Children’s cinema: the Wizard of Oz, a magical masterpiece to share
Do you want your children to discover the greatest masterpieces of cinema, adapted to their young age? This wonderful and inventive musical tale is one of the essentials. We explain to you why.
Once upon a time
Dorothy is an orphan who lives happily with her uncle and aunt in Kansas. The only downside to her young picture: a nasty neighbor who wants to get rid of her dog Toto. As she tries to save him, the little girl finds herself caught in the heart of a tornado. The start of a dream adventure that transports them both to the magical land of Oz, protected by the magical witch of the North but also tormented by the wicked witch of the West. Put on the magic ruby shoes (and cult) that the latter covets, Dorothy will go in search of the Wizard of Oz, only being able to help her get home. She will be accompanied in her quest, a scarecrow eager to have a brains, a tin man lacking a heart and a lion whose greatest wish is to have courage …
What they will love
Classic of American cinema of the 1940s, born of the combined genius of the greatest directors of the time (Victor Fleming in the credits, but also King Vidor, George Cukor and Mervyn LeRoy among the uncredited), The Wizard of Oz is the tale ideal musical to awaken the cinephilia of your children. Songs that have become cult (the mythical “Over the rainbow” in mind), a magnificent visual universe full of originality, amazing little imaginary beings (the friendly munchkins): everything is there to open their little dazzled eyes wide. Add to that enough action (the tornado or the attack of the flying monkeys whose special effects remain convincing), beautiful moments of suspense, and the relationship of euphoric friendship between the adorable Dorothy (unforgettable Judy Garland) and her three traveling companions and you will have the perfect ingredients for a successful initiation to the cinema of the past.
What can worry them
If the beginning of the black and white film can put them off a little, reassure your children, it does not last and this, thanks to the genius of the staging which, when Dorothy arrives in the colorful country of Oz , takes us from the sad world of sepia to the magical one of technicolor. A superb visual find that will delight, we bet, your apprentice critics. Another detail on which they will twist: in the often available versions of the film, the moments sung are in English, which does not detract from the joy they bring, as long as we let ourselves be carried. At the level more precisely of the intrigue, it is especially the appearances of the nasty neighbor become green ugly witch who will be able to make them shiver, the more so as, like a Darth Vader before the letter, the latter is accompanied by a deliberately not reassuring musical theme.
What they keep deep inside them
Joy and wonder without a doubt, housed in the heart of real life lessons as clear as they are unforgettable. A true tale illustrating the transition to adulthood, this American classic also offers many readings full of various lessons, depending on the age at which one lends oneself to it. Among them, the importance of believing in yourself and overcoming your faults and shortcomings to appreciate what you are and what you have, around and deep inside. Being incomplete and often alone, the heroes of the Wizard of Oz (who himself does not escape the rule either) indeed find their way (of life) only by dint of perseverance, courage and solidarity. And by understanding that only the love of one’s own (“I stay with those I love”) allows us to move forward, to dare to leave the colorful world of dreams for the more mixed one of reality. A musical journey as much as a visual and humanistic one, Le Magicien d’Oz was, it must be remembered, a source of continuous inspiration for the literature, series, films and other musicals that followed it, influences that your children will have pleasure to find and note as their cultural universe is enriched.
Discover the magical Wizard of Oz in pictures: