The Wizard of Oz- A Film Analysis
ENG:225 Introduction to Film
Professor Daniel Burrello
April 20, 2015
The Wizard of Oz - A Film Analysis
The 1920's and 30's marked the beginning of a new world for movie directors and audiences alike, prompting directors to challenge traditional American values and push the filming process to new boundaries. The early part of the 20th century was tainted with the Great Depression and the beginning of World War II, millions of Americans were losing their jobs, and security became a big concern for the people of the States. Although citizens struggled during these times, they remained hopeful as cinema became the drug of choice through the expensive ...view middle of the document...
After a tornado lands her in Munchkinland, she is sent to seek out the wonderful Emerald City and the Wizard, the only person who could send her home. As she follows the yellow brick road, she meets Scarecrow, Tin Man, and the Cowardly lion. Together they embark on a journey to seek what they desire most; Dorothy to go home, Scarecrow a brain, Tin Man a heart, and the Cowardly lion, courage. On their journey they encounter a dark forest marked with creatures, flying monkeys, and the dreaded Wicked Witch of the West, all of which represent different fears adding to the plot of the story and eventually leading Dorothy to the conclusion that there is no place like home. Making this film the hit that it still is today was the use of color to depict Dorothy's desire to return home.
There are many reasons to say that this movie was such a blockbuster hit, Judy Garland's marvelous voice, the different themes presented in the story etc.; however, cinematography is a critical reason. As one of the top 10 fantasy films in the American Film Institute, The Wizard of Oz surely earned its place on the list with its use of color considering the times in which the film was released. The beauty of the fantasy genre is it transports audiences into new "imaginary settings and allows them to experience situations that break the limitations of the real world (Goodykoontz & Jacob, 2014). Fantasy films are known to have magical characters, situations, that are realistically impossible. The movie begins in a black and white sepia tone when Dorothy is in Kansas and converts to color when she reaches the fantasy and of Oz.
The use of color is a primary theme in the film. From the beginning, the audience can see the contrast between Dorothy's reality and the fantasy land of Oz; considering the fact that the film was produced during the depression, it would be safe to assume that the contrast between black and white and color could represent what was to come after the depression, happier and brighter days. This use of transition in color gives the audience a sense of hope during a very dark period in history. The first color design is the prop of the famous yellow brick road; yellow signifying joy, happiness, intellect and energy (Color Wheel Pro, 2015). This choice of color for the road to Oz offers the audience a visual medium to their emotions, a way to make them feel good especially when combined with the catchy tune "Follow the Yellow Brick Road..." Using yellow also catches the attention of the audience highlighting the importance of sticking through the tough road to attain their desires.
Along with the use of props, the director and cinematographer used costumes to portray the theme of color. The most memorable costume design is the pair Ruby Red heels which Dorothy inherits as her house lands and kills the Wicked Witch of the East. The use of color here represent two different people; the witch as a strong and powerful...