The Wizard of Oz: Over the Rainbow (1939)

Posted: April 20, 2011 in Adventure, Family, Fantasy

Dorothy Gale is a simple girl from Kansas with a farm full of family. When the Miss Gulch threatens to take away Dorothy’s best friend, her dog Toto, she runs away in hopes of finding safety for her and her companion. After coming across Professor Marvel, a tornado hits the farmland, causing Dorothy to bump her head and fall to her pillow. When she awakens, the entire house is up in the tornado, where she sees her family and Miss Gulch transform into a witch on a broomstick. When the house lands, she finds herself in the Munchkin Village in the Land of Oz. Armed with her ruby red slippers, she goes on a quest to see the Wizard in hopes of finding a way home. With the help of some new friends, she strives to complete her journey and steer clear of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Starring: Judy Garland (Dorothy), Frank Morgan (Professor Marvel/Oz), Ray Bolger (Hunk/Scarecrow), Bert Lahr (Zeke/Cowardly Lion), Jack Haley (Hickory/Tin Man), Billie Burke (Glinda), Margaret Hamilton (Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West), Charley Grapewin (Uncle Henry), Clara Blandick (Auntie Em), Terry (Toto)

Judy Garland had a very bright career, but it all started with this film. She had the opportunity to showcase all her talent, but mostly her singing. “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” became an instant classic. Frank Morgan jumps from one role to another as he plays Professor Marvel, the great and powerful Oz and many other roles within the city of Oz. He gets to play a range of emotions as he jumps from a wandering mystic to a regal guard to a struggling wizard. The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion are played by Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and Bert Lahr. As each of the men also play the farmhands, their performances gave life to these iconic characters. Margaret Hamilton serves as the antagonist Miss Gulch and the Wicked Witch of the West. Her evil nature created its own icon, as she delivered a performance that was quite scary for the time it was released.

Victor Fleming directed this movie at a time that he probably did not anticipate the future impact. This film has been identified as one of the greatest and most iconic films of all time. The music, the dancing, the lines…honestly everything about this film is memorable. “We’re not in Kansas anymore” and “I’ll get you my pretty…” have become significant catch phrases significant to American cinema culture. While this film may be the most memorable in Garland’s career, it was significant to the lives of all of the cast members. Frank Morgan went on to star in The Three Musketeers, Ray Bolger continued his career in both movies and television and even Terry (Toto) had a few films after her success in this picture.

The Wizard of Oz has always been one of my family’s favorite films and has all of the best elements of the classics.

Dan’s Rating: 4.5/5

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