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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Enduring Magic

Seventy two years ago,in a movie that was to be an all-time classic,a little girl said: I have so got brains.

Written by Shubhra Gupta | Published: August 27, 2011 3:47:10 am

The Wizard Of Oz

Reliance Home Video,

Rs 499

Seventy two years ago,in a movie that was to be an all-time classic,a little girl said: I have so got brains. That little girl was Dorothy,and the film,The Wizard Of Oz,MGM’s musical rendering of L. Frank Baum’s delightful book. All those girls,little and not so,who today flaunt the “so” in the middle of a sentence,can thank the spunky Dorothy,who is transported from boring ol’ Kansas to the magical land of Oz,where there are Munchkins,and witches,and,yes,wizards.

August was the month of its theatrical release all those decades ago,and much of the movie has the quaintness that age lends things,but there is no missing the elemental attraction of a story that will never stale. Little girls do get tired of living the same old life,just like the rest of us,and tornadoes can blow their mud-brown house from its mud-brown moorings to a land far,far away,where they can get off on the Yellow Brick Road,and traipse along in red slippers,and find a tinman,a scarecrow and a lion,and a good fairy to show the way home.

The DVD commentary tells us that for a brief while,Shirley Temple was considered for the part. But then Judy Garland,who was not as big a star but who was destined to do it,got it. And became Dorothy,with her not strictly-pretty looks,and sort-of-snub nose. It seems after the first viewing,MGM honchos weren’t exactly happy that one of their performers was singing in a barnyard. But Over The Rainbow,over the years,has turned into an anthem,and was,in 2004,declared the Number One Movie Song of all time.

Considering it was made in practically pre-historic times,the special effects are fairly astounding. The twister that uproots Dorothy’s house,and whirls it about in the sky,before depositing her in Oz,is still quite a sight. It seems some of those scenes had to be left out of the movie,because in the early shows there were children who had to be carried out of the theatre. What frightens us has changed,to an extent. But what beguiles us hasn’t: a story with a little girl,and twinkly red slippers,and adventure.

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