Dorothy (Judy Garland) lives on a Kansas farm with Aunt Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charley Grapewin). After the evil neighbor, (Margaret Hamilton), tries to take Dorothy’s dog away from her, the teenager runs away. When her farmhouse is caught up in a cyclone she’s knocked out and whisked away.
When Dorothy finally hits land again, she discovers she is no longer in Kansas, but in the land of Oz. Trying to get back home, Dorothy finds three companions, a Tin Woodsman, a Scarecrow, and a Cowardly Lion who go to the Wizard to ask for help. The wizard tells them that before he can help any of them, they must seize the broom from the evil Wicked Witch of the West. They return with the task completed, after an arduous struggle, but learn a shocking secret about the Wizard of Oz.
After the screening, producers debated about removing the movie’s signature song, Somewhere Over the Rainbow because they felt that it was too slow and boring. Studio boss Louis B Mayer put the song back in; it has since been named the most loved song from a movie by the American Film Institute.
The film had a total of 4 directors over the course of production:
Richard Thorpe – 12 days
George Cukor – 3 days
Victor Fleming – most of the production (4 months), until he was called away to finish up Gone with the Wind
King Vidor – finished the production.
Although MGM had intended the role of Dorothy for Shirley Temple, the part went to Judy Garland instead.
Buddy Ebsen who played the Tin Man suffered a near-fatal reaction to the makeup of the Tin Man costume and was replaced by Jack Haley. Ebsen would later say that it was the most disappointing moment of his career.
The Munchkins are portrayed by The Singer Midgets. They were called that way because it was their manager’s name (Leo Singer). They couldn’t sing and their voices were dubbed.
The book The wonderful Wizard of Oz has been translated into well over 40 different languages. In 1985 the unofficial sequel Return to Oz was released. It’s a combination of the novels Ozma of Oz and The Marvelous Land of Oz. The movie was not well received.
August 12, 2011 | Categories: Articles | Tags: Blockbuster, Classic, Cowardly Lion, Cult, Hollywood, Icons, Jack Haley, Judy Garland, Legend, Margaret Hamilton, Midgets, Remakes, Scarecrow, Tin Man, Tin Woodsman, Wicked Witch, Wizard of Oz | 3 Comments