The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz

1939 movie based on the book by L. Frank Baum
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The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. An adaptation of L. Frank Baum's 1900 children's fantasy novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, the film was primarily directed by Victor Fleming (who left the production to take over the troubled Gone with the Wind), and stars Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke and Margaret Hamilton. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but others made uncredited contributions. The songs were written by Edgar "Yip" Harburg and composed by Harold Arlen. The musical score and incidental music were composed by Herbert Stothart.

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Release date
  • August 25, 1939 (1939-08-25)
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Running time
101 minutes
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United States
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English
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Budget
$3,000,000 USD
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Box office
$15,000,000 USD
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ADDITIONAL DETAILS

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Cowardly Lion: [singing] If I were king of the fore-e-e-est / Not queen, not duke, not prince / My regal robes of the fore-e-e-est / Would be satin, not cotton, not chintz / I'd command each thing, whether fish or fowl / With a r-r-ruff and a r-r-ruff, and a royal growl - R-R-Ruff! / As I click my heels / All the trees would kneel / And the mountains bow / And the bulls kowtow / And the sparrow would take wing / If I, if I were ki-i-i-i-ng! / The rabbits would show respect to me / The chipmunks genuflect to me / Though my tail would lash / I would show compash / For every underling / If I, if I were king / Just ki-i-i-i-ing!
  • The Wicked Witch of the West is named Elphaba in Gregory Maguire's 1995 novel 'Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West', which tells much of the story and back-story from 'The Wizard of Oz' from the Witch's perspective and portrays her as a sympathetic victim of circumstances. The name 'Elphaba' was derived from Oz' writer L. Frank Baum's initials, L-F-B.
  • Herbert Stothart, who scored this film, also scored Marie Antoinette (1938). A recycled piece from that film can be heard during the scene in which Dorothy and her friends attempt an escape from the Witch's castle.
  • At the time that CBS purchased the television rights to The Wizard of Oz (1939), MGM had sold most of its pre-1950's film library to individual stations across the U.S. The two major films they had not sold were Gone with the Wind (1939) (which MGM controlled the rights to) and "The Wizard of Oz". It would be twenty more years before "Gone With the Wind" would come to television.
  • On March 18, 2010, on Celebrity Jeopardy (Jeopardy! (1984)), the contestants were Cheech Marin, Aisha Tyler, and Anderson Cooper. The final category was Authors, and the clue was: In 1890, he witnessed a mild cyclone in Aberdeen, South Dakota, fodder for his most famous novel. The answer was L. Frank Baum (which none of the contestants got right.) While revealing the answer, Alex Trebek also revealed that that film had been "filmed right in this studio lot."
  • L. Frank Baum's novel is considerably more gruesome than MGM's rendition. For example, "Kalidahs" (tiger-bear hybrids) are dashed to pieces in a crevasse, the Tin Man uses his axe to chop off the heads of a wildcat and forty wolves, bumblebees sting themselves to death against the Scarecrow, and the Wizard orders the four to actually kill the Wicked Witch of the West, not simply to retrieve her broomstick.

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