Victor Fleming’s 1939 classic The Wizard of Oz has gone down in history as one of the most recognisable musicals ever made. An iconic adaptation of the original novel by L. Frank Baum, the film has become immortalised in popular culture because of its artistic achievements as well as all the mysterious events that surrounded the production.
A brilliant example of Technicolor filmmaking, The Wizard of Oz is still regarded as an indispensable classic because the visual power of the images on screen is undeniable. The film represents the escapist fantasy that cinema has to offer, transporting the audience to a mystical land. Described as a “Freudian fantasy”, the towering legacy of The Wizard of Oz is unquantifiable.
Behind the spectacle of The Wizard of Oz, there were many dark details about the entire production process. For starters, Judy Garland was severely mistreated during the filming of this project. Having already been addicted to amphetamines, Garland was forced to go on a strict diet and was also reportedly slapped by Fleming on the set because she giggled.
In addition to that, Garland was paid significantly less than some of her other co-stars while Margaret Hamilton – the actress who played the iconic role of the Wicked Witch of the West – suffered from burns because of the use of unsafe makeup and extreme temperatures. All these details about the production have formed an integral part of the mythology of the film.
Since then, many other directors and artists have been deeply influenced by what they took away from The Wizard of Oz. Critically acclaimed writer Salman Rushdie described the film as his “very first literary influence” while other filmmakers attempted to make sequels and remakes of their own. Last year, New Line Cinema also announced that yet another remake was in the works which would incorporate elements from the original.
The Wizard of Oz has also had a definitive impact on the frameworks of popular culture. Ranging from memes to fan-made animation and other associated media, the memory of the 1939 classic is alive and well. One such product is an entirely alphabetised version of the original film, featuring every single word in alphabetical order.
Created by coder Matt Bucy, the project was an attempt to create an entire cut of the film that was alphabetised. Made in 2004, Bucy was challenged by his friend to come up with an original idea and he decided to embark on this particular adventure. Contrary to what others may think, it did not take Bucy a long time at all since he programmed his way around it.
In an interview, Bucy explained: “I’m a coder, and hell if I was going to tackle this manually! So I wrote a simple little app that helped me and another friend take the movie apart, marking out all the words one by one. It was still pretty manual, but I used a nifty little technique to visually display the soundtrack such that words were easy to spot and locate. It went very fast.”
Watch the alphabetised version of The Wizard of Oz below.