I've always loved The Wizard of Oz, (1939) mostly because of a Boxing Day tradition of watching it with family. Besides that, it is a classic film. Where else do you get the booming voice of “Oz”, ruby red slippers, a pigtailed teenager screeching “Toto!”, talking scarecrows, a witch who swears vengeance and sends flying monkeys to get the job done? Of course you can find such magic in Harry Potter, but for the most part you'll be firmly thinking of The Wizard of Oz.
Most of us are familiar with the story – Dorothy (Judy Garland) lives in Kansas, where everything is in black and white, because this film was made in the thirties and CGI wasn't quite in existence back then. A tornado and bump on the head later and Dorothy is transported to both Oz and Technicolour. In Oz she meets a cast of strange, wonderful and downright awful people – Glinda the Good Witch, The Wicked Witch of the West, the munchkins, Scarecrow, The Tin Man, The Cowardly Lion and eventually the great and powerful Oz himself.
This film has remained one of my favourites since childhood, but I find it difficult to decide exactly why. It lives with my love of ancient Disney films and embarrassing adoration of The Princess Diaries – loved but old. If grainy quality isn't your thing, overlook it in favour of Dorothy, iconic in her shimmering slippers and blue and white dress. Dorothy's earnest desire to go back to Kansas and her genuinely good nature helps you overlook the fact that she wants to return to a town where her horrible neighbour intends to “get” her dog and she has to help out on a farm (inspiring a line even more iconic than Dorothy and her dress: “I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!”) but clearly Dorothy's bump on the head addled a few brain cells – or perhaps “there's no place like home” (please excuse the cheese).
Dorothy follows the yellow brick road and eventually reaches Emerald City, where the Wizard of Oz dwells. She is accompanied by a scarecrow in search of a brain, a man made of tin looking for a heart and a cowardly lion attempting to gather some gumption/bravery/the ammunition to tell the Wicked Witch that green makes her look not just jealous, but like an avocado. The results of their quest involve the biggest revelation Oz has ever seen, the melting of a witch, a somewhat strange awards ceremony and the slippers that so nearly made Dorothy a fashion victim as well as a hurricane one.
If you've seen The Wizard of Oz, watch it again. If you haven't, watch the film that will forever remind you of childhood.