The Wizard of Oz is one of the biggest American Musicals in film. It has become known world wide, it is apart of our American popular culture, and is best known of all films. It was based on the novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz written by L. Frank Baum in the 1900s. It was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayar in the year of 1939. This film just hit the end of the “Golden Age of the Musical” that started in the early 1930s. MGM benefited greatly from the hit of the rebirth of musicals.
It’s known for the use of technicolor which is a system of making color motion pictures by means of superimposing the three primary colors to produce a final colored print (Websters Dictionary), fantasy storytelling, interesting and creative characters, and the musicality imbedded into it. There was also a complex use of special effects for film in that specific time era which helped the film receive special notice. MGM’s film had many awards but one of the most famous one was the award of Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow.”
It was sung by Judy Garland as Dorothy just five minutes into the movie after she was trying to get her Aunt and Uncle to come to a realization of what happened to her poor little dog Toto. In the beginning of the film “Over the Rainbow” is played by MGM orchestra over the starting credits. There is a big taste of fantasy in this particular film which kind of in a way departs away from the musical genre. There is many scenes of flying monkeys, and the wicked witch of the West and Glinda, the good witch of the South, and the munchkins, and talking lions, and a tin man, and a talking scarecrow.
There are many musical scenes that I am fond of in The Wizard of Oz like the scarecrow’s song “If I only had a Brain”, the tin man’s song “If I only had a Heart” and the lion’s song “If I only had the Nerve”. The Wizard of Oz was the famous directors, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayar’s, most popular musical in his time. Starring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale was one of the best professional choices MGM had in his career. She was the stand out in the whole film.
Also starring Frank Morgan as the wizard, Ray Bolger as the scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Man, Bert Lahr as the cowardly lion, Billie Burke as Glinda the good witch of the south, and Margaret Hamilton as the wicked witch of the west. “Somewhere over the Rainbow” became Judy Garland’s signature song. She has been in 32 of MGM’s films and she won a Golden Globe Award, Grammy Awards and the Special Tony Award. She was then nominated the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “A Star is Born”. Everyone of the lead rolls in The Wizard of Oz has been in many of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayar’s other films.