"The Wizard of Oz" Movie Information

by Shawn Lealos

"The Wizard of Oz" has been a beloved family movie for decades.

Getty Images/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

"The Wizard of Oz" is a popular classic fantasy movie from 1939 based on the fantasy novel by L. Frank Baum. The movie features many iconic characters, such as the Munchkins, and memorable locations, such as the Yellow Brick Road. It also features the use of Technicolor, which made the Land of Oz stand out from rural Kansas in the movie. It received six Oscar nominations, including Best Picture.

The Cast of Characters

"The Wizard of Oz" used a method of casting where actors play multiple roles. Everyone who appears in Kansas also appears in Oz, other than Uncle Henry, with only Dorothy and Toto appearing in both places as the same character. While in Oz, Dorothy meets three allies on her way to see the Wizard, including the Scarecrow, looking for a brain; Tin Man, looking for a heart; and the Cowardly Lion, searching for courage. The group finds themselves on the run from the Wicked Witch of the West, who in Kansas is a busybody who tries to take Toto away from Dorothy.

Living in Kansas

The film differentiates Oz from Kansas through the use of color. While in Kansas, everything happens in sepia tones. Dorothy lives with her Aunt Em and Uncle Henry while Hunk, Zeke and Hickory work on their farm as handymen. Also in Kansas is the evil Miss Gulch, a woman who always brothers Dorothy, and Professor Marvel, a man who tells Dorothy about the wide world outside of Kansas.

We're Not in Kansas Anymore

As soon as Dorothy ends up in Oz, everything changes from sepia into brilliant Technicolor. It is here that Dorothy's house lands on and kills the Witch of the East, earning the wrath of the Wicked Witch of the West. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, sends Dorothy to Oz to ask the Wizard to help her return home. Once the movie switches from Kansas to Oz, everything is brighter, including her path down the Yellow Brick Road, until the Wicked Witch sends her flying monkeys in to attack the heroes.

The Land of Oz

Along the way to Oz, Dorothy picks up her friends, Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. The actors who portrayed her family's handymen play these individuals in Oz. By the time the group reaches Oz, they gain audience with the Wizard, only to learn he demands they bring him the Wicked Witch of the West's broom before he helps them. Once they achieve this and defeat the Witch, they learn the Wizard is a fraud and cannot help them return home. Luckily, all Dorothy has to do is click her heels together while stating that there is no place like home to live happily ever after.

About the Author

Shawn Lealos has been writing professionally since 1996. His articles have appeared in magazines such as Inside Sports and on websites such as 411mania.com. He works as a film critic and is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Lealos received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Gaylord School of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma in 2000.

Photo Credits

  • Getty Images/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images