The Wizard of Oz 1939

Director: Victor Fleming

Main Characters/Players:

Dorothy Gale: Judy Garland
Aunty Em
Uncle Henry
Zeke/Cowardly Lion
Hickory/Tin Man
Professor Marvel/ The Great Oz
Miss Gulch/Wicked Witch of the West

Plot Summary:

Dorothy Gale lives in dreary black and white Kansas with Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. After school, her little dog Toto has a habit of chasing Miss Gulch's nasty cat through Miss Gulch's garden. Having come home to the farm one day, Dorothy tries to tell Aunt Em and Uncle Henry about an argument she's just had with Miss Gulch, but they are busy. She goes away to talk to the farm hands, Hunk, Zeke and Hickory, but Aunt Em tells them to stop resting and go back to work. Dorothy wishes for someplace where there weren't any troubles, and sings the first song:

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I heard of, once in a lullabye.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.
Someday I'll wish upon a star
and wake up where the clouds are far behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
away above the chimney tops--that's where you'll find me.
Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow--why oh why can't I?
If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
why oh why can't I?

Just then Miss Gulch comes to the farm to tell Aunt Em and Uncle Henry that Dorothy's little dog Toto must be destroyed: she's got the sheriff's order. Miss Gulch leaves with Toto in her basket, much to Dorothy's dismay, but Toto is able to jump out and run back to Dorothy. Dorothy decides to run away so Miss Gulch can't retrieve Toto. She soon meets Professor Marvel, who kindly tells her a few lies and persuades her to go home.

On the way home a tornado blows through. Dorothy gets home, and takes shelter in the house, but is hit on the head by a falling window frame. When she wakes up the house is in the air and she sees some strange sights in the storm. Then the house lands in Oz, on the Wicked Witch of the East, killing her. Colors blossom, and little people come out and sing and dance, thanking Dorothy for killing the evil witch. "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore," says Dorothy. Then the good witch Glinda comes to greet Dorothy at her arrival. But so also does the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East, who is, of course, the Wicked Witch of the West. She greatly desires the ruby slippers with Dorothy has gotten from the dead witch. She threatens Dorothy, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too." Dorothy is frightend, and she wants to go home. Glinda tells Dorothy not to give up the slippers for any reason, and advises going to see the great and mighty Wizard of Oz, who lives in the Emerald City, at the end of the Yellow Brick road.

Dorothy follows the Yellow Brick road, and on the way meets a Scarecrow who wants some brains, a Tin Man who wants a heart, and a Cowardly Lion who wants some courage. Each join her in her quest to see the Wizard. When they arrive at the Emerald City the Great Oz demands that they first bring him the broomstick of the Wicked Witch of the West. Then he will grant their requests. Dorothy and her friends set out to find the Witch, but she attacks them first. Her flying monkeys carry Dorothy and Toto off to the castle. Toto escapes the castle, and leads the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man back to the castle. They rescue Dorothy, and Dorothy accidentally melts the witch with a pail of water. As she dies, the witch shrieks, "You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting, melting! Oh what a world, what a world! Who would've thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness?" Even the Great Oz is surprised. And so are Dorothy and her friends when they discover the Great Oz is only a humbug--a good man, but a bad wizard. However, he does satisfy the three friends: he gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Cowardly Lion a medal, and the Tin Man a testimonial. As for Dorothy, he offers her a ride in his balloon back to Kansas. Just at the last moment, Toto jumps out of the balloon. The Great Oz sails away, and Dorothy is heartbroken.

At this crucial moment, Glinda comes and tells Dorothy she's got the power to go home herself. Now that she has learned her lesson, the ruby slippers have the power to carry her home. What is the lesson? Says Dorothy, "If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't go any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with." She taps her heels together three times, chants "there's no place like home," and . . . All her friends and family are at her bedside. She has recovered from her bump on the head (the falling window frame), and she is delighted to "be home again." "Oh Aunty Em, there's no place like home," says Dorothy with conviction.