Making the Depression Less Depressing

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The Wizard of Oz: Making the Depression Less Depressing In the years since Victor Fleming's filem the Wizard of Oz, based on the novel by L. Frank Baum, Was released in 1939, "it has become one of the foundations of American...culture" (Constantakis, 310). The film begin is grey, dustbowl Kansas, a land wraked by the Great Depression. The Depression began with the stock market crash of 1929 and lasting more than ten years before the United States entered World War II and began to get the economy moving again. Kansas and much of middle America was tormented by dust-bowl conditions as a prolonged drought made farming nearly impossible. During the Great Depression, Hollywood played a valuble "psychological and ideological role, providing reassurance and hope to a demoralized nation" ("Hollywood"), and The Wizard of Oz does just that. This film by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) follows Dorothy, a young girl who runs away from her home in Kansas, but after stubling upon an amateur magician who convinces her to turn around and go back, Dorothy and her house are caught up in a twister. Dorothy then falls into a dream, a place in full color where all her friends back in Kansas are charaacters, a place called Oz. Oz is a magical place where Dorothy must travel with her friends, a Scare Crow insearch of a brain, a Cowerdly Lion in search of courage, a Tin Man in looking for a heart, to the see the Wizard of Oz, a man who might be able to send Dorothy back home to Kansas. Along the way, she and her friends must face the Wicked Witch of West, who is power hungry and seeking to steal Dorothy's newly aquired red slippers that have the power to send her home, all with the help of Glinda, the good Witch of the North. Viewers of The Wizard of Oz... ... middle of paper ... Only (1939) THE SCREEN IN REVIEW; 'The Wizard of Oz,' Produced by the Wizards of Hollywood, Works Its Magic on the Capitol's Screen--March of Time Features New York At the Music Hall At the Palace." Rev. of The Wizard of Oz. The New York Times 18 Aug. 1939: n. pag. Print. Randall, Jessy. "The Wizard of Oz." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Thomas Riggs. 2nd ed. Vol. 5. Detroit: St. James Press, 2013. 404-406. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. Winning, Robert. "The Wizard of Oz." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 4th ed. Vol. 1: Films. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 1322-1325. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 2 Feb. 2014. The Wizard of Oz. Dir. Victor Fleming. Perf. Judy Garland, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke. MGM, 1939.
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