Released 1939 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Victor Fleming
Stars - Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton
After Dorothy (Garland), a young girl from Kansas, gets caught up in a tornado, she finds herself in the magical world of Oz. While there, she befriends a Scarecrow (Bolger), a Cowardly Lion (Lahr), and a Tin Man (Haley) but also makes an enemy out of the Wicked Witch of the West (Hamilton).
I’ve always felt that Dorothy acts much younger than Judy Garland’s age, and I find it incredibly distracting. I suspect she’s supposed to be around 14 in the movie (Garland was 16 when it was filmed and she looks it), but I’m guessing in the book Dorothy was younger, probably around 11. So weird to see a teenager acting and talking like a preteen.
For a kids movie, I think it’s rather dark. I mean [SPOILER] Dorothy kills two people! Accidentally, sure, but still. And the witch sets a main character on fire! Also, those creepy ass flying monkeys [SPOILER].
There are a couple of songs I could do without. Specifically, the munchkins’ song. I think my ears are still bleeding from that high-pitched nonsense.
A lot of the special effects have held up surprisingly well. Not all of them, but more than not. I was particularly impressed with the approach of the tornado.
The central message (“there’s no place like home”) isn’t my favorite (not everyone has a great home life) but I love the secondary message, that we all have brains, courage, and heart inside of us, whether we think we do or not.
It’s funny. I chuckled quite a few times.
Apart from the munchkins, there are some great singing voices and fun songs.
I hadn’t seen this since I was a young child. I hated it back then. Seeing it now with adult eyes, I think it frightened me when I was a kid and that’s why I didn’t like it (the witch and the flying monkeys are pretty scary). I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this viewing, but I liked it much better this time around. I like that it’s funny, and that it has a great imagination. The acting is solid. Most of the singing is great. Cinematography is also good. I don’t know that I’d want to watch it over and over again, but once every few years would be entertaining.
I give it 4 stars.