Thursday, March 7, 2013

Hit Me With Your Best Shot: "The Wizard of Oz"

The Film Experience has a wonderful series that asks movie lovers to pick their favorite shot from a pre-selected film.  This weeks offering, to coincide with the release of Oz: The Great & Powerful is The Wizard of Oz.  I want to play along.

Because I was so moved by Jodie Foster when she received the Cecil B. DeMille Award last January, I feel the urge to confessional too.  It's something I don't talk about very much and have never really been able to air publicly and somewhat feel the cinematic elite may shun me eternally for, but here goes:  I've never really particularly cared for The Wizard of Oz.  The classic 1939 fantasia never quite worked its magic on me as a child-- to be fair I was far fussier back then and the realm of the fantastic at once read to simplistic and far went over my head.  Also, I confess that Margaret Hamilton always scared the crap out of me-- in both Miss Gulch and Wicked West from.  I'm glad to get that off my chest.  I've regressed or grown (thankfully) throughout the years, and like, if not love, The Wizard of Oz more and more as the years grow on.  Of course, Judy Garland in her sepia-toned wonder singing her signature ballad, "Over the Rainbow" is a marvel, and the production itself (for all its difficulty, and near killing of Buddy Ebsen) is monumental.  In revisiting the Victor Fleming classic, I appreciate it more and more for its visual delight (and thus picking a "best shot" was fairly daunting), it's off kilter compositions that read perfectly appropriate and strangely don't feel outdated in the slightest despite the bug of technology prowess that's come since, and while I can't claim yet to an Oz-convert (the sting of stubbornness has always been a sore point on my end), my appreciation ever grows.

My favorite shot is the dreamy dreamscape on which Dorothy drifts back from her adventure.  A bit strange, mystic and perhaps even a bit wild for a film from 1939.

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