Wizard of Oz: Go off to see the wizard

Gary Wolcott, atomictown.comOctober 23, 2013 


Actress Judy Garland portrays Dorothy in "The Wizard of Oz." (AP Photo)


Simply put, get up and see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz, because, because, because of all of the wonderful things it does. Da, da, da, da, da, da, da.

The Wizard of Oz was my first movie. I saw it in 1955 or 1956. We didn't even own a TV. So I had no reference point. My mom plopped me down on a rock hard seat at the Mor Theater in Umatilla and forever changed my life. The Wizard of Oz -- to use vernacular that came later in life -- blew my mind.

I have been in love with movies ever since.

That showing was in the last trip the film made on a theater circuit before becoming an annual and popular family TV event in the 1960s and 1970s.

In movie history, few films can compare to the creativity found in 1939's The Wizard of Oz. It holds a special place in my heart, and in the hearts of most of those of my generation and our parents generation. The cast is as classic as the movie. Golden voiced Judy Garland's Dorothy defined the teenage heroine for decades. Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley and Frank Morgan did the imaginative Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion, Tin Man and bumbly old wizard.

Few villains ever topped Margaret Hamilton. Her hissing and horribly wicked Wicked Witch of the West has frightened children for decades.

Experts in the craft of movies consider The Wizard of Oz one of the best ever. This critic is included in that list. A huge percentage of you never have seen this one in a theater and on a big screen where it belongs. Considering it was done in 1939, the effects, music and story hold up well when compared with 21st century technology. Now it's in three-dimensions.

Take the kids, grandkids and those still around who grew up with the movie and who saw it when it first came out. To see Garland sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow in three-dimensions and on a big screen is an incredible experience. The music and sets and effects have held up through the decades and are still spectacular.

Director: Victor Fleming, George Cukor & three others

Stars: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Billy Burke

Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars

Rated PG for mature themes. It is playing at the Fairchild Cinemas 12.

5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen

4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.

3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.

2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.

0 stars: Speaks for itself.

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