About a week ago, I got the opportunity to see Fathom Events’ rerelease of The Wizard of Oz, to celebrate the film’s 80th anniversary. And despite the film’s age—it was released in “Hollywood’s golden year,” (as Ben Mankiewicz describes 1939 in his introduction)—it still remains a classic and a staple in American cinema.
I think everyone knows the plot. A young dreamer named Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, and her dog Toto are swept away to the magical land of Oz when a tornado barrels through her Kansas farm. In Oz, she follows the yellow-brick road in an attempt to get home, meeting colorful characters including the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion. On their trek to meet the Wizard of Oz, Dorothy is pursued by the evil Wicked Witch of the West, trying to retrieve her ruby slippers by any means necessary.
It’s no surprise why The Wizard of Oz has become a classic and a must-watch for children all across the country. The bright, colorful technicolor cinematography that was revolutionary at the time still holds up today and is incredible to look at. The colors are used so perfectly on the film’s sets, a fact made more notable after the movie was nominated for a production design Oscar. There are great portrayals all around, especially with Judy Garland giving an amazing breakout performance. She’s charming, funny, and engaging. The Lion, the Scarecrow, and the Tin Man also give amazing physical performances, adding so much believability to their already amazing and hilarious displays.
Victor Fleming, the director of The Wizard of Oz, really struck a chord in 1939 in directing two timeless classics. The Wizard of Oz is an amazing film, entertaining for all ages, and will hopefully remain in the conversation for another 80 years to come.