the framework or skeleton of the movie. Victor Fleming leaves the rest to the imagination of the viewer. This then allows the viewer to create his/her idea of the movie. As I have all ready mentioned before, this movie has the ability to both enchant children and adults. If you think about it, Disney borrowed this idea for its animated pictures (Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid). It is this aspect of incorporating a dose of comedy, adventure and catchy soundtracks together. Wizard of Oz laid the groundwork for all of these movies to come. It was the first of its kind!
I will avoid summarizing this movie, just in case, for some very peculiar reason, some of you have not yet had the opportunity to be captivated by its beauty and wonder. But, I will say that in the beginning of the movie, Dorothy wanted nothing to do with where she was. But, as she walked down the yellow brick road with her friends, the only thought that enraptured her mind was how she could get back home. This irony leads me back to the question I chose to title my blog with, “Is it productive to leave the here and now to find a better place?”
Is it productive? What are some other themes you saw as important in this movie? Do you think the journey down the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard was all just a dream, or was it actually reality? What could Fleming of done better?