Weekend Movie Review – “The Wizard Of Oz (1939)”

We’ve finally gotten around to reviewing the movie that is as revered by family audiences as it is by stoned Pink Floyd fans.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale
Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel, the Wizard of Oz, and various others
Ray Bolger as Hunk and the Scarecrow
Bert Lahr as Zeke and the Cowardly Lion
Jack Haley as Hickory and the Tin Woodsman
Billie Burke as Glinda, the good Witch of the North
Margaret Hamilton as Miss Gulch and the wicked Witch of the West

Noel Langly, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf wrote the screenplay, based on L. Frank Baum’s novel(s).
Directed by Victor Fleming.

Buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca.


A Kansas farmgirl either was swept away to a magical fairy tale land where a “good” witch manipulates her into staying long enough to kill a bad witch, or
was conked on the head by a broken window hard enough to make her quite delusional.

High Point

“The square root of two sides of an isoceles triangle is equal to the square root of the other side.” Despite the crack on “The Simpsons,” this doesn’t even work for a right triangle. The Scarecrow clearly says the square root, not the square. The brainless character who did all of the planning for the entire group demonstrated more intelligence gathering apples than he did with degree in hand. I find this far more entertaining than any teacher should.

Low Point

This high quality DVD transfer makes all sorts of details visible that weren’t visible before, such as the wires used to control the lion’s tail, among other things.

The Scores

This suffers from the usual adaptation problem with originality. Moreover, this was far from the first adaptation. The 3 disc collection linked above includes several of the previous versions. I suspect the main reason this originally bombed at the box office was that audiences were just plain tired of adaptations of The Wizard Of Oz. That being said, it does take several liberties in the adaptation that set it apart from previous versions. I give it 3 out of 6.

The effects, though revealed by the quality of this transfer, are still pretty good, and have aged very well over the past 68 years. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is pretty simple and straightforward, and much more logical in its conclusion if you assume ulterior motives on the part of Glinda right from her introduction. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is the typical overacting of the day. The actors involved were still trained for work on the stage more than work with film. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is still good after repeated viewings. This is a family classic for a reason. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is still impressive today, particularly given the set pieces and costumes involved. This is a fairy tale land come to life. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this still stands as the best produced (if not the most accurate) adaptation of the novel, and is enjoyable even today. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, The Wizard Of Oz receives 31 out of 42.