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Christmas Movie Club #6 - The Wizard of Oz (1939)

  • 30-06-2015 8:28pm
    Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 27,276 Mod ✭✭✭✭

    It's week 6 of the movie club already!!! And if you're not out in the sunshine, you might like to stay in and watch a movie- like this week's offering, 'The Wizard of Oz' :)


    Dorothy Gale is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home.

    Fun Facts:

    Judy Garland was 17 when this film was made, so to make her seem younger, she had to wear a tight corset to disguise her womanly figure! :pac:

    The song 'Over the Rainbow' was almost cut from the film, as the Kansas sequence was too deemed to be too long.

    One of the original pairs of ruby slippers used in the film are now on display at the Smithsonian Institution, and they are so popular that the carpet in front of them has had to be replaced several times due to wear and tear.


    Where to find it:

    YouTube: €2.99
    iTunes: €3.99
    Sky Movies on demand


  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 430 ✭✭scream

    First off, my apologies for the length of this little review. It kinda got away from me in the end. Sorry.

    Secondly, I very nearly missed this completely, and only thought to take a look at when The Wizard of Oz movie thread was up next. Luckily I was just in time and so, got up early this morning to give it it's due. I'm glad I did since it was even better than I ever remembered it being.
    The Wizard of Oz
    I love the sepia. Was it always sepia? Dorothy is mulling around the farmyard, bored out of her tree. We meet what are surely alternate versions of The Scarecrow, The cowardly Lion and The Tin Man. They're a strange bunch, and are prone to overacting it would seem, but are still enjoyable to watch as long as you remember it's actually a truly ancient Movie at this point.

    Mrs Gulch, our Wicked Witch of the West, takes Toto away after she goes to all the trouble of speaking to the Sheriff and getting a little note allowing her to do so(strangely enought). It's absolutely heartbreaking to watch Dorothy pleading with both her and her Aunt Em and Uncle, especially when they give him up so easily and we have to watch in sheer disbelief as her Uncle literally takes Toto from Dorothy's arms and places him in Mrs Gulch's basket. We look on as she cycles away down the dusty road with her ill-gotten gains, and all because Toto bit her leg. I'd have bitten her leg too given half the chance. It's not long before Toto escapes the basket and runs back to Dorothy, who decides rather rashly that the only thing to do is to run away. I can understand the poor girls feelings but I think I'd have planned it a little better myself. Simpler times maybe. Who knows?

    Dorothy and Toto come across Professor Marvel, a travelling showman who like his counterpart The Great and Powerful Oz, although a nice old gent, is quite clearly a fake. Luckily he really is nice old gent and realising that Dorothy needs to be with her family and not wandering alone about the countryside consults his crystal ball and tells her a pack of lies about her Aunt Em being in floods of tears and clutching at her heart.
    Dorothy immediately runs back home arriving just before the cyclone starts. The cyclone scene is actually a real joy to behold. It's very well done and holds the attention throughout, a little light humour being inserted into proceedings just for good measure.

    Back in the house with Dorothy, the window blows in and catches her a glancing blow to the head knocking her out cold. She wakes pretty quickly to see various characters pass by the window seemingly oblivious to the cyclone they're caught up in. An old lady in a rocking chair smiles and waves to Dorothy as she knits, while a couple of men in a rowing boat row through the storm and tip their hats to her.

    Miss Gulch is also in attendance, still cycling and we see her turn into the actual Wicked Witch right before our eyes complete with pointy hat and broomstick and a wonderful cackling laugh too to round things off. The effects are all beautifully done and even today they hold up extremely well. I was pleasantly surprised, and not a little impressed. Beneath the house, we look up at it as it tumbles out of the sky and Thuds down to Earth.
    All is still and quiet now as Dorothy opens the door into full glorious Technicolour! Hooray!! And the colours really are beautiful. A little too beautiful maybe if that's even possible, but it reminds me of those old Sinbad movies where everything has to be fully and completely saturated to within an inch of it's life with stunning, dazzling, richest of rich colour. It still looks very pretty though.

    We meet the Glinda, The Witch of the North now. Dorothy explains to her that she's not actually a witch even though she dropped an entire house on the Wicked Witch of the East. The Munchkins are having none of it and immediately see take her to their creepy little hearts as their hero. Those Munchkins really do creep me out though. Creepiness notwithstanding, everyone breaks into song and I defy anyone to fail to sing along to the glorious strains of 'Ding-Dong, The Witch is Dead'.

