Friday, March 29, 2013
The Wizard of Oz (1939) review
"There's no place like home." Do I even need to say anymore? This classic film is iconic in every way and a family favorite in nearly every household.
PLOT:Young Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) is a farm girl living in the grey plains of Kansas with her Aunt Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charles Grapewin). Even though she's a young girl, she dreams big of traveling the lands before her. However, a tornado comes along and sweeps her house up with her and Toto, her little dog, inside. The house comes down in the town of Munchkinland in the wonderful land of Oz. To find her way back home, she has to find the wizard in the Emerald City while avoiding the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), who's out to get her for dropping a house on her sister. On the way, she meets a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Woodsman (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who choose to accompany her on her journey to see the wizard, wanting a brain, a heart, and courage in return. It's a great plot executed brilliantly.
ACTING:The performances in here were really good. Judy Garland played an innocent and iconic role as the young farm girl, Dorothy. Playing well off her and each other, Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, and Bert Lahr performed excellent, iconic roles as the Scarecrow, Tin Woodsman, and Cowardly Lion. I favored Bert Lahr out of the trio, for his performance doubled comedically as it did iconically. Margaret Hamilton also played a great part as the Wicked Witch of the West. She still seems menacing today. The other shiners would be Clara Blandick as Aunt Em, Charles Grapewin as Uncle Henry, Billie Burke as Glinda the Good Witch, Frank Morgan as The Wizard of Oz, and all of the munchkins. There really wasn't a bad performance in here.
SCORE:The musical score and soundtrack for this film are iconic, memorable, and catchy to sing as well as to hear. Everybody knows a song from it, whether it's "We're Off to See the Wizard", "Ding-Dong the Witch is Dead", or even "If I Only Had a Brain." Everybody knows the catchy soundtrack to this film.
EFFECTS:The effects were astounding back in their time and are still very colorful today. The best effect at the time would have to have been the dramatic and iconic change from sepia/grayscale to Technicolor. That was a dazzling change for people back then and is still a prominent mark in film history. The prop effects were pretty colorful, and the more digital effects (such as the fireballs and the bubbles) were pretty interesting. The effects overall back then were pretty top-notch, but they still stand as interesting to watch now.
OTHER CONTENT:This film is iconic on so many levels. Everybody has either seen or heard of the Wizard of Oz, and it's a family favorite for the young children and the older adults. Comparing it to the original book, the film seems to be based only loosely on it. However, this film adaptation improved it from its book form. Everything about this film is really perfect for its time and loveable even today.
OVERALL,an epic film with a brilliant plot, really good performances, catchy score and soundtrack, colorful effects, and an iconic legacy left for filmgoers everywhere.