Movie Review by Debbie Winkler
Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton
Director: Victor Fleming
Release Date: 25 August 1939
Length: 101 minutes
Movie Rating: G
View Format: DVD
My Rating: 5/5 stars
“There’s no place like home for young Dorothy (Judy Garland), who’s been swept away from her farm in Kansas to a wonderland of munchkins, flying monkeys and different-colored horses. She must follow the Yellow Brick Road to the all-knowing Wizard of Oz to find her way home. Along the way, she meets the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), the Tin Man (Jack Haley) and the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who help her fend off the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton).” — Netflix.com
What can I say? Classic almost doesn’t even begin to describe this movie. It is one of the foremost musicals of all time and, now that it has been restored, it is available and appealing to a whole new generation of audiences. The songs and lines in this movie are legend and just about everyone knows some of the quotes and bylines of this movie (“lions and tigers and bears, oh my!). Also, I don’t know anyone who is not familiar with “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” especially as you see it regularly performed by seasoned artists and wanna-bes like those on American Idol. And if the sight of a green-faced woman doesn’t send chills down your spine and see you reaching for a glass of water, then you are made of stronger stuff than I was when I was a kid!
I had a wonderful time rewatching this movie and just enjoyed every moment. The colors and creatures of Oz are so much more vibrant and life-like than what I remember from the last time I watched and I learned that they spent a lot of time and care restoring this film. The special features were very interesting to watch on this topic and I learned a lot about how you can remaster an older movie in both audio and visual aspects. They also have a few other special features that I enjoyed including getting to know the actors who played the main characters (except Judy Garland oddly enough) narrated by Angela Lansbury, an excellent little number featuring an abridged version of the original The Wonderful Wizard of Oz story narrated by Angela Lansbury, but featuring some of the original illustrations, as well as multiple viewing options including a commentary by many of the actors and actresses in the film, original audio version and more! This DVD was super fun and contained lots of special features that really made the rental worth it.
If you have not seen this movie, you are depriving yourself (and your family and/or children) of a real treat. There is something for everyone in this movie and children will delight in the adventures of Dorothy as she travels across the fantastical world of Oz. Though this movie version contains very little resemblance to the original book version (aside from the 4 main characters), this is the best-known and best-loved version that most people remember. The new version is definitely worth renting or purchasing for your permanent DVD collection.
This movie contains a few mildly scary moments and very mild violence. Young children may be frightened of the Wicked Witch of the West and her flying monkeys, but she does not really harm anyone or pop out unexpectedly so I think most kids will be okay. With vibrant colors, interesting creatures and lots of entertaining music, this musical should appear to viewers of all ages. Recommended for ages 3 and up.