Cinematic Wizardry of the Studio System

         The studio system that evolved in the United States was of utmost importance for the development of film. The studio system took movies to a new level, with brilliant color, sound, and use of "stars." The competition of the studio system, especially throughout the 1930s, lead to the making of American pictures as seen today. The epitome of the studio system can be seen in the slew of great movies that were produced in 1939, including Gone with the Wind, Wuthering Heights, and The Wizard of Oz.

         The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming, is truly a classic film. The Wizard of Oz focuses on the story of Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland), and her dog Toto, as they struggle to make it back to Kansas. This fantasy tale, filmed brilliantly in Technicolor, is the ultimate film of escape and entertainment. This film is important because of its overall epic nature. It allows the audience to be carried away in a tale that is about the wonderful world of fantasy and imagination. This is especially important, because this is what made studio hits such as The Wizard of Oz such as success. The Wizard of Oz was a spectacle meant to distract audiences from the harsh times. The Wizard of Oz did not focus on the realities of war, suffering, and poverty in the world. The Wizard of Oz allowed people to enjoy themselves, which is why these studio productions became so popular.

         The Wizard of Oz incorporated many techniques that allowed it to become one of the most popular films of all time. It used Technicolor in an opulent manner, highlighting the colors of the extravagant "yellow brick road" and the "Emerald City." It demonstrated the beauty of film in color. The Wizard of Oz also incorporated the use of a musical format. This music used throughout the film added to the film's happy theme, and proved that the musical was a profitable movie format.

        This is why I love The Wizard of Oz. It is a classic movie that truly set a precedent for years to come. The Wizard of Oz, as a product of the studio system (at MGM), showed how American movies developed into extravagant pictures. The Wizard of Oz can still be seen to influence movies to this day, through its themes, structures, and beautiful cinematography.

Work Cited

Cook, David A. A History of Narrative Film. 4th ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 2004.

Megan Locke

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