Quoted from FarFromHeaven26:
I adore the 1971 WONKA as much as anyone but your trashing of THE WIZARD OF OZ is beyond mind-boggling to say the least. It is arguably the most beloved film ever made in this country. It was based on one of the most venerated children’s stories ever written. It launched the career of the greatest female thespian to ever appear in a musical film, and it remains the one film she is most reverentially identified with. The movie’s celebrated score is woven into our popular culture, and it’s unforgettable screenplay has produced lines of dialogue that are ingrained into the consciousness of anyone and everyone who has watched the film countless times, and have come to value it’s themes of home, family and friendship as cinematically conclusive. The film’s most coveted song is probably the most popular number ever written during the twentieth century, and has been covered time and again by renowned artists. The story of it’s changing directors and cast auditions remain as fascinating to movie lovers as anything else about the film, and more has been written on the making of the picture than any other in history. The story of the little people who appear early in the film in one of it’s most celebrated sequences, remains a stand alone curiosity for many to this very day, with the old age passings of this unique fraternity a major news item. Every supporting member of the film’s distinguished cast will eternally be remembered firstly for the role they played in this film, even with exceptional careers to their credit. No film has been more referenced in other movies, and the final black-and-white sequence set in the bedroom of a Kansas farmhouse may well be the most emotionally moving scene in the history of American cinema. With the advent of home video in the late 70’s the film became an incomparable favorite, and to this day has been released more often on the many video formats up to a recently-released blu-ray box set. The smash Broadway hit Wicked is hugely indepted to the 1939 film. While it has come to represent homespun family values and the most vivid realization of one’s dreams, The Wizard of Oz is imbued with humor and humanity, two qualities that more than any other have contributed to it’s enduring, even spectacular appeal over decades all around the world. Much like the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the day astronauts first stepped foot on the moon, many Americans will never forget the day, the month and the year they first remembered watching the film, and in whose company they were with. Just two years ago, the seventieth anniversary of the film’s opening was celebrated to national fan-fare, with the original city of it’s first appearance being honored – Oconomwoc, Wisconsin.
For baby-boomers like myself The Wizard of Oz first took hold during the famous run of CBS holiday showings, which initially were offered around Easter time in the 60’s and early 70’s. In those exceedingly impressionable days watching The Wizard of Oz was the highlight of my week, month and year. It was a time when I was frightened by the wicked witch, the haunted castle and the winged monkeys, was reassured by the dismissals of the good witch Glinda, and was intrigued by the bizarre appearance of the Munchkins, whom had me asking question after question about. When Toto escaped over the draw bridge, when Glinda provided a snow panacea for the poppies that felled our beloved brood, when the tin man used his ax to help free Dorothy from her prison and drop a chandelier on her pursuers, when the witch -made of sugar- is destroyed by a bucket of water, and when Toto unmasks the well intentioned but weak-willed charlatan, by pulling open a curtain, I was exhilarated and relieved, even though I knew what would happen. Like so many other kids I took an immediate liking to the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion, all who added to the security of our young heroin, who was in this seemingly unsolvable dilemma from the beginning. I always shed tears -even to this very day in fact- when the Cowardly Lion wrenchingly tells Dorothy that although she is stranded on Oz, he and the others didn’t want her to go anyway. And the final scene is a sure-firer tear-jerker, broaching the concepts of home, love of family and the idea that happiness can be realized within your own borders.