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The Wizard of Oz

September 12, 2010

The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Director: Victor Fleming
Actors: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr

wizard-of-oz-dorothy-and-www.jpg (300×219)

Synopsis: Dorothy (Judy Garland) is whisked away from her family farmstead in Kansas during a storm and finds herself in the magical land of Oz. With the help of new-found friends, she seeks to find her way home….

ReviewThe Wizard of Oz is so lustrous, fantastical and rapturous, that perhaps it can only be truly assimilated through the eyes of a child. There is a prelapsarian undercurrent running throughout the whole picture as every single narrative element is played out to its most heightened, pointed and (dare I say) campest effect. Take for example the Wicked Witch of the West. There is nothing subtle or shaded about her conception: she has putrid green skin, a hideous mole on her pointed chin, she rides on an old-fashioned broomstick, she cackles deliciously, and just generally there is something so absolutely pure and ravishing about her characterisation, as indeed there is with all the main characters.

Though undoubtedly sensuous, the film is also thematically strong, enveloping itself wholly in its ideas about the magical state of childhood, with the counterbalances between domestic security and the adventure and lure of the outside world. This theme is conjured in the two unforgettable moments of spectacle when the story breaks ravishingly into colour for Dorothy’s arrival in Oz, to the fade back to the immemorial qualities of black-and-white for Dorothy’s awakening from her Oz ‘dream’. (October 2008)

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