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The Wizard Of Oz Film Essay

Movie analysis paper on Wizard of Oz (1939)

Published under category: Essay Writing Tips | 2015-05-06 22:50:00 UTC

Context: Film analysis

The following is an international student custom writing analysis of the Wizard of Oz movie Analysis of the movie through the formalist procedure is a method through which a movie is analyzed. The procedure would involve an analysis of the characters in the movie and the effects that are related to the movie. It is interesting to note that the movie and its characters would tell all that there is to know about the movie. The paper looks to establish the actualization of the theory through an examination of the movie ‘The wizard of Oz’ (Christopher). The wizard of Oz is a movie of an American production. Director Victor Fleming has been acclaimed for the production of this movie. The one hundred and two minute movie has been classified to fall within the genre of adventure, family, and fantasy. It was released in the United States on twenty fifth of august 1939. The film features Judy Garland, who started as Dorothy Gale, the girl who was swooped into a magical land in a tornado. She starts off in a quest to see the wizard who allegedly can help her back to Kansas. Frank Morgan as a professor Marvel also referred to as a wizard, Ray Bolger as Hunk or the scarecrow, Bert Lahr as a cowardly lion, Billie Burke as Glinda the good witch of the north. Cinematography of the movie has been done by Harold Rosson. The story introduces the young orphaned teenager living with her auntie En and uncle Henryon in a small farm in Kansas in 1990s. Dorothy Gale is day dreaming about her going over the rainbow after Miss Gulch with her dog Toto with a rake making it bite her. Miss Gulch goes and gets a warrant to take Toto to the sheriff. Toto on the other hand escapes from the basket on her bicycle where she had placed it and runs back home. Out of fear that Miss Gulch might come back to take Toto again, Dorothy runs away from home. She meets a wandering fraud fortuneteller, The Wizard, who soon realizes that Dorothy is a run away. With the intent of reuniting her with her family, he pretends to tell her future. He tells her that her auntie has fallen ill from worrying over her and her safety after she ran away. Upon returning home, she finds that their home is faced with a tornado. She is unable to reach her family in the storm cellar, so she enters the house and she is hit by a loose window. She is knocked unconscious and apparently starts dreaming. She is swiped with her dog and her house from her sepia-toned world to the magical, beautiful, dangerous, and Technicolor Land of Oz. Her house is dropped directly on the Wicked Witch killing her on the spot. She used to rule the land of the Munchkins, and for sometimes the little people think that Dorothy is a witch. The wicked witch threatens her for killing her sister. She is, however, protected by Glinda who gives her the dead witches enchanted Ruby Slippers. She is advised to seek the help of the Wizard of Oz in Emerald City if she ever wants to get home. She takes the yellow brick road to get to the city but along the way she meets a talking scarecrow who wants to have a brain. With the hope that the wizard will help him he joins Dorothy on her quest for the wizard. They face Tin Woodman, who is rusty since he was caught on the rain. He wants to have a heart, so he decided to join the two on their quests too. The next to join this expedition is the coward lion who wants to have the courage. It is interesting to see the resemblance of the three workers who work for her aunt and uncle in Kansas. On the way, they are faced with so many challenges. The Wicked Witch of the West is out to seek vengeance of the death of her sister. She sets traps that at times prove very difficult for the group and at times even tries to break their will so as to make sure they don’t get to the wizard. However, they finally get to achieve their goal and meet their target. They all get what they came for. The scarecrow is given a diploma, a medal of bravery for the lion, the Tin man gets a testimonial heart-shaped watch and the most important was Dorothy’s gift. He reveals that he comes from Kansas and offers to take Dorothy on a hot air balloon as his means of his travel. The trio are appointed in charge in the absence of the wizard. A twist is again presented in the end is when the balloon is taking off Toto runs after a cat, Dorothy runs after, and she is left by the balloon. The good witch appears and explains that all along Dorothy has had the power to go home. Tapping her heels together, she repeats ‘there’s no place like home’ and the Rudy Slippers takes her and Toto back home. There are so many differences that are noticed in the film as compared to the plot of the same story. Many of the difficulties that were encountered by Dorothy in the novel are not touched on in the film. In the book Dorothy’s time there is real unlike the movie where it is presented as a fantasy, a dream. The characters are also given different feels. Dorothy comes out as a damsel in distress yet in the book she rescues her friends. In the film, it could be counted to a number of more than forty differences. However, a close relation would link the movie to the book unlike other versions that had earlier been produced. The movie employees so many different special effects. In the 1939, the use of color in shooting a film was something that was considered special. The movie employs the three-strip Technicolor. The employment of the opening and the closing credit and finally the Kansas sequences which were filmed in black and white and colored in a sepia tone process. These are clearly seen on the scene where Aunty En appears in the crystal ball. It is interesting to note that the production has chosen a set of color that is employed in the movie. The use of anesthetic black and white color is noticeable in the film. The wizard of Oz has always been a classic that is appreciated and cherished by so many people. It was first released in 1949 and then was released again in 1955 and for many seasons it regularly featured in so many networks TV. Throughout generations, the movie has been incorporated as part of the classical institution of annual showings. It got aired during Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter time. The generation of this time considered it as part of the rite of passage for everyone. For decades, it has been seen by so many people and is the most memorable childhood influence of so many people. Looking at the records of library of congress it has been ranked as one of the most watched film in history. The different parts and scenes have become part of the memories of so many people over the years and have been honored by so many books and publications, TV Shows, and even pop groups. It has influenced so many people’s childhoods and shaped their characters in so many ways. It is a classic that is appreciated by so many people both young and old. The analysis of the movie has always been eye opening in so many features that one tends to ignore. It would have been easy to forget and even assume an aspect in the movie but through the study one easy notices the different outstanding aspects of filming as a skill. It gives one the feel of a hand on experience of film making. It would give students a keen eye in analyzing different issues not only film related but a general feel of everything around them. Initially, movies were all about entertainment and one could not take the life lessons from the film making. It was all about the beautiful girls the cool guys and the stunts in the movie. However, with analytical skills the movies would be given more than the pictures on the screen. They have a feel of relating to society and the factors that people relate with. Movies have themes that are related to society issues. While using the formalist approach one would look at the structure and form of the film. That is to say that the review does not only look at the external data to examine the film but also considers the internal data. The approach analyzes how the plot presents the story material. It looks at the way in which the plot is presented and how different it would have been offered should there be another approach offered. To have the viewer get the meaning then the approach taken would examine the character, setting, repetition to get the meaning. An analysis of the films use of a particular type of technique in filming would also be a factor to consider. It is a way in which the film is analyzed to give meaning to the theme of the movie. As much as the movies are for entertaining, they touch on issues that would be considered of paramount importance to the society. The society is presented with issues that through art they are given a considerable amount of time to be managed, and the viewers are given a chance to examine and scrutinize the issue. Through such skills that would require skilled analytical eye on issues an individual develops an analytical skill in issues handling of critical matter would develop an individual to analyze all scenarios before a situation is handled and solved. ORDER PLAGIARISM FREE PAPER

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    As a child I simply did not notice whether a movie was in color or not. The movies themselves were such an overwhelming mystery that if they wanted to be in black and white, that was their business. It was not until I saw "The Wizard of Oz" for the first time that I consciously noticed B&W versus color, as Dorothy was blown out of Kansas and into Oz. What did I think? It made good sense to me.

    The switch from black and white to color would have had a special resonance in 1939, when the movie was made. Almost all films were still being made in black and white, and the cumbersome new color cameras came with a “Technicolor consultant” from the factory, who stood next to the cinematographer and officiously suggested higher light levels. Shooting in color might have been indicated because the film was MGM's response to the huge success of Disney's pioneering color animated feature, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937).


    If “Wizard” began in one way and continued in another, that was also the history of the production. Richard Thorpe, the original director, was fired after 12 days. George Cukor filled in for three days, long enough to tell Judy Garland to lose the wig and the makeup, and then Victor Fleming took over. When Fleming went to “Gone With the Wind,” King Vidor did some of the Munchkin sequences, and the Kansas scenes.

    There were cast changes, too; after Buddy Ebsen, as the Tin Man, had an allergic reaction to the silvery makeup, he was replaced by Jack Haley. Musical numbers were recorded and never used. Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West) was seriously burned when she went up in a puff of smoke. Even Toto was out of commission for two weeks after being stepped on by a crewmember.

    We study all of these details, I think, because “The Wizard of Oz” fills such a large space in our imagination. It somehow seems real and important in a way most movies don't. Is that because we see it first when we’re young? Or simply because it is a wonderful movie? Or because it sounds some buried universal note, some archetype or deeply felt myth?

