The Wizard of Oz - Success and Happiness
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
- The 16-year-old Judy Garland (as Dorothy) who sang its Oscar winning song,
Over the Rainbow. Louis B. Mayer, the boss of the film’s production studio, thought the song
was boring and should be cut!
- The magical Land of Oz and the Yellow Brick Road leading
to the Wizard of Oz.
- Dorothy’s magical ruby slippers.
The American L. Frank Baum’s (pictured right) 1900 children’s book, The Wonderful
Wizard of Oz (taken from the letters O-Z on his filing cabinet drawer!)
Victor Fleming (pictured right, who left before filming ended, so that he could start directing
Gone with the Wind).
Three including a special juvenile award for Judy Garland.
(Gone with the Wind won all the major
Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), 12-year-old girl.
Dorothy lives with her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry on their Kansas
farm during the Great Depression. She dreams of a better home, singing Over the Rainbow (pictured right).
Then a tornado hits the farm, sweeping Dorothy (and her dog, Toto) magically to
She becomes a national heroine, when her house falls on and kills the Wicked Witch of the East,
who controlled its tiny inhabitants, the Munchkins.
Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, appears and:
- explains to Dorothy what has happened to her.
- rescues her from the dramatic arrival of the Wicked Witch of the West (the dead wicked
witch's sister) who wants her ruby slippers.
Glinda (pictured right) then:
- magically puts the slippers on Dorothy's feet.
- tells her they will always keep her safe.
- sends her along the Yellow Brick Road (to find the Wizard of
Oz in the Emerald City to get his help to return home to Kansas).
Along the way, Dorothy meets three friends (pictured right) - a:
- Scarecrow (wanting a brain),
- Tin Man (wanting a heart)
- Cowardly Lion (wanting courage).
They are faced by several attempts by the Wicked Witch of the West to stop them including:
- an orchard of hostile talking apple trees.
- the sleep inducing poppy fields.
- arrive at the Emerald City.
- talk to the Wizard of Oz.
He says he will consider granting their wishes, if they can bring him the broomstick of the
Wicked Witch. So they head for the Witch’s castle.
On the way, they are attacked by flying monkeys who carry Dorothy and Toto to the
The Witch (pictured right):
- can't take the slippers, because they give her an electric shock.
- realizes that the only way to get the slippers is to kill Dorothy.
Toto manages to escape, but the Witch tells Dorothy she will die once a large hourglass with
red blood sand empties. Crying she asks for her Auntie Em, who appears, and Dorothy tells her she is trying to
Toto manages to find the Lion, Scarecrow and Tin Man and leads them to the castle, where they free
Dorothy. But the Witch and her guards, the Winkies, corner them on a parapet,
where the Witch sets the Scarecrow on fire.
Dorothy (pictured right):
- throws water on the flames.
- accidentally splashes the horrified Witch (so melting and killing her).
To their surprise, the Winkies are delighted and their captain rewards Dorothy with the Witch’s
On their return to the Wizard of Oz, he tells them to go away and come back tomorrow. But Toto pulls back the
curtain, showing that the Wizard is only a man.
The Wizard gives:
- the Scarecrow a Diploma (to show he has brains),
- the Lion a medal (for bravery)
- the Tin Man a large heart shaped watch (for his love of others).
They have found their brains, heart and courage through their dangerous journey with Dorothy (pictured right
The Wizard explains that he:
- came to Oz in a hot air balloon.
He promises to take Dorothy home in it (pictured right) after leaving the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion in
charge of the Emerald City.
Just before take-off, Toto jumps out of the balloon’s basket after a cat, followed by Dorothy. So the Wizard
But Glinda arrives to tell Dorothy that she can use the ruby slippers to return home with
- says goodbye to her friends.
- follows Glinda’s instructions (to tap her heels together three times and think “There is
no place like home”).
- wakes up in her bedroom (surrounded by her family and four friends who were the
Scarecrow, Tin Man, Lion and Wizard).
- tells them about her journey.
Everyone tells her it was a bad dream. But she is convinced it was real and hugs Toto happily, saying to Auntie
“There’s no place like home”.
Lessons for success and happiness
1. Believe in yourself to help yourself
Through their journey in Oz, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion find for themselves what
they want and defeat the Wicked Witch.
They can’t rely on other people (like the Wizard) to solve their problems.
2. Learn from experience
Glinda delayed telling Dorothy about the magical power of the ruby slippers to take her home,
so that she could learn from her experiences in the Land of Oz.
Dorothy and her friends (the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion) learn the importance of courage
and friendship to overcome evil and life’s problems (represented by the Wicked Witch).
3. Home is what you make it
Dorothy is glad to return home, because her absence made her realize all the nice people and good things
She finally says
“that, if I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look further than my own backyard, because, if
it isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with”
4. Follow your dreams
The boring bleakness of Kansas encourages Dorothy to dream of a more exciting home where, as she sings in Over
“the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true”.
A bright new future (into the Land of Oz) is represented by the film’s change into colour.
5. Dreams must be realistic
It’s great to have dreams but they must be achievable.
After a scolding from Auntie Em, Dorothy yearns for:
“some place where there isn’t only trouble”.
Of course, she discovers that such an ideal world doesn’t exist, as was shown by World War Two
soon after the film’s release.
6. Women are more powerful than men
The most powerful characters (Dorothy and the two witches) are women.
7. Appearances can deceive
The Wizard appears to be powerful but turns out to be an ordinary person.
When told by Dorothy that he’s a “very bad man” for not being magical, he replies:
“Oh, no, my dear, I...I’m a very good man – I’m just a very bad wizard”.
8. Love conquers evil
- conquers the Wicked Witch.
- returns home (with the help of her friends and Glinda, the Good Witch).
The Wizard tells the Tin Man that a heart is judged
“by how much you are loved by others”.
Key quotes on love and relationships
Hearts will never be practical until they can be made unbreakable, the Wizard (to the Tin
A heart is not judged by how much you love, but how much you are loved by others, the Wizard
(to the Tin Man).
Key quote on change
Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more, Dorothy (on arriving in Munchkinland).
Key quote on success
The dreams that you dare to dream really do come true, Dorothy (in the song, Over the
What makes a king out of a slave? Courage!, the Lion
Key quotes on happiness
Where troubles melt like lemon drops, away above the chimney tops. That’s where you’ll find me,
Dorothy (in the song, Over the Rainbow).
You’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz. You’ll find he is a whiz of a wiz, if ever a wiz there
was, the Munchkins (singing to Dorothy).
Key quote on family
There’s no place like home, Dorothy.
Two film websites to recommend
1. filmsite.org (run by Tim Dirks).
2. aveleyman.com (run by Tony Sullivan)