    Just a heads up here, various groups sing to Dorothy at this point including, The Lullaby League and The Lollipop Guild. It's even more than a little creepy at this point. Just saying. Really, seriously creepy. Don't know what it is about these Munchkins but these ones even give creepy a bad name. The Wicked Witch of the West turns up to save us from even more Munchkin creepiness. She's not happy about Dorothy killing her sister, The Wicked Witch of the East, funnily enough. Can't think why. Dorothy, being the ever lucky little thing that she is 'aquires' the ruby slippers with the aid of Glinda, which understandably annoys the Wicked Witch even more. Dorothy decides she should get out of Oz, and quick. Good idea Dorothy, good idea! Glinda advises her to see the Great Wizard. He can help, she says. 'All you do, is follow the Yellow Brick Road'. Who'd have guessed? Glinda vanishes, and we set off with Dorothy, singing our little hearts out.

    We meet The Scarecrow next, at a crossroads. He has no brain. Only straw. There's more singing, 'If I only had a brain', a a bit of dodgy dancing before they set off together along the Yellow Brick Road. Pretty soon Dorothy happens across The Tin Man, rusted solid, and using a handy can of oil soon has him singing and dancing and lamenting his lack of a heart. So now there's three of them(and Toto) heading off to see the Wizard. The Wicked Witch turns up again issuing threats at this juncture and Dorothy tries to remember where she's met Scarecrow and Tin Man before since she feels she knows them from somewhere. Hmmm....!!

    We're about half way through now and are in a dark, scary forest.
    The Cowardly Lion roars and bounds towards them, threatening and aggressive. 'Put em up, Put em up'. He chases Toto into the trees which is a mistake and Dorothy rightly gives him a piece of her mind. Coward indeed. He cowers before Dorothy's onslaught and admits how he even scares himself. He's afraid of everything. Dorothy suggests he come with them to the Wizard, and we're off again, singing as we go(of course). We cut away to the Wicked Witch watching them through her crystal ball. She casts a spell on a field of poppies. Poison, she says. Oh no, not poison surely, gasp! They race through the field of poppies with the beautiful sight of the Emerald City in the distance. It's a big green castle type building, and it is indeed a sight to behold. It's also very, VERY green. VERRRYYY GREEN!!

    Dorothy says shes sleepy and zonks out. Toto falls asleep too, along with the Lion. The Scarecrow and Tin Man call for help and we see Glinda, the Good Witch create a snowstorm. This wakes Dorothy and they head off again to the wonderful strains of another song.
    The Wicked Witch is not at all happy and takes to the air on her broomstick. Dorethy and co. arrive at the doors of the Emerald city. They're told nobody can see the Great Oz. Dorethy's Ruby Slippers soon change that though, and they're in just like that. Well, more or less anyway.

    We 'laugh the day away' now with another song and a lot of pampering at Oz's version of a beauticians salon, while The Wicked Witch flies overhead, ominously writing Dorothy's name in black smoke as she goes. A bit of name-dropping works wonders, even in Oz, and the name of Glinda the Good Witch sees them entering the presence of the Great Wizard, but not before a bit more singing and it has to be said, a little bit of emotional blackmail from Dorothy as she turns on the waterworks. Still, it works and the guard stops blubbing long enough to let them in. The Wizard does a good job of being scary and impressive. He looks like the Mekon from the old Eagle comic. We only see his great big head at the moment, above the flames and coloured smoke but it's very impressive. A great line from Dorothy here, 'I am Dorothy, the small and meek'. Like hell she is! It's not long before Dorothy tells the great Oz off after he scares the Lion. Oz insists that if they want his help then they'll have to give him what he wants. And it appears that he wants the broomstick of the Wicked Witch. DUN-DUN-DUUUUUNNNN...!! There really should have been a DUN-DUN-DUUUUUUNNNN...!! noise there, but since I don't remember it I'm going to assume there wasn't. Anyway, he sends them away to get the broomstick.

    Nearly there now.
    We're wandering through the Haunted Forest now, presumably in search of the Witch and her broomstick. The Witch sends her Flying Monkeys to get Dorothy. These are great and are worth watching the movie for if nothing else. It's an impressive part of the movie here as we see the Flying Monkeys close in and swoop down, chasing Dorothy down and carrying her away, along with Toto. The Scarecrow doesn't come off too well either now that I think of it. It's all very dramatic.

