With the release of Sam Raimi’s CGI-heavy fantasy film Oz the great and Powerful comes this weekend, the seems proper to look ago in time an ext than 70 year to the relax of one of the many influential movies of every time: The magician of Oz.

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Based ~ above L. Frank Baum’s children’s book “The wonderful Wizard the Oz,” the story had been made right into a film previously (once as a silent film in 1925 and also again together a brief film in 1933). However, it was Victor Fleming’s musical rendition of the story that left the brightest note on the cinema landscape. This commentary was had on the 2005 DVD release, which is also included ~ above the 70th anniversary 2009 DVD and Blu-ray discs.

The late Sidney Pollack serves as emcee because that the commentary, introducing archival interviews with cast, as well as family members the deceased cast and crew.

The magician of Oz (1939)

Commentators: john Fricke (historian), through archival interviews that Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, ray Bolger, Jack Haley, man Lahr, jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, wilhelm Tuttle, girlfriend Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy, and also Jerry Maren

1. The whole film was shot on a studio set. In fact, the only ar footage in the entire photo are the shots that clouds rolling under the opening titles.

2. The studio originally wanted Shirley Temple as Dorothy, yet this was a short-lived hope. Holy place was under contract through Fox, that would no release her, and also some considered the role to be listed below her talents. The film to be then wrapped roughly Judy Garland, who had actually only debuted in functions in 1936, a year prior to The magician of Oz to be put into development.

3. In the Kansas sequence, there are two turned off scenes in i beg your pardon Hickory (Jack Haley) is functioning on a “wind machine,” i beg your pardon he explains as “having a actual heart” (a nod come his upcoming personality of the believe Man). Later, as the tornado is pull close the Gale farm, Henry finds Hickory tinkering v the wind machine again.

4. Fourteen writers functioned on the manuscript in miscellaneous capacities.

5. The Kansas scenes were shot at the finish of the production schedule, directed by King Vidor ~ MGM sent Fleming to “save” Gone through the Wind. It to be Vidor’s idea to include camera motion to the song “Over the Rainbow,” which the studio do the efforts to cut from the film number of times before producer Arthur Freed demanded to store it in.

6. Toto was played through a female cairn terrier called Terri, that coincidentally gained her start in a the movie Bright Eyes v Shirley Temple. Judy Garland prospered so fond of Terri that she wanted to keep her after manufacturing wrapped, however trainer Carl Spitz refused to sell her.

7. Ed Wynn to be the very first choice to play the Wizard, yet he turned the duty down due to the fact that the script only had actually him in the very end as the wizard himself and a medical professional in Kansas. Additional roles were included to showcase a star performer, consisting of Professor Marvel in ~ the beginning, the Oz gatekeeper, the Carriage Driver, the Guard, and a turned off blackface character in the Kansas sequence.

8. The jacket that Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan) put on was liked from a rack of wardrobe clothing. ~ above set, Morgan rotate out one of the pockets to uncover a brand which read, “L. Open minded Baum.” Later, Baum’s widow confirmed that the jacket had been made for her late husband, and it somehow discovered its means onto the set.

9. The tornado special effect was therefore effective and also successful that added footage was provided in 1943’s Cabin in the Waters and also 1947’s High Barbaree.

10. Many shots were trimmed down or edited out of the film due to the fact that they were also intense for families and also children. In particular, one deleted shot mirrors the tornado completely enveloping the farmhouse. Later in the film, plenty of shots of and lines from the evil Witch (Margaret Hamilton) to be removed due to the fact that they scared children so badly in test audiences that some youngsters had to it is in literally brought out the the theater.

11. The original publication happens in reality with Oz as a actual place. MGM studio top felt this fantasy would be too lot for audiences of the day come accept, for this reason the Kansas structure was developed, consisting of the corresponding personalities in fact which Dorothy dreams about.

12. A full of 124 tiny people were actors as Munchkins, v heights varying from 2’3” to 4’8”. The studio initially wanted 300 little people, and also to aid pad the end the numbers, they provided eight come ten children in the background, waving out of windows in the village.

13. The just Munchkins to have their real voices taped on collection were the two who stand at the carriage and also thank Dorothy for killing the witch therefore completely. All various other voices, both spoken dialogue and also singing, were excellent by famed voice actors of the time.

14. Glinda’s bubble was actually a glass sphere that to be shot individually with a relocating camera and composited into the film. Due to the fact that Technicolor compositing to be so new, it took 2 weeks of light to acquire the glass ball to look right.

15. The day on the fatality certificate because that the angry Witch the the eastern that the Munchkin coroner presents to Dorothy and the mayor is may 6, 1938. This is 19 years to the day that L. Frank Baum died.

16. Another readjust from Baum’s original book was the the initial silver shoes became ruby slippers. This change was made due to the fact that red popped much much better in Technicolor than silver did.

17. The “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” lead-in to “The wonderful Wizard that Oz” was included at the last minute, during the filming the the Munchkinland sequence.

