Jose here trying to stop obsessing about The Wizard of Oz without any success...
The beloved masterpiece turns 70 tomorrow and remains as fresh and delightful as the day when it first came out.
Its timeless success is owed to what I think is the greatest monologue in film history, Judy Garland's iconic delivery of "Over the Rainbow".
As Dorothy Gale, Garland puts onscreen the ultimate performance of misunderstood childhood; you know the one, where we make everything way bigger than what it is, where we drown ourselves in a glass of water and the easiest solution is always the one that comes in the shape of escapism. For Dorothy it's the threat that her dog Toto will be taken away from her for destroying one of her neighbor's gardens.
Her Aunt asks her to "find a place where you won't get yourself into any trouble" which prompts the girl to belt out the Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg tune, as she looks towards the sky wondering if whatever is beyond the rainbow will help her.
The Academy Award winning song had originally been removed from the film after producers deemed it "dull" following a preview. Fortunately they had a change of heart and re-inserted what has become an anthem for those in need of assistance in times of great stress. Here is the scene for those who have never seen it or simply crave to enjoy it again:
Interestingly the song also has some lines and verses which are rarely used and have remained obscure, but help to add more to that feeling of angst inside Dorothy. This introductory verse for example, is limited mostly to theatrical productions of "Oz" and was sung merely once by Garland herself.
When all the world is a hopeless jumble
And the raindrops tumble all around,
Heaven opens a magic lane
When all the clouds darken up the skyway,
There's a rainbow highway to be found
Leading from your window pane
To a place behind the sun,
Just a step beyond the rain
It seems as if it would've helped the song obtain more depth, but considering how flawless the sequence is, the verse is important if only in terms of historical value.
There is also a second chorus,
Someday I'll wake and rub my eyes
And in that land beyond the skies,
You'll find me
I'll be a laughing daffodil
And leave the silly cares that fill
My mind behind me
which has been used even less times (Jewel sang it once).
What becomes clear from these unused pieces is that the place Dorothy sang about was always Oz and that the film's finale, again perfect and not to be tampered with, only adds a touch of melancholy to the fact that Dorothy found the place she dreamed of but had to give it away.
If that happiness/sadness duality isn't magic, I don't know what is then...