#194: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

When and how did I watch this?

November 5th, 2015, on a friend’s Plex account.

Had I seen this film already?

Yes, but not for a very long time, perhaps 25 years.

What did I know about the movie before watching it?

Everyone knows about this movie.  On Rotten Tomatoes, it’s ranked #1, and for good reason: it has a permanent spot in American film lore.  I learned about rural Kansas, tornadoes, munchkins/dwarves, courage, and true evil from this movie as a child.  People still associate ruby slippers with Dorothy, and striped socks with the late Wicked Witch of the East. We’re enchanted by the scarecrow, the tin man, and the lion characters.  Lines like “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” “I’ll get you, my pretty,” and “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” are etched into our daily speech. I could say I know “everything” about the movie before watching it simply because it’s everywhere.

What do I know about it now?

Several lines escaped my memory (“Well, some people without brains do an awful lot of talking don’t they?” or “Now I know I’ve got a heart, ’cause it’s breaking,” and several of Oz’s lines that are too abundant to repeat), along with several terrifying scenes. The Wicked Witch really is wicked and scary.  Flying monkeys are also scary. The film used color contrast to perfection at times despite being one of the first films to employ color at all. The effects were sort of ruined with the HD remastering I watched, but the fantastic aspect of the landscape remained intact nonetheless. I got chills from the scenes I’d selectively forgotten along with the breathtaking moments I simply couldn’t comprehend at a young age. It revived a lot of fond memories, yet took me to another place for a while — and that’s what movies like this were all about.

What are some themes in the film?

Selfishness/pride, home, perseverance, good/evil, destiny, contentment

Did this affect me personally?

Of course it did.  There are zero movies like The Wizard of Oz.

Why is this ranked #194?

I have no idea.  I think the next 193 movies are stuffed with violence and sci-fi films, though none done as masterfully as this one, especially in 1939. It’s hard to imagine any Toy Story or Die Hard or Kill Bill are better than this.  It’s a bit confusing.

Did my wife watch/like it?

Of course she did.

Would I watch it again?

Yes.

Would I recommend it to a friend?

That’s hilarious.

Does it deserve to be on this list as one of the greatest films of all time?

I don’t think I need to waste time answering this question.

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