Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Wizard of Oz (1939)

TOP 100 FILMS: #83

After a tornado hits her Kansas home, Dorthy (Judy Garland) is transported to a magical place. Lost and confused, she must seek out a master Wizard in order to find her way back home. Along the way she meets, and groups up with, a Lion (Bert Lahr), a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), & a tin man (Jack Haley), all of whom seek the wizard for different reasons. Though all is not so simple, as Dorthy must escape the evil Wicked Witch of the West, who blames Dorthy for the death of her sister, of the East.

One look at the number of directors/writers attached to this project would make your head explode. By all accounts so many changes were made the movie shouldn't work at all, and yet among all the chaos, came one of the most magical and influential films of all time. Perhaps the first truly great fantasy film, The Wizard of Oz transcends these with an amazing ability to combine family magic and wonder, with an incalculable number of underlying allegories, social commentary, and psychological motif, Oz is one of the great masterpieces of all time.

70 years later, the movie has barely lost a step. Still as socially relevant, even if we'd like to claim at times it isn't, and still magical in the wonder with which it shows the power of imagination. Judy Garland is the perfect southern girl, easy to root for, and care for, with a rather dark, and yet awe inspiring beginning, that brings you into these characters. The supporting cast aren't asked to do much, but what they are asked to do they carry wonderfully, with a strong sense of comedic joy, and yet a sad darker side, showing not all those that smile are truly happy.

Really, it's just a majestic work of cinema art. Perfect for those of all ages, with such vibrant light you can get lost in the world, if only for a short while. That's the true magic of Fleming's film, it will challenge you mentally, and entertain you visually, the mark of a great all around film.

In the past 70 years everything that can be said about this film has been said, both good and bad. But through it all it's stood every test of time you can imagine, and as such it's a true blood classic.

2 better thoughts:

Andrew: Encore Entertainment said...

I was to review this ages ago for my top 100...but ah well. It's weird when people say they've never seen it...and then those rumours about a remake. Baaaaad idea.

filmgeek said...

I genuinely believe this is the most magical movie of all time

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