    I lean toward the third possibility, that the elements in “The Wizard of Oz” powerfully fill a void that exists inside many children. For kids of a certain age, home is everything, the center of the world. But over the rainbow, dimly guessed at, is the wide earth, fascinating and terrifying. There is a deep fundamental fear that events might conspire to transport the child from the safety of home and strand him far away in a strange land. And what would he hope to find there? Why, new friends, to advise and protect him. And Toto, of course, because children have such a strong symbiotic relationship with their pets that they assume they would get lost together.

    This deep universal appeal explains why so many different people from many backgrounds have a compartment of their memory reserved for “The Wizard of Oz.” Salman Rushdie, growing up in Bombay, remembers that seeing the film at 10 “made a writer of me.” Terry McMillan, as an African-American child in northern Michigan, “completely identified when no one had time to listen to Dorothy.” Rushdie wrote that the film's “driving force is the inadequacy of adults, even of good adults, and how the weakness of grownups forces children to take control of their own destinies.” McMillan learned about courage, about “being afraid but doing whatever it was you set out to do anyway.”


    They're touching on the key lesson of childhood, which is that someday the child will not be a child, that home will no longer exist, that adults will be no help because now the child is an adult and must face the challenges of life alone. But that you can ask friends to help you. And that even the Wizard of Oz is only human, and has problems of his own.

    “The Wizard of Oz” has a wonderful surface of comedy and music, special effects and excitement, but we still watch it six decades later because its underlying story penetrates straight to the deepest insecurities of childhood, stirs them and then reassures them. As adults, we love it because it reminds us of a journey we have taken. That is why any adult in control of a child is sooner or later going to suggest a viewing of “The Wizard of Oz.”

    Judy Garland had, I gather, an unhappy childhood (there are those stories about MGM quacks shooting her full of speed in the morning and tranquilizers at day's end), but she was a luminous performer, already almost17 when she played young Dorothy. She was important to the movie because she projected vulnerability and a certain sadness in every tone of her voice. A brassy young child star (a young Ethel Merman, say) would have been fatal to the material because she would have approached it with too much bravado. Garland’s whole persona projected a tremulous uncertainty, a wistfulness. When she hoped that troubles would melt like lemon drops, you believed she had troubles.

    Her friends on the Yellow Brick Road (the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion) were projections of every child's secret fears. Are we real? Are we ugly and silly? Are we brave enough? In helping them, Dorothy was helping herself, just as an older child will overcome fears by acting brave before a younger one.

    The actors (Jack Haley, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr) had all come up through a tradition of vaudeville and revue comedy, and played the characters with a sublime unself-consciousness. Maybe it helped that none of them knew they were making a great movie. They seem relaxed and loose in many scenes, as if the roles were a lark. L. Frank Baum's book had been filmed before (Oliver Hardy played the Tin Man in 1925), and this version, while ambitious, was overshadowed by the studio's simultaneous preparation of “Gone With the Wind.” Garland was already a star when she made “Wizard,” but not a great star--that came in the 1940s, inspired by “Wizard.”


    The special effects are glorious in that old Hollywood way, in which you don't even have to look closely to see where the set ends and the backdrop begins. Modern special effects show *exactly* how imaginary scenes might look; effects then showed how we *thought* about them. A bigger Yellow Brick Road would not have been a better one.

    The movie's storytelling device of a dream is just precisely obvious enough to appeal to younger viewers. Dorothy, faced with a crisis (the loss of Toto), meets the intriguing Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan) on the road. She is befriended by three farm hands (Bolger, Haley and Lahr). Soon comes the fearsome tornado. (What frightened me was that you could see individual things floating by--for months I dreamed circling around and around while seated at the little desk in my bedroom, looking at classmates being swept mutely past me.) Then, after the magical transition to color, Dorothy meets the same characters again, so we know it's all a dream, but not really.

    There are good and bad adult figures in Oz--the Wicked Witches of the East and West, the Good Witch Glinda. Dorothy would like help from her friends but needs to help them instead (“If I Only Had a Brain,” or a heart, or nerve, they sing). Arriving at last at the Emerald City, they have another dreamlike experience; almost everyone they meet seems vaguely similar (because they’re all played by Morgan). The Wizard sends them on a mission to get the Wicked Witch's broom, and it is not insignificant that the key to Dorothy’s return to Kansas is the pair of ruby slippers. Grownup shoes.

    The ending has always seemed poignant to me. Dorothy is back in Kansas, but the color has drained from the film, and her magical friends are mundane once again. “The land of Oz wasn't such a bad place to be stuck in,” decided young Terry McMillan, discontented with her life in Michigan. “It beat the farm in Kansas.”

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