BP’s Top 100 Movie Challenge #44: The Wizard of Oz, by Sarah Brinks

18 Jul

I decided to undertake a movie challenge in 2017. This seemed like a good way to see some classic movies that I have unfortunately never seen. The Battleship Pretension Top 100 list provided such a challenge.

The Wizard of Oz is yet another movie on the Battleship Pretension Top 100 list that I grew up watching. It’s only been a few years since I have last watched this film and it was just as magical this time as it was when I was a child. I have always loved the story of The Wizard of Oz and was very happy to return to it for the Battleship Pretension Top 100 challenge. I recently had a conversation with some coworkers about The Wizard of Oz and one person said she didn’t like the film because it was too weird for her. I agree that it is weird but it works for me.

It seems that a lot of people were traumatized by the flying monkeys when they were kids but for some reason that was never the scary part for me. I was kind of scared of everything as a kid and the Wicked Witch/Miss Gulch and the Wizard were the scary parts for me. Watching the film again I felt the way The Wicked Witch tortured Dorothy and threatened her friends was upsetting. Especially the part with the poison poppies. She was desperate enough for those shoes to kill for them and that is really menacing.

The moment when Dorothy steps out of the house into Munchkinland and the world is suddenly in vibrant color still gives me goosebumps. I can only imagine what it was like back in 1939 but even today Dorothy’s introduction to Oz feels magical. I found myself singing along to all the songs and saying the dialogue along with the characters. The musical numbers are so fun to watch, especially the songs sung by The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. They each get such a fun moment in the spotlight and they are really catchy songs.

I love the dual roles of the people from Kansas showing up in Oz in different forms. The most effective dual casting for me is Miss Gulch as The Wicked Witch. Miss Gulch really is a nasty woman and is very mean to adorable, loyal Toto so for her to be cast as an evil witch works. The other dual role I really love is Professor Marvel as The Wizard of Oz (and the gatekeeper, and the guard, and coach driver). He is charming and a little dishonest as the Professor and equally dishonest as the Wizard but it really works in the story.

I streamed this from Amazon and the version of the film that I watched was dedicated to viewers who have stayed “young at heart”, which I think is a lovely sentiment. But I think there are other great morals and messages to take away from the film about the importance of kindness and friendship. This version was beautiful, I admit to knowing very little about the technical aspects of transferring films to digital formats but the image was bright, clear, and very colorful. But it had also been edited a little. That weird moment after the group picks up The Tin Man and there is that figure swinging in the background is gone. It wasn’t a big deal it was just noticeable in places.

I think The Wizard of Oz is the perfect blend of magic, monsters, music, and technical marvel. It is a classic and absolutely belongs on this list and I think it will stand the test of time and be a film people will watch for a long, long time.

I’ve decided to rate each film using an arbitrary scale based on the board game Battleship (lowest: Destroyer, Submarine, Cruiser, Battleship, highest: Carrier)

The Wizard of Oz ranking: Carrier

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