Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
In this charming film based on the popular L. Frank Baum stories, Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado's path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage.Written by
Mervyn LeRoy hired screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz to work on a script. Despite Mankiewicz's notorious reputation at that time for being an alcoholic, he delivered a 17-page draft of the Kansas scenes, and a few weeks later handed in a further 56 pages. Noel Langley and poet Ogden Nash were also hired to write separate versions of the story. None of the three writers involved knew anyone else was working on a script, but it was not an uncommon procedure at the time. Nash soon delivered a four-page outline, Langley turned in a 43-page treatment and a full film script. He turned in three more, this time incorporating the songs that had been written by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. No sooner had he completed it than Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf submitted a script and were brought on board to touch up the writing. They would be responsible for making sure the story stayed true to the Baum book. However, producer Arthur Freed was unhappy with their work and reassigned it back to Langley. See more »
The Mayor and his agents' voices get mismatched in at least two places. During the congratulatory music, one Munchkin interrupts the festivities and demands legal verification of the Witch's death. When they exchange words, saying "From now on you'll be history! You'll be hist - you'll be hist - you'll be history!", that "lawyer" Munchkin has a completely different voice, as though from a different actor. Furthermore, when the Mayor says that last "history!", we hear not his voice, but that of the "lawyer" Munchkin. See more »
She isn't coming yet, Toto. Did she hurt you? She tried to, didn't she? Come on. We'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em.
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In the opening credits, The Singer Midgets, who portray the Munchkins, are not billed under their real name, but as simply The Munchkins. In the cast list at the end, they are billed as The Singer Midgets. None of the actors who play Munchkins are given an individual credit. In the posters and advertising publicity for the film, the group was billed as The Munchkins. See more »
The opening credits were very slightly changed for the 1949 theatrical re-release - watch for the revised MPAA logo, as well as the IATSE logo. See more »
Judy Garland's portrayal of Dorothy, Dorothy's oddball Oz friends, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and the rest of this fine production of "The Wizard of Oz" have lost little of their magic over the years. While it has become oddly fashionable in recent years to deride this kind of classic, innocent fantasy, the movie itself has aged very well, and it is likely to retain an appreciative audience for some time to come.
There's no doubt that part of the appeal of the story and the characters comes from them being such old friends to so many cinema fans, but there are also good reasons why they have endured for so long, and have been able to hold up even after becoming so familiar. Although Dorothy is not a particularly complex character, she represents an innocent but deep yearning that is easy to identify with. Likewise, the 'Oz' characters are bizarre enough to remain interesting, but there is a core of substance that again is easy to believe in. Who does not feel that he or she could use at least one of the things that Dorothy's friends want?
The adaptation from the original story is done quite well, making fine choices for the characters and episodes that would work on film. The settings and visual effects may not impress the devotees of today's computer imagery, but in their time they certainly demonstrated a great deal of skill and planning, and even now, in their own way they are more believable than are most of the computer tricks that have become so overused.
The popular story has also been used for a number of more recent adaptations, and some of them have had some good points of their own. But this Wizard remains by far the most wonderful of the versions of the classic tale.
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