Wizard of Oz

Wizard of Oz

4.4 112
Director: Victor Fleming

Cast: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger

     
 

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The third and definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's fantasy, this musical adventure is a genuine family classic that made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, an orphaned young girl unhappy with her drab black-and-white existence on her aunt and uncle'sSee more details below

Overview

The third and definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's fantasy, this musical adventure is a genuine family classic that made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, an orphaned young girl unhappy with her drab black-and-white existence on her aunt and uncle's dusty Kansas farm. Dorothy yearns to travel "over the rainbow" to a different world, and she gets her wish when a tornado whisks her and her little dog, Toto, to the Technicolorful land of Oz. Having offended the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), Dorothy is protected from the old crone's wrath by the ruby slippers that she wears. At the suggestion of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Dorothy heads down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where dwells the all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who might be able to help the girl return to Kansas. En route, she befriends a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). The Scarecrow would like to have some brains, the Tin Man craves a heart, and the Lion wants to attain courage; hoping that the Wizard will help them too, they join Dorothy on her odyssey to the Emerald City.

Garland was MGM's second choice for Dorothy after Shirley Temple dropped out of the project; and Bolger was to have played the Tin Man but talked co-star Buddy Ebsen into switching roles. When Ebsen proved allergic to the chemicals used in his silver makeup, he was replaced by Haley. Gale Sondergaard was originally to have played the Wicked Witch of the West in a glamorous fashion, until the decision was made to opt for belligerent ugliness, and the Wizard was written for W.C. Fields, who reportedly turned it down because MGM couldn't meet his price. Although Victor Fleming, who also directed Gone With the Wind, was given sole directorial credit, several directors were involved in the shooting, included King Vidor, who shot the opening and closing black-and-white sequences. Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's now-classic Oscar-winning song "Over the Rainbow" was nearly chopped from the picture after the first preview because it "slowed down the action." The Wizard of Oz was too expensive to post a large profit upon initial release; however, after a disappointing reissue in 1955, it was sold to network television, where its annual showings made it a classic.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Kryssa Schemmerling
Hollywood magic has rarely worked as well as it did in MGM's adaptation of L. Frank Baum's classic children's novel. This fairy tale about a Kansas farm girl who is swept by a tornado into the land of the Munchkins has burned itself into the collective consciousness of generations of moviegoers. By today's standards, the special effects look primitive, but when Dorothy (Judy Garland) steps out of monochromatic Kansas into the Technicolor splendor of Oz, the moment still invokes wonder. And the songs, especially the Academy Award-winning "Over the Rainbow," remain infectious. As the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, and Bert Lahr, respectively, bring humor and humanity to their make-believe characters, while the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) remains among the screen's scariest villains. Finally, though, it is the emotional truthfulness of Judy Garland's performance, infused with all the yearnings of adolescence, that makes The Wizard of Oz a masterpiece.
All Movie Guide - Lucia Bozzola
The lavish MGM production of L. Frank Baum's children's book may have lost a million dollars on its initial release, but its songcraft, technical artistry, star-making performance from Judy Garland, and unexpected TV success turned it into a perennial classic. With future ace MGM musical producer Arthur Freed lending producer Mervyn LeRoy an uncredited hand in pre-production, Cedric Gibbons' art direction, Adrian's costumes, and Hal Rosson's sparkling cinematography maximized the creative potential of Technicolor film, as Dorothy goes "over the rainbow" from a sepia-toned black-and-white Kansas to a fantastically rendered Oz of ruby slippers, emerald cities, and yellow brick roads. Lent ample support by vaudeville vets Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, and Bert Lahr, neophyte Garland delivered a touching performance as Dorothy, proving that she had the acting talent to match her superb singing. As with Gone With the Wind, the film went through several directors and Victor Fleming got the credit; King Vidor directed the Kansas sequences, including Garland's solo "Over the Rainbow." Almost cut for the sake of pacing, "Over the Rainbow" became an Oscar winner for Best Song and a Garland standard. Although the 2.7-million-dollar film wilted at the box office, The Wizard of Oz was nominated for several Oscars, including Best Picture (which it lost to Gone With the Wind), winning for Herbert Stothart's score and Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg's song. It was the first feature sold for prime-time TV telecast, and its 1956 TV debut was a ratings hit, finally turning it into the crowd-pleasing blockbuster that MGM had always meant it to be.

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Product Details

Release Date:
10/19/1999
UPC:
0012569512337
Original Release:
1939
Rating:
G
Source:
Warner Home Video

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Judy Garland Dorothy Gale
Frank Morgan Prof. Marvel/The Wizard
Ray Bolger Hunk/The Scarecrow
Bert Lahr Zeke/The Cowardly Lion
Jack Haley Hickory/The Tin Woodsman
Gus Wayne Munchkin
Billie Burke Glinda, the Good Witch
Margaret Hamilton Miss Gulch/The Wicked Witch
Pat Walshe Nikko
Clara Blandick Auntie Em
Billy Bletcher Mayor/Lollypop Guild (voice)
Tyler Brook Ozmite
Adriana Caselotti Juliet (voice)
Pinto Colvig Munchkin Voice (voice)
Billy Curtis City Father
Abe Dinovitch Apple Tree/Munchkin Voice (voice)
Major Doyle Munchkin (uncredited)
Daisy Earles Munchkin Villager
Harry Earles Guild Singer
Buddy Ebsen Tin Woodman on "We're Off to See the Wizard" (voice)
Charles Grapewin Uncle Henry
Charles Irwin Ozmite
Lois January Cat Owner
Mitchell Lewis Head Winkie
Jerry Maren Guild Leader
Singer Midgets Munchkins
Walter Miller Bespectacled Munchkin
George Ministeri Coach Driver
Yvonne Moray League Dancer
Lee Murray Winged Monkey
Frank Packard Munchkin (uncredited)
Lillian Porter Munchkin (uncredited)
"Little Billy" Rhodes Barrister
Jimmy Rosen Munchkin (uncredited)
Oliver Smith Ozmite
Terry Toto
Carol Tevis Munchkin Voice (voice)
Bobby Watson Ozmite

Technical Credits
Victor Fleming Director
Adrian Costumes/Costume Designer
Harold Arlen Score Composer
George Bassman Score Composer
Bobby Connolly Choreography
Jack Dawn Makeup
Cedric Gibbons Art Director
Arnold A. Gillespie Special Effects
Noel Langley Screenwriter
Mervyn LeRoy Producer
Harold Hal Rosson Cinematographer
Florence Ryerson Screenwriter
Blanche Sewell Editor
George Stoll Score Composer
Herbert Stothart Score Composer
Edwin B. Willis Set Decoration/Design
Edgar Allan Woolf Screenwriter
L. Frank Baum Source Author

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