18. A selection of birds were lugged onto the to apologize orchard set from the Los Angeles Park Zoo in bespeak to make it look more like an exterior location. A big crane can be seen extending its wing at the really end the this scene. According to Fricke, this out-of-focus bird to be so blurred on broadcast television and early VHS tapes that human being have attributed it to a stagehand walking right into the shot as well as the notorious story that an gibbs (often said to it is in a Munchkin actor) hanging himself in the background. On the Blu-ray, DVD, and remastered VHS tapes, it is clearly a bird, though numerous conspiracy theorists and YouTube vloggers claim this has been digitally added. (To be certain myself, I have actually purchased a vintage VHS ice cream of the movie online and will check out what the old variation looks like. They need to arrive in a couple weeks.)

19. It is famed that Buddy Ebsen was the original Tin Man, however he had actually an allergy reaction to the aluminum powder in the make-up. That was also the original an option for the Scarecrow, but Ray Bolger combated for the function and winner it. The studio bosses believed that Ebsen to be faking his reaction to the make-up together a way of protesting the loss of the Scarecrow role, to the point of in reality calling the nurse to make sure he was undoubtedly too sick come play the Tin Man.

20. The paris monkey the is seen v the evil Witch while she gazes right into her crystal sphere was called Nikko, and also actor Pat Walshe is provided a credit at the end of the film because that this role. However, as result of editing down of the angry Witch’s dialogue, his surname is never mentioned, so that credit at the end of the film has actually caused lot confusion in audiences end the years. In all, about a dozen gibbs – greatly Munchkin actors and also local L.A. Jockeys – play the flying monkeys.

21. The horse of a Different shade was initially conceived by writer Noel Langley to be a red, green, and also purple-striped beast that talked. (Look for beasts choose this in Raimi’s Oz the good and Powerful.) due to the fact that the ASPCA preserved a close eye on just how the equines were treated, the dye was rather harmless vegetable dye or grape, cherry, or lemon Jell-O powder.

22. The angry Witch’s skywriting was originally scripted to say: “Surrender Dorothy or Die! – WWW.” The sequence additionally included number of close-up shots the the Witch on she broom. Hamilton refuse to execute those shots because she no longer wanted to be connected with fire or smoke. During the shooting of this sequence, the broom actually go out up, and Hamilton’s stand-in necessary to it is in hospitalized.

23. The tools Dorothy and her companions lug into the forest just disappear after the scene cut to the Witch. They room actually lost during the infamous deleted “Jitterbug scene,” in which the Witch sends pest ahead come enchant them into a song and dance number. Studio heads determined to remove the scene due to the fact that they feeling the popularity of the modern-day jitterbug dance would day the film.

24. Hamilton’s fake fingernails to be made indigenous cut-out film negatives. She copper-based environment-friendly paint is renowned for being fairly toxic, and it caused her having actually a environment-friendly hue to she skin for months after manufacturing wrapped.

25. Contrary to well-known belief, the chant the the security sing external of the Witch’s castle has actually no concealed meaning. Follow to the script, the says: “O-Ee-Yah! Eoh-Ah!”

26. According come publicity in ~ the time, Hamilton needed five takes to get the right sense that menace as soon as she lamp the Scarecrow’s arm. And also the end of the critical take, she reportedly fainted dead away.

27. So countless lights were essential to film Oz’s throne room that they were borrowed from various other studios. Firemen to be assigned come the collection to certain there to be no accidents, and also this was a great thing due to the fact that at one point, the throne itself caught on fire native the effects.

28. The Scarecrow’s recitation of what shows up to be the Pythagorean theorem as soon as he receive his diploma (“The amount of the square root of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is same to the square source of the continuing to be side”) is actually incorrect on lot of accounts. (It should be: “The sum of the squares that the 2 shortest sides of a best triangle is equal to the square the the remaining side, or hypotenuse.”) according to Fricke, this is the biggest inside joke of the entire film.

29. In the initial book, the gifts the Wizard provided Dorothy’s companions to be different. The Scarecrow acquired bran through nails and also pins poured right into his head, for this reason he had “bran brand-new brains” that was additionally sharp. The Cowardly Lion was given a bowl of mysterious liquid, which the Wizard claimed wouldn’t be courage until it was inside him. The tin Man acquired a plush heart, not a clock.

Best in CommentaryMargaret Hamilton: “I had actually that sleep for quite a long while.”Jerry Maren (leader that the Lollipop Guild): “I’d never seen an additional littler male or woman in mine life before then. It was really exciting. Man, they’re all over the place. Carry out I walk favor that? do I talk like that?”Ray Bolger: “I assumed of the Scarecrow as a male without a brain, and it fitted me.”Final Thoughts

The wizard of Oz is just one of my favorite movies of all time. Also today, its artistry in set design, photography, make-up, and effects holds up to many contemporary films. That a actual shame the DVD commentaries weren’t approximately when many of the people associated were alive and/or younger, as the first-hand account would have been exceptional to hear.

While I have actually no quarrel through Fricke, who does dispense some fantastic tidbits of details throughout the recording, that does have tendency toward reading prepared notes fairly than talking off the cuff. This leader to a more stilted commentary, yet I have come to expect this the the classic films that pre-date DVDs by 50 year or more. The archival interviews space interesting, however the genuine meat is in the story that Fricke tells.

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Still, the comment is more for the die-hard Wizard that Oz fan 보다 the casual audience member. But I have to wonder: who isn’t a pan of this movie? It’s together watchable this particular day as that was once I was a child.