Review: The Wizard of Oz

Hammy

‘I have your review in front of me and soon it will be behind me.’

G. B. Shaw

Moments of pure joy.  There are lots of wonderful things about The Wizard of Oz.  Lots of great songs, and great scenes, but there’s something about the moment when they run across the fields of poppies towards the Emerald City that makes me very happy.  It’s like a moment from a silent Russian film from the 1920s with peasants bursting joyously across fields of barley.  Except it’s an unrealistic scarecrow, lion, tin man and (a realistic) Judy Garland bursting joyously across an unrealistic set of phony poppies.  Which might be bad if it wasn’t.  Like Yellow Submarine by the Beatles might be bad but it isn’t.  They’re not bad because they know that children can make entire worlds out of blankets and sticks, sing whole made up operas with thin reedy voices, and perfect is not what it’s about.  So having Ringo sing or melting the witch (“oh what a world, what a world!  Who would have thought that a girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness!”)  are the master strokes, because they catch at the spirit of the child.

Whatever stuffy clod I may become I hope I will always sing songs in the shower, and still see fields of flowers and want to run through them.

oz2

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