The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Frank Baum published the template of the same name at the very beginning of the 20th century, while film interpretation took almost four decades. Baum comes from a very rich family that managed to lose its wealth. His mother-in-law was the one who recommended him to write stories in which he put his four sons to sleep. According to its visual specificity, it was not at all easy to look for material on undeveloped and young film art. In fact, there was not much interest in the project even at the start. Fortunately for us and the happiness of humanity, the film saw the light of day on the eve of the Second World War, when the future began to change drastically. Like the then modern version of Louis Carroll’s famous work in Wonderland, this story is about a girl wandering in her wonderland, a world as dangerous as the real world, with the important difference that Dorothy is the main architect of her world and the main role in it.

Her world is Dorothy-centric, everything revolves around her and her needs. In relation to Baum’s vision, the film experienced an important alternation in which silver magic shoes were replaced by red ones, under the influence of producers who wanted to take full advantage of the colorful aspects. This change is not at all harmless and there is a background to the story that permeates between conspiracy theory and coincidence. Several directors changed in the director’s chair, until the producers found the right one, Victor Fleming, who managed to stay in it until the end of the film. Terry, Toto’s dog from the movie, was injured after a team member nearly ran over him, so filming was delayed for a while. The same dog earned $ 125 a week at the time, while the dwarves in the movie made $ 50 a week.

The film begins with simple stylized subtitles that alternate on a gloomy sky background. Therein lies the trick, because practically the beginning of the film and the music can leave the impression that the film is just ending. However, a dedication soon follows that should convince the viewer that the film is just beginning. We immediately meet the young Dorothy, played by seventeen-year-old Judy Garland, who should look a few years younger according to the original source, infantile and without any feminine characteristics. However, it is impossible not to notice her femininity, despite the fact that her faithful companion and participant in games is the dog Toto. Dorothy comes to her farm in Kansas, where her uncle does various farming jobs, and then goes to three workers, Hank, Bunny and Hickory, and continues her hyperactive children’s games there. She attends the lubrication of the carriage, a short chat about the brain and the brain, and walks along the edge of the barn while talking about courage. These scenes have a direct impact on the later part of the film, because they are completely repeated in a different light. Visually, the film has the same tone as at the start, a gray world with gloomy clouds in the background, just announcing trouble. Although the film was made during the color revolution, it was necessary to make a significant difference between the world of Oz and the ordinary, real world. It was this transition that served as the best tool.

Only after Dorothy finishes her first musical moment Over the Rainbow, which in her performance is practically a balm for the ears and an anthem of purity and unfulfilled desires, immediately after the song, without any transitions, we jump to much more dynamic and alarming music, and now we see Mrs. Gulch (Margaret Hamilton), who comes and asks Dorothy to hand over the dog that used to cause her problems. Dorothy resists, but the dog was aggressive and everyone is in favor of Dorothy handing over the dog. She reluctantly betrays the dog, and at the same time declares to Mrs. Gulch that she is an evil witch. However, Toto runs away from Mrs. Gulch and returns to Dorothy, after which they both run away from home. Along the way, she meets Professor Marvel, who affects her destiny. He is played by Frank Morgan, who, along with this one, plays the roles of guards, chariot drivers and wizards from Oz. The meaning of the word marvel is a miracle, and what Professor Marvel will report is not too much of a miracle. His prophecy did not have any mystical gift, because he only guesses from the third that Dorothy is fleeing. The first two times he guesses and looks at her expression to see if she is right, and only the third time does he realize based on Dorothy’s expression that he guessed.

This prediction is an old psychological trick that gives information that causes effects on the subject’s face, and when the information is correct, the face engages the muscles that are usually engaged when a person is happy, in this case Dorothy is happy because Professor Marvel hit her fate. Of course Dorothy goes to visit someone or runs away, when she carries only one small basket with her. When he guessed that Dorothy was running away, then it was even easier to guess why she was running away, because teenagers as rebels are the ones who usually run away from home, and it is clear at first glance that Dorothy is a teenager, or so it seems. Professor Marvel reveals himself to us as a fraud only later, when he rummages through the same basket to find material to continue his prophecies.

