Movie Review: The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz Trailer

The Wizard of Oz Summary

In sepia-toned Kansas, Dorothy Gale lives with her Cairn Terrier, Toto, on a farm belonging to her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, who employ the quirky farmhands Zeke, Hunk and Hickory. Toto bites the wealthy and grouchy Miss Almira Gulch on the leg, leading her to obtain a sheriff’s order to have him destroyed. Miss Gulch takes Toto away, but he escapes and returns to Dorothy; she decides to run away to save her dog. Not far from the farm, she runs into Professor Marvel, a charlatan fortune-teller who uses his crystal ball to make Dorothy believe that Aunt Em is heartbroken. Dorothy rushes home as a tornado approaches. Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the farmhands take shelter in the storm cellar and lock it behind them. Dorothy has to seek shelter in her bedroom, where the window is blown in and hits her on the head, knocking her unconscious. The house is sent spinning into the air, and she awakens to see various figures fly by, including Miss Gulch, who transforms into a witch, flying on a broomstick.

The movie shifts to Technicolor as Dorothy’s house lands in Munchkinland in the Land of Oz. Glinda the Good Witch of the North and the Munchkins welcome her as a heroine, as the falling house has killed the Wicked Witch of the East. As the Munchkins celebrate the end of their enslavement by the witch, the Wicked Witch of the West — the same witch Dorothy saw in the cyclone — arrives to claim her sister’s ruby slippers, but Glinda transfers them onto Dorothy’s feet. Enraged, the Witch swears revenge on Dorothy and vanishes. Glinda tells Dorothy to follow the Yellow Brick Road to Emerald City, where she can ask the Wizard of Oz to help her return home. On her journey, Dorothy meets a Scarecrow, who wants a brain; a Tin Woodman, who seeks a heart; and a Cowardly Lion, who desires courage; the three resemble her aunt and uncle’s farmhands. She invites them to accompany her and ask the Wizard for what they lack. Despite the Witch’s attempts to stop them with sleeping spells and other magic, they reach the city and see the Wizard, who appears as a giant ghostly head. He agrees to grant their requests if they bring him the Witch’s broomstick.

As they make their way to the Witch’s castle, the Witch sends her winged monkeys to capture Dorothy. With Dorothy captured and brought to her, the Witch tries to take off the slippers. But after they harm her, she realizes that the slippers will only be removed after Dorothy’s life ends. She turns over an hourglass full of blood-red sand and leaves Dorothy to die. Toto escapes and leads her three friends to the castle. They ambush three guards, don their uniforms, and free Dorothy. The Witch and more guards pursue and surround them. The Witch sets fire to the Scarecrow, causing Dorothy to toss a bucket of water on him, inadvertently splashing the Witch, who melts until only her black witch outfit remains. The guards rejoice and give Dorothy her broomstick. Upon their return, the Wizard stalls in fulfilling his promises until Toto pulls back a curtain, exposing the “Wizard” as a con man operating machinery; he resembles Professor Marvel, the fortune-teller Dorothy met back in Kansas. Admitting to being a humbug, he insists he is “a good man, but a bad wizard.” He gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Lion a medal, and the Tin Man a ticking heart-shaped clock, helping them see that they already had what they wanted all along. He offers to take Dorothy and Toto home in his hot air balloon, revealing that he is also from Kansas and was originally a carnival showman before his balloon escaped Kansas and brought him to the Emerald City.

As Dorothy and the Wizard prepare to depart, the Wizard places the Scarecrow in charge of Emerald City, with the Tin Man and Lion as his aides. Toto sees a cat and leaps from Dorothy’s arms. As Dorothy pursues Toto, the balloon departs with the Wizard. Glinda then appears and tells Dorothy that she has always had the power to return home using the ruby slippers. After Dorothy bids the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion farewell, Glinda instructs her to tap her heels together three times and say: “There’s no place like home.” When Dorothy does, she awakens in her bedroom, surrounded by her family and friends. Everyone dismisses her adventure as a dream, but Dorothy insists it was real, noting that she saw them in Oz. She says she will never run away again and declares: “There’s no place like home!”, closing the movie.

The Wizard of Oz Review

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A classic that should be viewed by all.

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