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The Wizard of Oz

The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 musical fantasy film based on L. Frank Baum's turn-of-the-century children's story The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, in which a resourceful American girl is snatched up by a Kansas tornado and deposited in a fantastic land of witches, talking scarecrows, cowardly lions, and more. It stars Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley[?], Bert Lahr[?], Billie Burke[?] and Margaret Hamilton[?].

The movie was adapted by Noel Langley[?], Florence Ryerson[?], Edgar Allan Woolf[?], Irving Brecher[?], (uncredited), William H. Cannon[?] (uncredited), Herbert Fields[?] (uncredited), Arthur Freed (uncredited), Jack Haley (additional dialogue) (uncredited), E.Y. Harburg (uncredited), Samuel Hoffenstein[?] (uncredited), Bert Lahr (additional dialogue) (uncredited), John Lee Mahin[?] (uncredited), Herman J. Mankiewicz[?] (uncredited), Jack Mintz[?] (uncredited), Ogden Nash (uncredited) and Sid Silvers[?] (uncredited). It was directed by Victor Fleming, Richard Thorpe[?] (uncredited) and King Vidor (uncredited).

It won Academy Awards for Best Music, Original Score and Best Music, Song (Harold Arlen[?] and E.Y. Harburg for Over the Rainbow[?]).

Buddy Ebsen had originally been cast in the role of the Tin Woodsman, but the metallic paint used in the makeup caused him an allergic reaction, and he had to leave the movie. The role of Dorothy, which Judy Garland made her own, had originally been earmarked for Shirley Temple.

The movie was only moderately successful in its initial theatrical run. Decades later it began to be shown regularly on television, and it is through those showings, as well as rereleases in theaters, that it achieved its present iconic status.

The Wizard of Oz has generated many rumours and stories, some of which have reached the level of urban legends. The most common of these, which refuses to die, claims that one of the cast or crew hanged himself on the set, and can be seen in the Enchanted Forest scene. This is not true. It is in fact an animal handler recapturing an escaped animal.

According to another story which appears to be true, the coat Frank Morgan wore as Professor Marvel, which was handpicked from a second-hand clothing rack, once belonged to L. Frank Baum (the author of the Oz series of books). The inside pocket had his name on it. After completion of the film, the coat was presented to Baum's widow who confirmed it was indeed his.

There is an apparent, but coincidental, correspondence between scenes in the movie and songs from the Pink Floyd album Dark Side of the Moon. The film has been deemed "culturally significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.

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