**The Wizard of Oz will be shown this weekend, Sunday September 4th, at Tampa Theatre. This is a reprint of an earlier post… Here’s the link to another Wizard of Oz post-this one is definitely on my top 10 list of Favorite Films of all time!
So much has been written about this very special film. And when someone recently asked me, a person that has screened hundreds if not thousands of movies through the years, what my favorite film is, The Wizard of Oz just popped out. It came out in a year, 1939, when so many spectacular films were released, that it could have simply disappeared if it had not been so dynamic and magical.
But the cast and crew were perfectly suited to the material. And the fantasy seemed to work for a world on the verge of a horribly cruel war. The timeless innocence of the characters and the beautiful colors and memorable scenes all melded together to create this magical vision of a life beyond our own plane of existence.
In some ways, the Cinematic Universe that many have credited George Lucas with creating in Star Wars is a place that was already imagined in this realm somewhere over the rainbow in another galaxy far, far away. The validation for our love of this film comes when we hear that many new devotees of the film are citizens of the international community as they screen this movie for children and adults who are living in refugee camps. The timeless quality of this film transcends the boundaries of speech and culture.
Here is one amusing note about the origins of the characters in the Wizard of Oz. Of course, the film is based on a series of children’s books by L Frank Baum. And when it was published in 1900, the characters of the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion were said to have a dual meaning.
The Wizard of Oz story was seen by some as a parable for the US Gold Standard in the late 1800’s. The Scarecrow represented the US Farmers. And the Tin Man was representative of the industrial workers, who faced a staggering unemployment rate of 18%! Hence, the Tin Man is seen as beleaguered and completely frozen.
The Cowardly Lion was representative of William Jennings Bryan, the famous statesman who was also a strong proponent for keeping on the Gold Standard. And the Emerald City was said to represent Washington D.C., where one can only see through a lens of green (which meant money). The Gold Standard would be the famous Yellow Brick Road that Dorothy follows at the urging of the Munchkins. Following the Yellow Brick road would mean staying on the Gold Standard.
All of this is conjecture, but it’s a fun and different way to view a film most of us have seen many times before. Even after many viewings, the film still manages to stay fresh and endearing as it was at its debut back in 1939.
Some other facts about The Wizard of Oz. The famous film version with Judy Garland was actually the third movie adaptation of the book. The first film was made in 1910 and the second silent version, from 1925, featured a promising actor named Oliver Hardy who played the Tin Man.
Tampa Theatre will screen “The Wizard of Oz” this Sunday, June 7th at 3:00 pm.