Cinemallennials: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Cinemallennials: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Cinemallennials The Wizard of Oz

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Cinemallennials, it is a bi-weekly podcast in which I, and another millennial, watch a classic film that we’ve never seen before, and discuss its significance and relevance in today’s world.

In this episode, I talked with German film director, and host of Lars Henriks Podcast International, Lars Henriks about one of the most beloved films of all time, The Wizard of Oz (1939). While most Americans are introduced to the wonderful land of Oz very early on in their cinematic lives, this wasn’t the case for Lars who remembers his cinematic childhood through the lens of mostly Disney animated films and some traditional folk tales. As Lars is a director who has a special affinity for the unique and fantastical, I was intrigued to see how he would react to the quintessential American fantasy film. 

the wizard of oz
The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), The Tin Man (Jack Haley), Dorothy (Judy Garland) and The Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) traverse the Yellow Brick Road.

From being the first film that truly made Technicolor a culturally resonant phenomenon to its technical achievements, no wonder, The Wizard of Oz is considered one of the greatest films of all time, and is the film that made future fantasy stories – often considered impossible to adapt into film, like The Lord of the Rings – possible for generations to come. Oh and, we can’t forget the unforgettable cast of characters. Whether it be Dorothy, The Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, The Tin Man, or even The Wicked Witch of the West – all of the characters have their own charming personalities and rewarding arcs. We see them fail and fail until they skip over the hurdles that are constantly put in front of them on the Yellow Brick Road.

Judy Garland The Wizard of Oz, singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow
Dorothy (Judy Garland) singing Somewhere Over the Rainbow.

The film is also famous for the countless development stories that have emerged over the last 82 years – its mistakes, its successes, and of course, the people behind the scenes that went on to make cinematic history. The Wizard of Oz’s legacy is still prevalent today, as it is not only notable for its writing and directing, but also its casting, musical compositions, elaborate sets, and costume design. These elements have influenced the world of filmmaking since the film’s release in 1939.

wizard of oz scarecrow
The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), watching over his crops.

During this episode, Lars and I will be discussing topics like a child’s blissful and yet often scary unconditional acceptance of film as reality, how certain childhood films can shape a region’s youth, and how sometimes in our day and age, someone that seems powerful may just be someone behind a curtain throwing levers and pushing knobs unknowing of what they do.

Through our journey to Oz and back, we as the younger generation, can see the timeline of all of our most beloved childhood films and can be made aware of how our cinematic experiences often shape our perceptions of reality – and how, through connecting to our childhood, we can create a kinder, more accepting world, just like the land of Oz.

I hope you enjoy this episode of Cinemallennials, which you can find here on apple podcasts or on spotify. Please reach out to me as I would love to hear your thoughts on The Wizard of Oz, especially if you’re a first-time viewer too!

— Dave Lewis for Classic Movie Hub

You can read all of Dave’s CMH Cinemallennials articles here.

Dave Lewis is the producer, writer, and host of Cinemallennials, a podcast where he and another millennial watch a classic film that they haven’t seen before ranging from the early 1900s to the late 1960s and discuss its significance and relevance in our world today. Before writing for Classic Movie Hub, Dave wrote about Irish and Irish-American history, the Gaelic Athletic Association in the United States, and Irish innovators for Irish America magazine. You can find more episodes of Cinemallennials, film reviews and historical analyses, on Dave’s website or his YouTube channel.

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