Film Thoughts: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Film Thoughts: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Film: The Wizard of Oz
Year: 1939
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Starring: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger

A 1939 film directed by Victor Fleming, The Wizard of Oz is based on the novel by Frank L. Baum and is considered a family classic. The movie follows young Kansas girl, Dorothy Gale, as a cyclone sends her to the magical world of Oz, and she must find her way home.

We screened this film on Friday, December 16, 2016. With a packed crowd, we had a long, interesting discussion.

Discussion notes:

The theme of Self-Discovery: The most prevalent theme in the discussion following the film screening was that this film is a metaphor for self-discovery. We all go through life seeking the answers outside of ourselves before we finally discover that we hold the answers inside all along.

Political undertones: Adam Tina discussed the theories that the film is an expression of political ideas as explored by Baum in the late 19th century when the book was written. Jennifer Ericson politely argued that she thought that was a stretch and that the film and book were both simply allegories for finding oneself with no political undertones whatsoever. Adam had a good chuckle at this and agreed to disagree with Jennifer.

Feminist reading: Tara Love discussed how the only characters with any real power in the film were female and how this may have had some feminist intentions. Adam spoke out again and informed us all that Baum was indeed a feminist and was involved in the suffrage movement.

The Hero’s Journey: Blake Smith informed us that The Wizard of Oz is used in nearly every screenwriting class he has taken as the perfect example of the Hero’s Journey as outlined by Joseph Campbell. Dorothy is a perfect example of the kind of mythological hero Campbell often discusses.

We all had a rather lively discussion of The Wizard of Oz as every single person in the screening had several childhood memories associated with the film. This is clearly why the film will always be seen as a timeless classic.