Dorothy Gale is swept away from a farm in Kansas to a magical land of Oz in a tornado and embarks on a quest with her new friends to see the Wizard who can help her return home to Kansas and help her friends as well.
In this charming film based on the popular L. Frank Baum stories, Dorothy and her dog Toto are caught in a tornado's path and somehow end up in the land of Oz. Here she meets some memorable friends and foes in her journey to meet the Wizard of Oz who everyone says can help her return home and possibly grant her new friends their goals of a brain, heart and courage.Written by
Dorothy's last name is Gale, which means "a very strong wind". A tornado is a very destructive vortex of violently rotating winds, thus Dorothy's last name. See more »
The Scarecrow is still on fire after Dorothy has thrown the bucket of water. In the first long shot immediately after the closeup of the Witch getting hit in the face; a small flame is visible on the Scarecrow's arm, which disappears in the next shot a moment later. See more »
She isn't coming yet, Toto. Did she hurt you? She tried to, didn't she? Come on. We'll go tell Uncle Henry and Auntie Em.
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Clara Blandick, who plays Aunt Em, Pat Walshe, who plays Nikko, and Toto are not listed at all in the opening credits, only in the closing ones. See more »
Original preview versions of "The Wizard of Oz" ran several minutes longer than the current version. These are the scenes that were cut or shortened to reduce the running time. These scenes were never included in any officially released version of the film:
During the "If I Only had a Brain" sequence, there was originally a spectacular dance that Ray Bolger performed. In the film, as officially released, he sings the first and second verses of "If I Only had a Brain", then falls over comically. In the original cut, though, he sings the first and second verses, begins to dance, and eventually a crow takes a large portion of his straw. The scarecrow then flies in the air to get it back, which he does. Then he does some splits (forward and backward), and then a pumpkin rolls down the road. When it goes through the scarecrow's legs, he is thrown high into the air. Now, he comes down, bounces against the fences, sings a third verse of "If I Only Had a Brain", then falls down. The unedited Ray Bolger Scarecrow dance sequence can be seen in the film 'That's Dancing' (1985).
A scene where the Wicked Witch of the West turns the tin man into a bee hive (as she threatened to do) was cut out for the current version. The cut was covered by flipping the image of the following shot, so that the characters would appear to be in the same positions.
During the "Lions and Tigers and Bears" scene, those words are said several more times than in the current version.
There was originally a scene where the Witch sends a pink and blue bug (known as the "Jitterbug") into the haunted forest "to take the fight out of" Dorothy and her friends. When the Jitterbug bit one of the characters, he/she would start dancing helplessly. This is perhaps the most famous deleted scene of them all, but the actual footage no longer exists. All there is left of the "Jitterbug" scene is home movies that the composer, Harold Arlen, filmed during rehearsals, and the sound track of the song.
A reprise of "Over the Rainbow" which Dorothy sings while locked in the witches castle was cut. Only the soundtrack of the number survived.
People talk about The Wizard of Oz as a backdrop to their lives; and how true that is. I just saw it again, DVD, for the first time in--gosh!--20 years. There was a little art house in Lansing Michigan USA that ran it back then, on the popular premise that there's nothing like TWoO on "the big screen." That's the last time I'd seen it, 'til today.
I guess the part that "gets" me about the movie is how the writers made it pretty plain that the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion really already had what they thought they were missing; that their respective problems were in misapprehending their own complete natures. That's a powerful statement for many of us. I found myself most touched in scenes where the Scarecrow was showing wisdom, the Tin Man feeling deeply ("...when I think of Dorothy in that awful place..."), and the Lion...well, maybe accomplishing this effect was harder in his case...what *is* true courage?
Anyway, if you're reading this here, you must be a movie weenie, and you've no doubt already seen the movie, so I'm not going to recite the usual "go see this movie" mantra.
I was just very touching to see this movie again, at this phase in my life.
I will mention a few more things about how I now see this movie as a "growed up" (I'm almost 50): It's interesting how you can see the production values of the time; the lot sets and special effects and so forth. This movie is a powerful example of how a good story overcomes limited means in other areas.
People who look back with disdain on the low-tech chintz of old movies can see in TWoO the magic ingredient; narrative solidity. And I'm not a pollyanna about this: I'm sure the underlying reality behind its making is rife with horror stories of expert disagreement, rewrites, discarding, jerryrigging, and the rest of it. But in the end, something like narrative love won out; and that's the important thing.
Oh: And having Harold Arlen write the music was good luck indeed. And orchestrations which cleverly appropriated very tasty new ideas in composition (polymodalism, non-standard phrasings, etc.) didn't hurt, either!
Geez, this movie is such a little universe....I'd better stop here.
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