The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Whisked by a tornado from Kansas to the colourful Land of Oz, Dorothy soon learns there’s no place like home in MGM’s immortal musical fantasy.

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“The Wizard of Oz is one of the Thirties’ most engaging films. Frank Baum’s simple vision seems to have achieved its perfect reincarnation in Fleming’s film.”
John Baxter, Hollywood in the Thirties, 1968

It’s difficult to believe this evergreen family film was a commercial failure on its release, only acceding to its now iconic status after perennial revivals on television. MGM’s lavish production, which switches from sepia for the Kansas farmland sequences to glorious Technicolor for Oz, magically brought to life the original novel by L. Frank Baum.

From Dorothy’s (Judy Garland) wistful ballad ‘Over the Rainbow’ – where she dreams of life away from her dreary home – to the adventures along Oz’s Yellow Brick Road, in which Dorothy is joined by the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, every aspect of the film holds a special place in the public consciousness.

The same year, Victor Fleming was the credited director on the super-production Gone with the Wind.

Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A Matter of Life and Death (1946) reverses Oz’s colour strategy, employing monochrome for its fantasy sequences and Technicolor for the real world.

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