26 September 2023

The Wizard of Oz

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Reviewed by Victor Rebikoff.

Director: Victor Fleming, MGM, G 102 Minutes.

This timeless classic from director Victor Fleming is considered by many as one of the greatest motion pictures of the past century due to its delightful and imaginative storyline encompassing the most enjoyable elements of a musically-based family fantasy.

The movie initially opens in black and white showing the young Dorothy (Judy Garland – ‘Easter Parade’) and her pet dog Toto suddenly being swept-up by a tornado from a farm in Kansas and taken to the magical Land of Oz.

On her arrival Dorothy is greeted by a colourful landscape at which point she is told by the Good Witch Glinda (Billie Burke – ‘Dulcy’) to follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City; but to enable her to get home she must then seek the help of the Great Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan – ‘The Mortal Storm’).

Along the way Dorothy meets a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger – ‘Sunny’) in need of a brain, a Tin Man (Jack Haley – ‘Scared Stiff’) missing a heart and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr – ‘Ship Ahoy’) wanting courage before they join her on the journey.

In order to secure the Wizard’s help Dorothy and her friends are asked to bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton – ‘The Invisible Woman’) whose sister’s demise was accidentally brought about by Dorothy.

The foursome soon discover that they must overcome many hurdles being hurled at them by the Wicked Witch seeking revenge against Dorothy for killing her sister but is foiled because of the Ruby Slippers given to her by Glinda.

On returning with the broomstick the pretentious Wizard provides Dorothy’s companions with their precious rewards while Dorothy together with Toto use the Ruby Slippers to take them to their farm in Kansas waking up in her bed at home.

Despite the passing of time Fleming’s direction is as perfect as it was exactly eighty years ago still providing that enchanting attraction for all age groups of a young girl and her dog being transported to a magical place.

Similar to a dream sequence one is treated to a series of spectacular scenes beginning with Dorothy’s journey down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City with her three special friends prior to their meeting with the Wizard.

Apart from singing the award-winning song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” Judy Garland delivers a stand out performance as Dorothy not to mention the complimentary performances of Lahr (Cowardly Lion), Bolger (Scarecrow) and Haley (Tin Man).

In many ways the timeless ‘Wizard of Oz’ is a cinematic milestone that will continue to entertain future filmgoers.

The Wizard Of Oz is televised on Channel 7flix at 6.30PM on Friday 3 July.

Vic’s Verdict: 5 Stars

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