- The Wizard of Oz review by GI
A timeless family classic and dedicated to 'the young at heart' the film is often cited as the most viewed film of all time and for many years was a Christmas TV favourite. It is of course a very clever fantasy film and actually quite a dark and at times scary story which is about growing up and understanding the important things in life above and beyond material gain. It's also one of the earliest films that used the world of dreams and the subconscious to weave its narrative. Based on a famous children's book it begins in Kansas during the 1930s and follows a young girl, Dorothy (Judy Garland) who lives with her Aunt and Uncle on their farm. Her best friend is her small dog who she protects fiercely against the nasty Miss Gulch, the richest woman in the county. But injured in a tornado Dorothy finds herself transported to the magical world of Oz where with the aid of a scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a tin man (Jack Haley) and a lion (Bert Lahr) she has to find the all powerful wizard (Frank Morgan) to help her get home but she has to face the evil plans of a wicked witch (Margaret Hamilton). With the 'real' world shot in bland sepia tones and the 'fantasy' world in rich technicolor this has some wonderful songs, the most famous being 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' (which at one time was going to be cut from the film!) and some great dance and comedy performances making this is a joy of a film but tinged with the very scary witch and her flying apes. You can see the influence of this tale on later fantasy stories not least The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings. For it's time the effects hold up remarkably well too. It's a film that every child should see and one that adults can still really enjoy, it's a delight even after all these years.
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