The biggest effect seeing the new movie, Oz the Great and Powerful had on me was that I just really wanted to rewatch my childhood favorite The Wizard of Oz. I’ve seen it countless times and am in agreement with the majority of the film watching public that is it a remarkable classic. True story time–I starred as Dorothy in my preschool class’s production of the musical. When I was little I could’ve sworn that I acted out every line and sang every song that Judy Garland had uttered. In actuality, I had probably only performed a bastardized, dumbed down version and sang along with a chorus of my 5 year old classmates, but it felt like a big deal. It connected me to the movie and put it at a level of adoration that hasn’t relented since I was that little girl with red sequins hot glued to her shoes. And with that in mind, I would love to discuss 10 of my favorite moments from one of my favorite movies.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Easily the most beautiful and enduring song from the film, it’s simply sung masterfully by the little voice of Judy Garland. How her little voice transforms into this rich singing contralto is beyond me but ears in general are just better off for it.
Tornado Over the Kansas Plains – The opening scenes with its sepia cinematography is just gorgeous. It’s juxtaposition with the technicolor dream world of Oz just makes it that much more pleasant. My favorite shot is the wide view of the Gale farm as the tornado approaches.
Follow the Yellow Brick Road - I love the scene as Dorothy tentatively starts her journey to Oz on the swirling start of the yellow brick road. She’s in the friendliest place in Oz with the lovely Good Witch but you know she is about to embark on a great adventure.
Dorothy Meets the Scarecrow – Just as her journey starts, Dorothy ponders which way to go along the yellow brick road and receives help from a scarecrow hanging in the corn field. When I was a kid the physical humor bit of the Scarecrow pointing with twisted arms was so funny but now I still find it to be quite cute. This leads into my favorite intro song of the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion. I often find myself humming to this song even when I haven’t watch the movie in awhile (no smart jokes from you).
Dorothy Slaps the Cowardly Lion – The only thing Dorothy cares more about than getting home is her little dog Toto. I respect the love of a dog in a person. So my favorite singular action of Dorothy in this movie is when she slaps the Lion in the face when he is threatening not only her new friends, but her precious Toto. Nothing makes the Lion seems more cowardly than little Dorothy being so brave.
The Wicked Witch Sends a Message – Just as Leslie Knope said, “Skywriting isn’t always positive”. Just as the gang are done getting the beauty treatment upon arriving to Emerald City and prepping to see the great Wizard, the Witch appears to remind them they aren’t home free. I love the way it changes the mood in an instant from jovial to panic. Just when you think the movie might be about to end because they’ve reached the destination, they still have to take care of the Witch, especially when the Wizard commands it. I also happen to think Surrender Dorothy would be the name of my future fake band.
The Wicked Witch is Dead – I’m not quite sure why the Wicked Witch had her kryptonite hanging on a shelf in her evil lair but thank god it was because out of her own goodness Dorothy accidentally splashed the Witch and melted her to death. To boot, when you think they are about to turn on her in rage you find out Dorothy actually made the flying monkeys and guards super happy because they never liked the Witch to begin with.
Toto Reveals the Wizard as a Fraud - Aw you sweet little dog. Toto spends the movie scampering about and chilling in a basket, but turns out to be vital with this reveal. The big scary smoky face of the Wizard is actually just covering for an old man with a few tricks up his sleeve. And he doesn’t look much like James Franco.
The Wizard Grants Wishes - Despite the Wizard trying to get out of granting the foursome’s wishes, after he’s revealed he seems fully prepared to dole out the goods. The fun part is the cleverness of his gifts. Not so much actual hearts, brains, and courage but tokens of suggestion. A diploma, medal of courage, and ticking heart alarm clock seem to do the trick. The writing during this scene is the best in the film as Frank Morgan rattles off line after line of quotable, complex, clever dialogue. As a kid I totally didn’t recognize the greatness of that writing.
Wizard of Oz: As for you, my galvanized friend, you want a heart. You don’t know how lucky you are not to have one. Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable.
Tin Man: But I still want one.
Real shit y’all
There’s No Place Like Home – After the Wizard takes off in his hot air balloon, Glinda shows Dorothy how she had the magic to go back to Kansas the whole time. Glinda explains that she had to go through all this to believe in herself, but it almost seems like the Good Witch just wanted Dorothy to do some dirty work. Either way, it makes for an emotional goodbye before waking up in Kansas happy to be living on a farm with no desire to head outside those fences again. Not the best message for young girls, but heartwarming just the same.
Any other Wizard of Oz lovers out there? What are your favorite scenes, shots, songs, or other moments from the film?