Although at first glance it seems as if Professor Marvel wants to cheat on Dorothy, his intention is quite benevolent, and he uses tricks to prophesy to Dorothy that her escape from home did not bring anything good to her guardians. Naive as all young people are, fortunately Dorothy falls asleep and returns home when there is no one in it. A tornado set in and everyone on the farm hid in the basement, all but Dorothy they couldn’t find. Dorothy decides to stay in the house, where an accident happens in which she loses consciousness after hitting the window, and that is where the transition begins. The viewer cannot establish on the first ball what is happening, but it is not completely clear whether Dorothy is falling asleep. Through the window of her room, as through the window into her subconscious, the experiences from the previous day are evoked. This part of the film marks the end of the first act and gives the first conclusion that Dorothy is asleep, because she actually goes through the first three phases of sleep and instantly enters the REM phase, the real dream phase, the most active part of sleep, just when she arrived in the land of Oz. The moment she leaves her room, the whole colorful world is released, a world of lucid colorful colors that turns viewers into a kind of addict, who, after gray abstinence, turns to a real dispersion of colors.

Dorothy gets red shoes as protection and there she meets an evil witch, who is the same Mrs. Gulch, and she asks for red shoes and directly tells Dorothy that she will get them, but also her dog. We remember that at the beginning of the film, Mrs. Gulch was the first person Dorothy had contact with and where she was looking for a dog. This is another fact in proof that Dorothy is dreaming, which is revealed only at the end of the film. Dorothy is just experiencing one of the characteristics of sleep, and that is absorbing the events of the previous day. Another characteristic of sleep is coping with bad, which on the one hand supports the theory that bad sleep is training for reality. According to Sigmund Freud’s theory, children have infantile dreams that are mere fulfillment of desires from those same dreams. Dorothy wants to find a wizard from Oz, so her whole dream should end with the fulfillment of that wish. If we know about this theory and if we believe that the creators of the film did not deviate from the logical development of the dream, then the very end of the film would be revealed to us.

Her dream continues, and there she meets a scarecrow, a rusty tin lumberjack and a lion without courage, who have a common goal, which is to reach a wizard to fulfill their various wishes. A scarecrow wants a brain that would make him smarter, a rusty tin woodcutter wants a heart that would make him more human, and a lion, which at first glance seems scary, wants courage that he does not have, despite his terrible appearance and attitude. The characteristics of these three characters are a direct product of interaction with Hank, Rabbit and Hickory, and conversations about the brain and the brain, courage and lubrication. The film follows the direct rules of dreams that Sigmund Freud presented in his book Theory of Dreams almost forty years earlier. The question is whether, and if so, to what extent did the writer Frank Baum deal with basing the story on the theory set by Sigmund Freud, or was he just guided by the instinct of dreams and dreams, since it was unclear what dreams were and what their meaning was. , and the book itself was published a little earlier before Baum ‘s manuscript as very unpopular and poorly sold. If Baum was not guided by Freud’s conclusions, the film and the story are an even greater miracle and show that what is done instinctively is mostly what is right.

A lot of scenes with the evil witch were dropped from the film, because the producers thought that they were scary and that they would scare the children who are the target audience. The fact that Dorothy falls asleep in her sleep clearly shows her emotional state: she is scared and worries too much about her dog and finding the famous wizard. The great and dangerous wizard from Oz is located in the Emerald City, and he is a dangerous and omniscient wizard who is shown as a hologram on a smoky background with spitting fire, in a style of angry dragon. As a dreamer, Dorothy knows what lies behind her subconscious, and as the main director of her dream, she must emerge victorious, because her dream must come to its fulfillment. Now we go back to the moment when Dorothy went to Professor Marvel and rummaged through her basket.

Although Dorothy squinted and couldn’t see what Professor Marvel was doing with her basket, let’s just say she didn’t consciously hear the sounds of being overwhelmed by completely surrendering to the authority of a Marvel professor, a man who introduced himself as an omniscient wizard and who visually reminiscent of her uncle, Dorothy has no reason not to completely surrender to him. The thing is that Dorotino subconsciously registers even with her eyes closed what is happening in her presence, but she ignores it because she completely trusts the authority. The trust placed in authority is the basis of hypnosis, so no hypnotist can be successful unless he sets himself up as an authority over the person he hypnotizes. In this case, Dorothy was the one who somehow agreed to semi-hypnosis, but her subconscious did not.

