Hollywood’s proto-psychedelic masterpiece The Wizard of Oz, from 1939, is a movie about an injustice triggering a whirlwind and a house from Kansas flying off to crush a wicked witch in a far-off land.
This film did its noble bit to prepare Americans psychologically for their decisive intervention in the coming world war. Now it has been remastered and revived on giant Imax screens and in 3D: the best possible reason for taking another look at this extraordinary film, whose images can be savoured on a gasp-inducing scale. The sugar-rush of that transformation from monochrome to colour is now even more overwhelming, and the dream-fantasia of Oz even more dazzling.
Theoretically, its message is that there’s no place like home, but frankly Oz is more glorious than boring old home: Hollywood was built by people who couldn’t wait to get away from home and head for the Oz dream-factory in California. The Wizard of Oz is really funny, apart from everything else, and the colossal Imax screen allows an even closer look at Hollywood’s most famous near-corpse – when Judy Garland comes close to laughing during her first scene with Bert Lahr, playing the Cowardly Lion.
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