Movie Wednesday: The Wizard of Oz
Dorothy lives a quiet life on her family’s farm in Kansas. She longs for adventure—and that’s exactly what she gets when a tornado sucks up her house and drops it into the Land of Oz!
With her little dog Toto, Dorothy meets a host of colorful characters: the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. Together they set off for the Emerald City home of the Wizard of Oz. Only he can grant their deepest wishes, and get Dorothy home. But can they escape the fearsome Wicked Witch of the West? And is the Wizard all that he seems?
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Adapted from the widely popular novel by L. Frank Baum, the Wizard of Oz was brought to the big screen in 1939. The film had a troubled production period. The script had many drafts by various writers and the production went through five different directors! Many of those writers and directors are not credited in the final film regardless of their contributions.
Despite all this and the fact that the film was initially considered a box office flop, the Wizard of Oz has gone on to become an iconic staple of American cinema. Notable for its juxtaposition of black and white film with bright outrageous technicolor, as well as its award winning score, the Wizard of Oz is widely considered a classic.
- The film differs from the book in a number of ways (example: the ruby slippers were originally silver). Why do you think some of these changes were made?
- The ending of the film, where the audience is told that the Land of Oz was just a dream, was added in because the studio felt that a 1939 audience wouldn’t accept Oz’s fantastical elements. How does this change the message of the film? Do you think it hurts or enhances the story? Explain.
- One of the two Oscars the film won was for the song “Over the Rainbow.” What’s your favorite song in the movie and why?
- The Wizard of Oz has a lot of memorable lines. Do you have a favorite? Why is it your favorite?
- What do you think of the Wicked Witch of the West? Why do you think she might behave as she does?
- If you found yourself in Oz, what would you do?