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
When the Witch tries to get off the ruby slippers, fire strikes her hands. This "fire" was actually dark apple juice spewing out of the shoes. The film was sped up to make it look like fire. See more »
When the Wicked Witch first appears in Munckinland, Glinda's wand constantly changes positions as she stands behind Dorothy. 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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The Oz characters that Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr and Margaret Hamilton play are not actually listed in the cast list at the end; only their Kansas counterparts are. However, Billie Burke (who plays only Glinda the Good Witch) and Pat Walshe, who plays only Nikko, the Head Monkey, *are* listed in the closing credits as having played those characters. 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.
Judy Garland's portrayal of Dorothy, Dorothy's oddball Oz friends, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow", and the rest of this fine production of "The Wizard of Oz" have lost little of their magic over the years. While it has become oddly fashionable in recent years to deride this kind of classic, innocent fantasy, the movie itself has aged very well, and it is likely to retain an appreciative audience for some time to come.
There's no doubt that part of the appeal of the story and the characters comes from them being such old friends to so many cinema fans, but there are also good reasons why they have endured for so long, and have been able to hold up even after becoming so familiar. Although Dorothy is not a particularly complex character, she represents an innocent but deep yearning that is easy to identify with. Likewise, the 'Oz' characters are bizarre enough to remain interesting, but there is a core of substance that again is easy to believe in. Who does not feel that he or she could use at least one of the things that Dorothy's friends want?
The adaptation from the original story is done quite well, making fine choices for the characters and episodes that would work on film. The settings and visual effects may not impress the devotees of today's computer imagery, but in their time they certainly demonstrated a great deal of skill and planning, and even now, in their own way they are more believable than are most of the computer tricks that have become so overused.
The popular story has also been used for a number of more recent adaptations, and some of them have had some good points of their own. But this Wizard remains by far the most wonderful of the versions of the classic tale.
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