Classic Movie Reviews

Wizard of Oz Review

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 ( Jun 1922 -- Jun 1969)
Born as Francis Ethel Gumm in Grand Rapids, Minnesota, where her ex-vaudevillian parents operated a movie theater that also featured vaudeville acts. He first public appearance came at 2 1/2 when, with her two older sisters, she performed on her father's theater stage in a Christmas show. In 1926 the family moved to Lancaster, California. Her father ran another movie theater and her mother set about getting her daughters into the movies. Judy and her sisters worked the vaudeville circuit for a few years, until she was signed at age 15 by MGM. The studio wasn't sure how to use her because she was too old for child roles and too young for adult roles. Nevertheless, she appeared in two dozen MGM films, nine with Mickey Rooney. The movie she's best remembered for is The Wizard of Oz in 1939. After 15 years she was released by MGM and went on to even greater success, on concert stages and in recording studios, and then returning to acting, in both musical and dramatic films. Her later career was mostly in television specials and live performances in the U. S. and Britain. In contrast to her great professional success and international fame, her personal life was tragically unhappy. She was married five times and had repeated financial problems, often owing huge sums in unpaid taxes. Adding to her problems were the many years of drug and alcohol abuse. Her death at age 47 was attributed to an overdose. But her status as a show business icon has not diminished. She received two Oscar nominations (one for A Star Is Born and the other for Judgment at Nuremberg), a Golden Globe Award, Grammy Awards, and she was the youngest (at 39) ever to receive the Cedil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement in the film industry. The American Film Institute ranks her among the ten Greatest Female Stars of all time. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies and another for recordings. Fred Astaire described her as "The greatest entertainer who ever lived."


"Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain"   


    This film, based on Frank L. Baum's book, practically defines what it is to be a "classic." Judy Garland is endearing as Dorothy, a Kansas girl who yearns to go "over the rainbow" to experience a more exciting existence than she has on her uncle's farm. She gets her wish, in her dreams, and that world over the rainbow, Oz, is filled with magical events and colorful characters. There are memorable performances by Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow, Jack Haley as the Tin Man and Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion (he was born to play this role). All the casting choices were inspired, including Billie Burke as a good witch, Margaret Hamilton as the other kind of witch and Frank Morgan as the Wizard (plus a few other parts). The Harold Arlen - E. Y. Harburg musical score includes "Over The Rainbow," which won an Oscar. Two other Oscars were awarded. The special effects are remarkable for a time when there were no computer graphics.

   1939, Directed by Victor Fleming

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  Complete List of all the Movie Reviews:

A Face in the Crowd     
The African Queen       All Quiet on the Western Front    The Apartment    Bambi    Ben Hur    
The Best Years of Our Lives 

Bugsy Malone    Cabaret    The Caine Mutiny    Casablanca    Chicago    The Defiant Ones     Doctor Strangelove 

Double Indemnity
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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse

From Here To Eternity
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The Iceman Cometh   Inherit the Wind    It’s a Wonderful Life    Jesus Christ Superstar    Judgment at Nuremburg    

Julius Caesar    Key Largo Lawrence of Arabia    The Learning Tree    The List of Adrian Messenger     Little Big Man

My Fair Lady
The Neverending Story    North by Northwest    The Owl and the Pussycat    Porgy and Bess    

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Rhapsody in Blue
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The Sound of Music    South Pacific   Spartacus    The Spirit of St. Louis    Stalag 17    

Sunset Boulevard

To Kill a Mockingbird      The Treasure of the Sierra Madre       Twelve Angry Men       Twelve O’Clock High    

2001 A Space Odyssey    The Victors     Victor Victoria   Watership Down     West Side Story    

The Wizard of Oz
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