Friday, January 17, 2014

01/17: The Wizard Of Oz

You'll probably expect a great, detailed, lengthy review for this one. After all....its officially been a week since I've been doing this blog. So how about a celebration with one of the greatest movies ever made?

I'll be frank. One of the reasons I'm already doing a review on Oz is because: once a week, I look at recent celebrity deaths on Wikipedia. I noticed that Ruth Duccini passed away yesterday at the age of 95. Ruth who? It turns out she was the last surviving female from the 1939 Oz film. (Duccini, while uncredited, played one of the Munchkins.) So to coincide with such, I figured I might as well write a review for The Wizard Of Oz.

It seems that a certain percentage of people, no matter what generation since 1939, has seen the Wizard Of Oz before they were age 20. When I was still in my twenties, I actually knew a few people who have not seen it and they were younger than me. I always thought that since they always showed this on TV and most likely schools would show it on leisure days, boys and girls would automatically have a piece of the tale with them through their teenage years.

Still, it has a piece of pop culture and has influenced everything in generations forward. And it still does. Just last year James Franco played The Wizard in a prequel to this movie. (I have yet to see it) Dozens of spin-offs and similarities have came out over the year. The 1939 version is even considered to be a remake of the 1925 silent version (which I also have yet to see). Songs during the rock era, have been influenced by Oz, including 'Tin Man' by America and 'Goodbye Yellow Brick Road' by Elton John. And of course, there's still the whole conspiracy behind playing the 'Dark Side of the Moon' album while drunk or on drugs while watching this movie. I've actually heard a few people say it works.....

Now, on with the review: Hey, what can I say. I can't say it's a favorite movie of mine or a Top 10 one, but it was one worth watching over and over and to share with others as well as your future children. There's the characters, who teach us about courage, confidence, and many other personality traits. Who wouldn't dig the psychedelic beginning of the yellow brick road? To me, the moral of the movie is: never be afraid and live life. Take plenty of opportunity. That message is seemingly hidden throughout the movie. I believe what makes this movie so phenomenal was because of that, and again, the characters. And what about the famous quotes? Too many to list, but I hope you know what I'm thinking. And in all honesty, I'm not sure what to think of most of the musical performances as I overlook them, even Judy Garland's 'Over The Rainbow' scene.

Scholars today note the film for many influential technical advancements for its time, along with its use of makeup and stunts. Speaking of makeup, Buddy Ebsen (who we all know as Jed Clampett in the Beverly Hillbillies), was originally supposed to play the Tin Man, but he had to bow out due to his allergic reaction to the makeup. Since Buddy Ebsen is from a nearby town, Belleville, IL, that is widely noted in my area. As of this writing there is a picture of him as the Tin Man on Wikipedia.

Perfect for any weekend family movie viewing. Sometimes I wonder if parents of today would consider it to violent or 'a little heavy' on crudeness. I say just keep an open mind....

My review: 8 out of 10

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