The Wizard of OZ

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The Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer business produced The Wizard of Oz in 1939. The cinema is an American film that falls into the musical subgenre of the fantasy genre. The tale is based on a children's book by Noel Langley and Frank Baum published in 1900. Additionally, the movie is a classic American family movie. Victor Fleming, the film's director, left the production to take on other projects, leading to the screenplay's crediting of various directors, including Edgar Allan Woolf, Florence Ryerson, and Noel Langley, but other uncredited participants were also involved (Dickins, Evangelista, & Baum, 2012). The songs in the movie were written by Edgar Harburg, music by Harold Arlen while incidental music and musical score were composed by Stothart. The cinematographer was Harold Rosson who played the major role as the chief over the light and camera crews as well as making technical and artistic decision associated with the pictures.

The major actresses and actors include Bert Lahr as Cowardly, Garland Judy as Dorothy Gale, Ray Bolger as effigy, Frank Morgan as magician, Haley Jack as Tin Woodman, Grapewin Charles as Uncle Henry and Billie Burke as the Good Witch. Also, Clara Blandick played as Aunt Em, Walshe Pat as Nikko and Margaret Hamilton represented Miss Gulch the wicked west shaman (Fleming et al., 2015). The artists Ray Bolger, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley played two parts each. The initial character listed for all actors was family, neighbour and friends of Dorothy in Kansas while the second character was their representative names in the OZ land. Dorothy was an orphaned young woman living together with her loving uncle and aunt in their farm located in Kansas. Each character is assigned particular role that helps in designing and portraying the themes of the movie such as witches and riches, safe at home and false prophets.

The fantasy genre of the movie contains incredible themes that are mostly magic, mythology, supernatural events or folklore. Also, the genre contains films that posses the component of escapism, wonder, magic, myth and extraordinary. The fantasy is evinced by the conversing animals, the air of the acid and magical witches (Dickins, Evangelista, & Baum, 2012). Similar to fantasies, most of the scenes happen in a place far from the real and the internal rules have to be observed. However, the fancy is not the dream section of the movie or about reality which makes it a fun for viewers to observe. Furthermore, the movie offers adult the chance to escape from the daily concerns and enjoy the vivid fantasy globe of OZ. Moreover, the genre makes the audiences to observe magical characters who created things that do not exist in the real world.

Similar to the fantasy variety of movies, the Wizard of OZ contains paranormal and numinous characters including the sorcerers with superpowers. Also, there is a cowardly lion and scarecrow that can sing, talk and walk making the motion picture to be a fantasy film (George, Florino, & Baum, 2015). The sub-genre of the video is the musical film which is characterized by the songs that are twisted into narratives to express a certain feeling. The movie starts and ends with musical hence making it follow under the musical sub-genre. Besides, the film is arranged in a chronological manner hence having the ability to have an effect on the audience based on the foundation themes and goals of the director and producer.


The motion picture revolves around a young woman (Dorothy) who is restless and orphaned person living with Aunt Em and Uncle Henry in their Kansas farm. The farm has two farm hands and a little dog tot that belongs to Dorothy. The girl runs away from her dog that she loves so much. However, she realizes with the aid of the fortune teller that she needs to go back home although she is knocked unaware during the twister. When she is unconscious, she discovers herself in the fantasy globe where she meets with Glinda the good witch from the north and Munchkins individuals who send her to the Emerald City to find the wizard who would help her to go back in Kansas (Fleming et al., 2015). During the way to Emerald, she meets new friends including cowardly lion, Tinman, and scarecrow. Together, they must destroy the evil witch from the west before Wizard Oz would help them. At the end, all of their desires are fulfilled and Dorothy notices that they already had everything that they wanted.

Back at home, she holds her little dog and clicks the mysterious shoes saying that there is no region like home. After returning home, the movie reveals that Dorothy was dreaming since she wakes up and finds her aunt, uncle and other relatives looking down at her. However, they are all happy that she is well and awake. Based on the motion pictures, Dorothy was dreaming about the mythical Land of Oz together with the magical and colourful creations (George et al., 2015). The tornado winds torn the window pane and struck her in the head hence becoming unconscious and have the fantastical dream regarding Toto and herself in the supernatural OZ world.

