The Wizard of Oz 1939

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The Wizard of Oz ★★★★ 1939

From the book by L. Frank Baum. Fantasy about a Kansas farm girl (Garland, in her immortal role) who rides a tornado to a brightly colored world over the rainbow, full of talking scarecrows, munchkins and a wizard who bears a strange resemblance to a Kansas fortune-teller. She must outwit the Wicked Witch if she is ever to go home. Delightful performances from Lahr, Bolger, and Hamilton; King Vidor is uncredited as co-director. Director Fleming originally wanted Deanna Durbin or Shirley Temple for the role of Dorothy, but settled for Garland who made the song “Over the Rainbow” her own. She received a special Academy Award for her performance. For the 50th anniversary of its release, “The Wizard of Oz” was re-stored and includes rare film clips of Bolger's “Scarecrow Dance” and the cut “Jitterbug” number, and shots by Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man before he became ill and left the production. Another special release of the film, “The Ultimate Oz,” contains a documentary on the making of the film, a reproduction of the original script, still photos, and liner notes. ♫Munchkinland; Ding Dong the Witch is Dead; Follow the Yellow Brick Road; If I Only Had a Brain/a Heart/the Nerve; If I Were the King of the Forest; The Merry Old Land of Oz; Threatening Witch; Into the Forest of the Wild Beast; The City Gates are Open. 101m/C VHS, DVD . Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Charley Grapewin, Clara Blandick, Mitchell Lewis, Billie Burke; D: Victor Fleming; W: Noel Langley; C: Harold Rosson; M: Herbert Stothart. Oscars ‘39: Song (“Over the Rainbow”), Orig. Score; AFI ‘98: Top 100, Natl. Film Reg. ‘89.