The fact that a MGM musical is still celebrated by cinema lovers world over is an astonishing certitude. But after watching The Wizard Of Oz, I laugh in the face of the qualms I had regarding this movie before watching it. There isn’t a movie worthy enough of its position in world cinema than this adaptation of the Frank Baum classic by Victor Fleming.
I won’t get myself in the trouble of trying to explain its plot for the moment, for it’s as famous as the movie itself and so silly yet genius that I haven’t yet developed such a mastery of English language that it can be summarized by me within a paragraph.
The movie is a celebration of everything that we love about fantasies – characters reeking of innocence in a world which doesn’t. But rather than praising its beautiful and hilarious songs, the wonderful production design or the fabulous performances, I would much like to dedicate this post to why this MGM musical of 1939 still holds its ground in a world so strongly inhibited by the likes of Kubrick and Hitchcock and everyone else. And the only reason which seems to transpires before me except for the historical importance it reeks of for the use of Technicolor is the plot of the movie.
So, the movie’s central protagonist is Dorothy Gale who as you might know, unless you have been living under a rock for the entire course of your lifetime, gets transported by a cyclone to the land of Oz where she meets the Scarecrow (one who wishes for a brain), Tin Man (one who wishes for a heart) and the Cowardly Lion (one who wishes for courage). Together, they embark on the journey to Crystal Palace, to meet Oz who will fulfil all their desires. (A paragraph which seems to contradict my earlier statement about summarizing the plot of this movie in a paragraph, but believe me, reading this and thinking you now know the entirety of the plot of this movie would be to look at one brick of the Great Wall Of China and say that’s all there is to it)
The Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion for me seem to epitome the innermost desires of Dorothy’s which seems to give the entire movie a surreal underlining which I will go into later. The Scarecrow seems to be a metaphorical representation of Dorothy’s yearning, or more better a child’s yearning, to be considered equal in his/her intelligence by the adults. In the beginning one can see how Dorothy’s family members seem to dispose of her troubles without giving it a moment’s thought, most probably giving her the idea that they consider her asinine, and thus the yearning to be intelligent.
The origin of Cowardly Lion can be traced back to when Zeke advises Dorothy to be a little brave while facing Almira Gulch. Dorothy’s reluctance to accept her consternation about Gulch seems to be the reason why the Cowardly Lion seems so unabating in making his cowardly nature so obtrusive.
Then what about the Tin Man who wishes for a heart to feel with, a quality which Dorothy seems so abound of ? I believe this is her yearning for Miss Almira Gulch, which further affirms her goodness. Although the Wicked Witch of the West seems to be a representation of Gulch I believe it is restricted here to only her physicality and her hate for Toto. Tin Man here possesses the same yearning which Dorothy wishes came true for Gulch as well, thus making him a projection of the Gulch Dorothy wants her to be.
And about Oz itself ? It seems much to be a work of Dorothy’s subconscious rather than a parallel reality. The fact that the passage of time in the dream world is much faster than compared to the real world also explains the length of the journey as well. It seems Dorothy’s subconscious creates a world of imagination, inhibits it with characters which are reflections of her own self and introspect about her existence.
Or is this reading too much into nothing ? Is my chain of thought reminiscent of the way the adults in the movie reject the notion of Oz at the end of the movie ?
Whatever it may be, the creation of a child’s innocent subconscious or an unimaginable reality, The Wizard Of Oz is one of the most delightful movies to have ever come out and had me from that moment where Aunt Em says to Almira that ‘Miss Gulch, I now know exactly what I think about you, but I can’t say it because I am a Catholic’.
RATING :- 9.4 / 10
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