Aesthetic Choices

The major aesthetic choices in the Wizard of OZ include the music, costuming, composition of the frame, sound, and lighting. Initially, the high-key lighting was utilized in the cinema which was the usual style in musical during the classic Hollywood era. Within the territory of OZ, the pictures were bright, colourful, well-lit and jolly in several times. Nevertheless, the Kansas’ images illumination was drab and darker with the utilization of sepia-toned display(George et al., 2015). Furthermore, the sound bites were introduced to resemble the tornado coming as well as the strong winds blowing during the hurricane events in Kansas. The sound bites were added and created to the video for other things that were flying and flapping around when the whirlwind moving through Kansas. In the entire scenes, the sounds are used to offer resonances that could be heard in the real world if such events were taking place (George et al., 2015).

The motion picture contains several songs that add a magnificent touch to the cinema. The film integrates the musical numbers perfectly with the plot action which advances and enhances the suspenseful narrative. Within the movie, the frame composition is the placing of different characters where they are required in the scene with the aims of establishing the effect on the spectators based on the director's desires. Within the Wizard of OZ, there are close-ups including Dorothy’s face and her friends together with Toto passing over the Yellow Brick board (Dickins et al., 2012). The composition of the frame in the above scenario allows the audience to have a distinct shot that have actors and surroundings.

Besides, the costuming of the movie was perfect and demonstrated the real picture of Kansas and believed mystical land of OZ. Judy Garland was 17 years when she played the role of Dorothy since the major character was supposed to be a younger girl. To fit the cinema, she had to lose some weight while her chest was bound so that not to appear more mature (George et al., 2015). The costumes were premeditated by Adrian who is the famous Hollywood designer. By 1939, the costumes were used in the stage only but not in cinema although Adrian changed by establishing extravagant Munchkins, black hat for the witch, straw-stuffed scarecrow, flying monkeys, and tin man to illustrate the fantasy. The good witch was kind and dressed beautifully while having the magic wand which is different from the wicked witch who wore black clothing. The costumes help in illustrating the themes of the movie through symbolism. Additionally, the Wizard of Oz utilized the editing methods such as angles, shots, transitions, and cuts to bring suspense and emotion without special equipment. The cinema begins with Dorothy in Kansas and ends while she is back which illustrates the shot in the sepia-tone (Fleming et al., 2015). Also, the change in colour approaches was to display Dorothy's feeling of restlessness and boredom while in Kansas farm to the colourful occurrences of the mystical land depicting excitement and adventure while in OZ land. The technological such as the special effect and film stock helped in creating the real picture of Kansas and fantastic world hence being able to establish a clear picture of the theme relating to witches and hope.

Social/ Personal Impact

There were social statuses, poverty, government and individual societies such as Munchkin the OZ land. During 1939, the American people were experiencing unemployment rates and great depression that lasted up to 1940s before the country improved. Due to this, the movie is about anticipate and the chances of an improved living. It was a significance that individuals in America required to believe and hear during the despair. Also, the film caused the sales and production of several school supplies and lunch boxes that showed different scenes from the Wizard of OZ movie (Dickins et al., 2012). The society had the great effect on the film since the great depression and other economic problems of that time influenced the creation of the motion pictures. The message in the cinema was powerful during this time because of American needed promise and hope. Moreover, the video was designed based on the issues in the society so that to offer a formula of overcoming the insurmountable barriers of anxiety and fear.


Through film analysis, the knowledge of how the story is constructed is gained which leads to a better interpretation of the messages that video makers intend to deliver. Also, one is able to tell the time when the cinema was established as well as the major themes portrayed. By analyzing motion pictures, viewers gain insights regarding the moral teachings hence being able to shape their lives. Consequently, the analysis has changed the way I view movies since I can now see films as plays with the specific goal of depicting certain message rather than entertainment only. Lastly, I believe that I can use film theory and criticism to interpret and find the meaning of movies of different genres since the exercise is simple and only require comparing the pictures with the real world.


Dickins, R., Evangelista, M., & Baum, F. J. (2012). The Wizard of Oz. London: Usborne.

Fleming, V., LeRoy, M., Langley, N., Ryerson, F., Woolf, E. A., Garland, J., … Swank Motion Pictures, I. (2015). The Wizard of Oz. Los Angeles, California: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

George, J., Florino, D., & Baum, L. F. (2015). The wizard of OZ. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Top That Publishing.

April 06, 2023

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