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The Next Reel • Season 12 • Series: 1940 Academy Award Best Picture Nominees • The Wizard of Oz

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The Wizard of Oz

"Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!"

Victor Fleming didn’t just direct two movies in 1939, he directed two of what many consider to be the greatest films made – ”Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz.” Where the former, though, has more problems to contend with in today’s society, what with its depiction of slavery and race in the South during the Civil War, the latter is nothing but pure cinematic joy. Seen by more people than any other movie, “The Wizard of Oz” has become infused in who we are. Quotes from the movie can pop up in everyday conversation without people even realizing they’re quoting it. The songs – particularly “Over the Rainbow” – have been burned into our brains at an early age. It truly is a shining example of what cinema can be. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we continue our ‘films of 1939’ series with one of the great cinema achievements, Flemings’ “The Wizard of Oz.” We talk about what makes this film so great and why it’s lasted so long, looking at everything from the story to the music to Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale. We discuss Fleming as the main director putting the film together, the 14 writers tasked with bringing this script to life, and L. Frank Baum, the author of the original Oz stories. We chat about the actors – Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Jerry Maren, the Singer Midgets and more (not to mention Terry the dog as Toto) – and look at what they all bring to the table here. We chat about Buddy Gillespie’s special effects, Adrian’s costumes, Harold Rosson’s cinematography, Herbert Stothart’s music adaptation, Harold Arlen’s & Yip Harberg’s songs and Mervyn LeRoy’s & Arthur Freed’s producing, tying together all the elements they each were responsible for. And we comment on the popularity of the film, chat about it being a gay icon, and look at how it started at a loss but ended up making bank over the decades. It’s one of the greats and certainly one we have a lot of passion about discussing. Check it out!

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