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A Kansas farm girl dreams herself into a magical land where she must fight a wicked witch to escape.
Dorothy Gale, a Kansas farm girl, lives with her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. When Almira Gulch, who owns half the county, brings a sheriff's order to take Dorothy's little dog Toto away to have the dog destroyed, because Toto bit Miss Gulch's leg, Auntie Em and Uncle Henry refuse to go against the law, and they give the dog to Miss Gulch. However, as Miss Gulch rides away on her bicycle with Toto in her basket, the dog escapes and returns home. Realizing that Miss Gulch will come back, Dorothy runs away with Toto. They come to the wagon of the egotistical, but kindly Professor Marvel, a fortune-teller and balloonist, who tricks Dorothy into believing that her aunt has had an attack because she ran away. Dorothy rushes home greatly concerned, but a cyclone's approach causes her difficulty, and by the time she gets to the farm, Auntie Em, Uncle Henry and the three farmhands have entered the storm cellar. Inside her room, Dorothy is hit on the head by a window and knocked unconscious. When she revives, she sees through the window that the house has risen up inside the cyclone. When she sees Miss Gulch, traveling in mid-air on her bicycle, transform into a witch on a broomstick, Dorothy averts her eyes. The house comes to rest in Munchkinland, a colorful section of the Land of Oz inhabited by little people, and lands on top of the Wicked Witch of the East. Knowing that the dead witch's ruby slippers contain magic, Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, through her powers, has them placed on Dorothy's feet before the dead witch's sister, the Wicked Witch of the West, can retrieve them. The Wicked Witch vows revenge. Glinda then suggests that the wonderful Wizard of Oz can help Dorothy get back to Kansas and instructs her to take the yellow brick road to the distant Emerald City, where the Wizard resides. Along the way, Dorothy meets a friendly scarecrow who laments that he is failure because he has no brain, an emotional tin man, who longingly describes the romantic life he would lead if he only had a heart, and a seemingly ferocious lion who actually lacks courage. Dorothy suggests that they all go with her to ask the Wizard for his help. With help along the way from Glinda to battle a spell of the Wicked Witch, the four friends reach the Emerald City, where in the great hall of the Wizard, they see a terrifying apparition that identifies itself as "Oz" and lambasts Dorothy's companions for their deficiencies. When the lion faints from fright, Dorothy rebukes the Wizard for scaring him, and the Wizard agrees to grant their requests if they will first prove themselves worthy by bringing him the broomstick of the Witch of the West. As they pass through a haunted forest on their way to the witch's castle, the witch sends an army of winged monkeys, who capture Dorothy and Toto. In her castle, when the witch threatens to have Toto drowned, Dorothy offers the slippers in exchange for her dog, but the witch cannot remove them, and she remembers that the slippers will not come off as long as Dorothy is alive. As the witch ponders the proper way to kill Dorothy, Toto escapes. The dog leads Dorothy's friends to the castle, where they rescue her, but the witch's guards soon surround them. After the witch sadistically says that Dorothy will see her friends and dog die before her, she ignites the Scarecrow's arm. Dorothy tosses a bucket of water to put out the fire, and when some water splashes in the witch's face, she melts. The guards and monkeys, relieved that the witch is dead, hail Dorothy and give her the broomstick. Upon their return to Oz, the Wizard orders Dorothy and her friends to come back the next day. As they argue, Toto snoops behind a curtain and pulls it back to reveal a man manipulating levers and speaking into a microphone, who then admits to the group that he is really the "powerful" Wizard. Greatly disappointed and angry at the sham, Dorothy calls him a bad man, but he retorts that while he is a bad wizard, he is a good man. He then awards the Scarecrow a diploma, the Lion a medal and the Tin Man a testimonial, and states that where he comes from, these things are given to men who have no more brains, courage or heart than they have. Confessing that he is a balloonist and a Kansas man himself, the Wizard offers to take Dorothy back in his balloon. However, as they prepare to leave, Toto leaps from the balloon to chase a cat, and after Dorothy goes to retrieve the dog, the balloon takes off without them. Glinda then comforts Dorothy and reveals that she has always had the power to return home, but that she had to learn it for herself. Dorothy says that she has learned never to go further than her own backyard to look for her heart's desire. After Dorothy tearfully kisses and hugs her friends, Glinda tells her to click the heels of the slippers three times with her eyes closed and to think to herself, "There's no place like home." This she does, and she awakens to find Uncle Henry and Auntie Em at her bedside. Professor Marvel, having heard that Dorothy was badly injured, comes by, and she begins to tell about her journey, which Auntie Em calls a bad dream. The farmhands come in, and Dorothy remembers them as her three friends in Oz and the professor as the Wizard. When Toto climbs on the bed, Dorothy says she loves them all and that she will never leave again, and she affirms to her aunt that there is no place like home.
Cast & Crew
|MPAA Ratings:||G||Premiere Info:||World premiere in Oconomowoc, WI: 12 Aug 1939; Hollywood premiere: 15 Aug 1939; New York premiere: 17 Aug 1939|
|Release Date:||1939||Production Date:||
A Victor Fleming Production
|Color/B&W:||Black and White (Sepiatone), Color (Technicolor)||Distributions Co:||Loew's Inc.|
|Sound:||DTS (re-release), Dolby Digital (re-release), Mono (Western Electric Sound System), SDDS (re-release)||Production Co:||Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Corp.|
|Duration(mins):||97 or 101||Country:||United States|
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Wonderful Wizard of Oz
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A Total CLASSIC. I'm 58 years old, and I still watch it, and now with my Grandchildren A Big Fan of the Wizard of Oz.... Thank you TCM ARCHIVES -- for...