Celebrating 83 Years of The Wizard of Oz

In August 2022, The Wizard of Oz celebrated its 83rd birthday, so The Movie Blog will take a look back at the success of this ground-breaking and pioneering movie which continues to steal the hearts of so many people.

The Wizard of Oz has been a part of American pop culture for as long as many of us can remember and remains the quintessential family movie in the USA. However, it is no coincidence why The Wizard of Oz has been able to stand the test of time. Let’s take a celebratory look as to why The Wizard of Oz continues to entertain and inspire generations in the 21st century.


One of the Greatest Films in Cinema History

The Wizard of Oz was a pioneering film  and so was its director Victor Fleming. Prior to The Wizard of Oz, Fleming was already well-known and a world class director in his own right, but when The Wizard of Oz was released in 1939 followed by Gone With The Wind in the same year, his legacy was complete.

Many of us might watch The Wizard of Oz now and think what the fuss was all about. But imagine for a second a cinema world without colour. Now, although The Wizard of Oz was not the first colour film, it was the one which had the most effect on the industry due to the use of technicolour. But to only concentrate on its use of colour is doing a disservice to the film. Much of what makes the movie great is simply good old-fashioned storytelling


The Storyline

Like lots of great movies, The Wizard of Oz was adapted from a children’s book written by Frank Baum in 1900 named The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The moral of Baum’s tale which comes through in the film too is that what we are looking for can simply be found within ourselves if only we are courageous and determined enough to see it. In fact, the narrative has inspired a number of different films and books directed and written today – a young and somewhat naive protagonist goes into the chaos of the big wide world and looks to turn that chaos into order, as the great Jordan Peterson put so elegantly. We have within us the power to do great things, so the film tells us, which is very encouraging.

All of the morally good characters in the film have characteristics which we can easily recognise in ourselves and all of them are looking for something deep within them which they have lost. They all want to become better versions of themselves. The scarecrow is looking for a brain, the Tin-Man a heart and the Lion desires courage. Material needs are not important to them. Of course, none of this comes easily, and the characters must test themselves in order to gain what they truly need and desire. In addition, teamwork and friendship is vital to the tale. None of the characters could have completed the quest without making use of each other’s characteristics.


Music is the Cure

Would the Wizard of Oz have been such a hit without its soundtrack? Probably not. Without a doubt, a huge number of people love the film for its memorable soundtrack. From The Yellow Brick Road to Somewhere Over the Rainbow, The Wizard of Oz is full of songs which are still widely listened to and enjoyed in 2022. In an article from 2007, the soundtrack to The Wizard of Oz was voted as the greatest of all time and Spotify reports millions of listeners per year. The soundtrack was composed by Harold Arllen and the lyrics for many of the songs written by Yip Harburg. Somewhere Over the Rainbow in particular, tugs on the heartstrings of many of us. Arianna Grande sang her own version of the song during her One Love concert in Manchester. The concert was held in remembrance of the victims of the Manchester terrorist attack

A film’s soundtrack is often important when it comes to the longevity of a film’s popularity and the Wizard of Oz’ soundtrack is certainly one of the reasons why it is still such a loved film today.


Casting Makes Perfect

Judy Garland was pretty much unknown before she shot to fame after the release of The Wizard of Oz. FIlm critics stated that Garland had ‘The voice of an angel’. To this day, one of the most memorable film moments of all time is when the actress sings Somewhere Over the Rainbow with her little dog Toto looking up at her.

Garland was 16 when she starred in the role, although she was playing Dorothy who was only 12 years old. However, her portrayal of a brave and determined girl was portrayed to perfection.


Merchandising and Disney’s Great Movie Ride

Although it closed in 2017, The Wizard of Oz was one of the main themes and parts of The Great Movie Ride and Disneyland in Orlando, Florida. Upon encountering the Wicked Witch of the West, the travellers were told by the Little Munchkins to ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’ before the famous tune begins.

Like most successful films such as Star Wars, the creators have been able to take advantage of the merchandising rights.The Wizard of Oz had the perfect characters to make into toy figures for children to enjoy. In addition, there have been several different video games based on The Wizard of Oz including online slot games. There are some online casinos which will offer generous welcome bonuses for slots players which can be used on The Wizard of Oz online slot machine, for example. The owners to the rights of The Wizard of Oz will receive a commission for allowing the developers to use The Wizard of Oz theme.

We hope that the legacy of The Wizard of Oz will continue. The film is still relatable even after 83 years and it would be a travesty for new generations not to watch one of the classics of Hollywood cinema.

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