I hadn’t seen The Wizard of Oz since I was a little kid, and so I was most happy to trade in a volunteer voucher for it down at SIFF Cinema this month. And here’s the thing: We all know the story and the songs, and there are countless lines from it that have grown a bit moldy in the pop culture lexicon. But the damn thing still works, every bit of it.
The music’s still great, the effects are startlingly good considering their age, and the dream logic of it all was fantastic for me to revisit with my obsession with Where the Wild Things Are.
The day after I saw it, I threw Return to Oz and The Wiz into my Netflix queue. Return had given me nightmares as a child, where the Wheelers were racing after me, of course. Thankfully, that doesn’t hold up as an adult. And I’d never seen The Wiz before, so that was fun. I very much liked the concept of moving it to New York, since more Americans were living in cities (then and now). Take that, real America.