Sunday, January 29, 2012

123. The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz
Directed by Victor Fleming

Oh god, I hate this film.  I hated it ever since I was little and the munchkins scared me. I hated it even more when I was a kid and had to perform "If I Only Had a Brain" at an acting recital. I think that should count as child abuse.

Anyway, the whole film is like one bad acid trip.  The songs are obnoxious and the plot is disappointing and nonsensical.  I know this is supposed to based on a fairy tale but the whole thing felt vaguely sinister to me.  Check out the interesting facts section, it gets pretty crazy.

I think the only thing more annoying than the scarecrow song is the lion's voice.  However, this film has become such a cultural icon that you should see it, just to get the references.  As far as fantasy worlds go, though, I would take Alice in Wonderland or Pan's Labyrinth any day.

RATING: **---

Interesting Facts:

Buddy Ebsen was originally cast as the tin man but the aluminum dust in the make up coated his lungs and he had to be rushed to the hospital.

Garland's breasts were strapped so she would look younger.

The munchkins came from a European troupe and used this as an opportunity to escape the Nazis.

AFI's number 10 in top 100 movie list.

Okay, so I kind of like this song:


  1. I agree, I really don't like this movie. I think what's worse is how we are pressured to like it...Just because they showed it on Christmas all the time doesn't mean it's the best thing ever. So many other movies from this era that people should see!

  2. How on earth did i stumble across this from the vaults? No idea, but suddenly there in front of me was your posting of 'The Wizard of Oz'. Maybe I'm feeling in a nasty mood this morning (No, doesn't really feel like it), the prospect of laying into one of the most detestable films ever somehow appeals.
    Yuch yuch yuch.
    I thughtyou were with me.. but then I see you gave this .. this .. thing .. two whole points? Perhaps a typo. You missedoff tj '-' at the front.
    OK, fair enough

  3. Haha I agree Rachel! And I think I felt pressure from the film community to give it a higher score!!

  4. The Munchkins are freaky and Oz himself is rather disappointing. I must give it to the witch though that she is pretty awesome.

    1. Did you ever see/read Wicked?

    2. It's a musical about the back story of the witches. I think it was a book first. Really good.

  5. My five year-old was given a book of The Wizard of Oz to take home and practice reading this week. He seemed to like it so I downloaded the film and we just watched it projected onto the white wall opposite the sofa. It scared the wits out of him (perhaps you should ignore my recent wisdom on Captains Courageous about what films are appropriate to show children) and I've just put him to bed but fully expect him to be up in the middle of the night with nightmares.

    I saw it at least a couple of times as a kid and vaguely recall kinda liking it and not really understanding why my mother hated it so much and Judy Garland in particular.

    Generally the cast were pretty great, especially the Wicked Witch of the West. Ms Garland however did everything right on paper except exude any charisma. You are cheering the witch on to win the day at times. And it's often difficult to remember that she is supposed to be playing a little girl, not an emotionally retarded adult.

    The use of colour and design deserves kudos. It is rightly very aware of its status as a very early colour film and sets out to astound its audience with the vibrancy the technology allows. But it feels like it needed some disciplined control and direction. Bits of it, particularly the whole munchkin scene, felt like a wildly over-funded school play. Compare and contrast to Busby Berkeley.

    1. You have a film projector in your house? That is so cool. I think it gets scarier the more times you watch it.