The Wizard of Oz (1939)

A true classic. Everything about it is iconic and cinematic.

For all the many merits and joyous aspects of the film, it’s one of those films I have trouble divorcing the real-world context from, which affects my enjoyment of it. Judy Garland’s life, particularly during the production of the film, was such a terrible tragedy that, as spellbinding as scenes like “Somewhere over the Rainbow” are, I find it difficult to sink into the joy the film is peddling in some scenes when I know how little joy there was behind it for her. Between the director assaulting her to try and get better takes, the studio forcing a diet of chicken soup, coffee, and eighty cigarettes a day” on her, executives molesting her, the disparity between the wondrous escapsim of Oz and the terrible reality Garland actually lived in makes for uncomfortable viewing.

I imagine a lot of this is down to the film not having a huge cultural impact on my life, as it’s less of a phenomenon in my country, and I didn’t see the film as a child. So the film doesn’t exist as much as a story in its own right in my mind. It’s all muddled up with the history and production of it.

2

It’s a great film, I just wish everyone involved had as sunny a time making it as their characters did in Oz. I give it four winged monkeys, and a terrier.

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