DIRECTED BY: Victor Fleming (credited), King Vidor, Mervyn LeRoy (uncredited)
FEATURING: Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Bert Lahr, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley
PLOT: A cyclone carries a Kansas girl (and her little dog, too) to a magical land over the rainbow.
WHY IT WON’T MAKE THE LIST: In creating a list of the 366 best weird movies of all time, The Wizard of Oz presents a huge challenge. After all, this Technicolor extravaganza contains such trippy imagery as a bizarre cyclone that hurls snatches of a young girl’s fears past her spinning window; a land of doll-like little people threatened by a witch; talking apple trees; a giant floating green head appearing and disappearing before a curtain of flame; knife-nosed, green-faced Cossack guards; and of course, flying monkeys—never underestimate the weirdness of flying monkeys. These should be the building blocks of a stunningly psychedelic pic, but if this magical movie only seems fantastic, never weird, it’s because the entire adventure feels so safe. The musical numbers, the comedy, and the deliciously stagey sets serve to remind all but the very youngest children that we’re in an artificial, sheltered environment, and that no harm can ever come to Dorothy. We’re invited to sit back and soak in the spectacle, not to experience it directly.
COMMENTS: Most reviews of The Wizard of Oz could be distilled down to two words: “me too.” Are you a viewer who loves the movie? Me, too. You admire the immaculate casting and performances? The unforgettable music? The clever nonsense wordplay of Continue reading CAPSULE: THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)