The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Front Cover Actor
Clara Blandick Auntie Em
Ray Bolger Hunk / The Scarecrow
Billie Burke Glinda, the Good Witch
Judy Garland Dorothy Gale
Jack Haley The Tin Woodsman / Hickory
Margaret Hamilton The Wicked Witch of the West / Miss Gulch
Bert Lahr The Cowardly Lion / Zeke
Frank Morgan Prof. Marvel / The Wizard of Oz
Carol Tevis Munchkin [Voice]
Pat Walshe Nikko
Movie Details
Genre Children
Director Victor Fleming; Richard Thorpe; King Vidor
Language English
Audience Rating G (General Audience)
Running Time 101 mins
Country USA
Color Color
Plot
The third and definitive film adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's fantasy, this musical adventure is a genuine family classic that made Judy Garland a star for her heartfelt performance as Dorothy Gale, an orphaned young girl unhappy with her drab black-and-white existence on her aunt and uncle's dusty Kansas farm. Dorothy yearns to travel "over the rainbow" to a different world, and she gets her wish when a tornado whisks her and her little dog Toto to the Technicolorful land of Oz. Having offended the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), Dorothy is protected from the old crone's wrath by the ruby slippers that she wears. At the suggestion of Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), Dorothy heads down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, where dwells the all-powerful Wizard of Oz, who might be able to help the girl return to Kansas. En route, she befriends a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr). The Scarecrow would like to have some brains, the Tin Man craves a heart, and the Lion wants to attain courage; hoping that the Wizard will help them too, they join Dorothy on her odyssey to the Emerald City. Garland was MGM's second choice for Dorothy after Shirley Temple dropped out of the project; and Bolger was to have played the Tin Man but talked co-star Buddy Ebsen into switching roles. When Ebsen proved allergic to the chemicals used in his silver makeup, he was replaced by Haley. Gale Sondergaard was originally to have played the Wicked Witch of the West in a glamorous fashion, until the decision was made to opt for belligerent ugliness, and the Wizard was written for W.C. Fields, who reportedly turned it down because MGM couldn't meet his price. Although Victor Fleming, who also directed Gone With the Wind, was given sole directorial credit, several directors were involved in the shooting, included King Vidor, who shot the opening and closing black-and-white sequences. Harold Arlen's and E.Y. Harburg's now-classic Oscar-winning song "Over the Rainbow" was nearly chopped from the picture after the first preview, because it "slowed down the action." The Wizard of Oz was too expensive to post a large profit; and, after a disappointing reissue in 1955, it was sold to network television, where its annual showings made it a classic. — Hal Erickson
Personal Details
Seen It Yes
Index 126
Collection Status In Collection
Links All Movie Guide
Amazon US
Product Details
Format DVD
Region Region 1
UPC 012569512320
Release Date 9/14/2004
Nr of Disks/Tapes 1
Extra Features
Color Black & White Closed-captioned Dolby