Fulfilling a wish

At the evil witch who kidnapped her, as well as her dog, Dorothy sees her aunt Em in the ball, who summons her. It is this sphere that could be a piece of consciousness in her dream, a display of what is happening outside, but it does not directly affect her dream, because the dream itself did not come true, so she subconsciously finds an intelligent way to mask Aunt Em’s real calls to Dorothy and tricked her into continuing to sleep. If it had been different by any chance, the dream would have had a more realistic chance of interruption, thus there is a greater need to continue the dream, and Dorothy continues her problems. As Dorothy later managed to fight the evil witch and the evil itself, she received the loyalty of the guard for free and another conversation with the wizard, after the first attempt failed. The dog Toto appears on the stage, fulfilling Dorothy’s final subconscious desires, and that is the emergence of the traits of a real wizard to the surface, that is the moment when a dangerous and fire wizard reveals himself as a fraud, ie Dorothy releases from her subconscious the exact impression she left on her. authoritative Professor Marvel, who in her dream plays the role of a dangerous wizard from Oz. Dorothy now sees him naked, as he is, a real liar with rational answers that he presents in a spectacular way.

Real comedy is created from the moment the wizard begins to fulfill wishes. The scarecrow who wants a brain gets an explanation that he doesn’t need a brain and hands him a doctorate, after which the scarecrow is able to quote Pythagoras’ theorem. It is obvious what kind of parody Baum is making about schooling and obtaining a diploma, but also about the point of the human brain and how it can be replaced. He gives the lion courage by giving him something that is purely material, but with a deep spiritual cover, an order for courage. Tin received a heart-shaped clock, which beats at the correct interval, as a real and healthy heart does. And in the end, Dorothy got her wish fulfilled, leaving the land of Oz in a balloon. Going by balloon requires ascension to heaven, and this is exactly the procedure by which Dorothy rises from sleep to consciousness, because as Carl Gustav Jung once interpreted his dream of going to the basement, if you go underground in a dream, it is deeply subconscious, and if going above the ground, it is superconscious. The wizard leaves in a balloon and leaves Dorothy safely awake or return to Kansas. However, there is a good witch who shows that Dorothy can use red shoes to return to Kansas, which she is doing.

Soon, Dorothy wakes up with the premise There is no place like the house, where all the characters she just dreamed of. Dorothy is aware that she dreamed, and she says it a little euphorically to her acquaintances who accept it with a smile. Not only does Dorothy realize that it was all just a dream, but also those viewers who didn’t understand it or who weren’t sure. Dorothy once again states that there is no place like a house, which in the end sets the lesson of this film. She wanted to run away from home, so she fled to the land of Oz, but she didn’t like it and then she wanted to go home. This conclusion alone means that she will no longer run away from home. The film ends at the moment in the same way it started, which only confirms the theory stated at the beginning.

A legacy

There are various beliefs and interpretations related to the film and its story, the most convincing of which is the one concerning red shoes, which were mentioned at the very beginning. Originally, the shoes were designed as silver, which many analysts see as a connection to the political movements in America at the time, which demanded the free minting of money, silver and gold coins in the ratio of sixteen to one. The Yellow Brick Road is presented as the gold standard, through gold bars leading to the Wizard of Oz, whose logo looks like an abbreviation for ounce (ounce – oz), ie the unit in which precious metals are measured, which is 23.3 grams. Different characters represent people or movements, and the whole film is a metaphor that hides the truth that can live forever within the framework of a harmless story. We remember that Baum’s family was the one who once had everything, and then lost it.

Film critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review of the film that it was the film itself that showed its uniqueness by moving from black and white scenes to color scenes. He claims that this film represents a large part of our imagination and wonders if it is because of the archetypes that run through the film. At the first viewing, the film overwhelms the viewer, especially if the viewer is younger, overwhelms him with all his strength and sparkles with sparks of good and positive emotions, to finally prove that there is no place like a house, whatever it was. This is a film that has become one of the best films of all time and a film that unequivocally enters the annals of cinema, one that represents its solid pillar and the foundation that made cinema itself so great.

As a classic of the seventh art and a unique film fairy tale for all ages, today it has a cult status. At the beginning of this century, great projects were being prepared, because the expiration of the rights to the original material was approaching, so in 2013, Sam Raimi recorded Oz the Great and Powerful with James Frank in the title role. The film approaches the story in a modern way and the story is through a different character, but it evokes some scenes and the atmosphere established by Victor Fleming. The sequels of the film and various patches for the story were shot, but none of them managed to get even close to the original film. As a kind of alternative story in the American way and in its psychological accuracy, The Wizard of Oz is an epic story for all ages. While one may view this film as boyish and too gay because of its colors and softness, it is only a modern look at the irritated world that lived between the two world wars, a world that was healthier, happier and the same one that squinted at all the horrors of everyday life, despite the Great Depression and gangsters. It was a time when film hits were the poetic and sweet-spoken films of Frank Capra, who lost his directorial authority when the world went crazy in the war. Today’s audience is under the scars of that period or indirectly under the legacy of that period, and to us today one such story may sound too optimistic.