    Back at the Witches castle the Witch wants the Ruby Slippers in return for not drowning Toto. The slippers will never come off while Dorothy's alive though, which is unfortunate really. Toto escapes. Dorothy cries(again), but then she is a captive in a gloomy castle far from home so I suppose we can forgive the tears this time. She is genuinely frightened of course and things are looking very desperate for her.

    Toto meanwhile finds the others and leads them to the castle. They locate Dorothy without much problem and free her in the nick of time. Attempting to run from the castle, the Witch catches them but they soon escape and run off. A good old chase ensues, accompanied by some lovely screaming from Dorothy. It's a good measure of an actress I think, how well she can carry off a convincing scream. I like to think I know a thing or too about it(What? What?). The Witch sets Scarecrow alight and Dorothy counters by throws a bucket of water over him to put him out, but some of it hits the Witch. Oh no! Huh... Who knew that water killed Witches? Well, we all did of course since everybody knows this bit. Even people that have never watched this movie know that water kills witches.

    Back at the Emerald City, and upon giving the broomstick to the Great Oz, he tries to squirm out of his obligations, the cad. Luckily Toto pulls back the little curtain that's hiding the Great Oz, and all is revealed. Turns out he's just a little old man. Well, bugger. Another shock. Dorothy accuses him of being, 'a very bad man'. He soon shows his worth though, and basically talks them into realizing that they've always had the things they thought they were lacking all along. He's either a good con merchant or a budding psychoanalyst. Whatever. We'll think of him as being a generally good guy at this point I think. He probably is.

    As it turns out, the Great Wizard is originally from Kansas himself and only came to Oz by accident when his hot air balloon touched down here. It's a nice looking balloon too, all old world and Victorian looking. Dorothy and the Wizard climb aboard with Toto leaving the Scarecrow, Tinman and Lion in charge in Oz. But Toto runs off though and Dorothy is left behind when the balloon takes off without her. The Wizard is very blase about this and basically says, 'meh, what can you do?', before waving a hearty goodbye to the stranded Dorothy. She laments how she's never going to get home now, and is understandably upset. But, the good Witch turns up, once again in the nick of time and reminds Dorothy that she's in fact had the power to get home all the time, if only she'd figured it out earlier. Bitch. I mean, she could have just said couldn't she? Lesson, my arse. Bitch... more like. *sniff*

    Anyway, she'll be home in two seconds now, apparently.

    Click... Click... Click...
    'There's no place like home... There's no place like home...'

    Dorothy wakes up in Kansas again, and in full, glorious sepia once more. She protests, to little avail, that she was really in Oz the whole time, while everyone looks on and laughs at the silly little girl that's gone crazy after that bump on the head a while back.

    Tsk... Silly girl!

    The End.

    So, this was a much better movie than I remembered it being and I enjoyed it immensely. I daresay nostalgia has it's part to play in that too, but I can't put it all down to that. In the end it held my attention easily, and there were some truly great scenes that really stand out and really help make the movie. The sepia parts at the beginning were some of my favourite bits, especially the beautiful scene with Dorothy singing 'Somewhere over the rainbow'. It was very poignant, and I loved it.

    I'm glad I took the time to watch this. I'll be taking much more notice of it when it appears once again this christmas. :p

  • Moderators, Business & Finance Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 23,551 Mod ✭✭✭✭Loughc

    Firstly Scream.... WOW, WHAT a great review!

    Mine is going to be very short and to the point in comparison, I've never seen this movie from start to finish before until a few days ago, and I must say I was impressed. It really holds up, it is a visual treat from start to finish.

    It is a great family movie that everyone can gather around and watch together, watching however not one was I reminded of Christmas, I was more reminded of Easter for some reason, this is defintely one for the Easter Holidays but not for Christmas.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 27,276 Mod ✭✭✭✭Posy

    Yeah, it's never reminded me of Christmas either actually! :o

  • Banned (with Prison Access) Posts: 430 ✭✭scream

    That's the strangest thing. This movie has been synonymous with Christmas for me since I was a kid. It's actually shocked me a little to hear that people don't actually associate it with Christmas at all.

  • Registered Users Posts: 25,005 ✭✭✭✭Toto Wolfcastle

    It doesn't remind me of Christmas either. I was never a fan of it though so I probably didn't notice it when it was on around Christmas.

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