“The Wizard of Oz? A Cult Classic? I appreciate that it is a classic but a cult movie? You are talking about one of the most famous films of all time. It has literally spurned shows, sequels, prequels, musicals, merchandise and more. Literally everyone on the planet has heard of The Wizard of Oz. It is ridiculously famous. You’ve lost it Cookie, you were supposed to be a striving force in cult cinema and you’ve gone only gone and blown it. Nope, no, nien and non. The Wizard of Oz is not a cult classic. Goodbye forever Cookie N Screen.”
Well, not exactly. Cult movies have a varied range, the umbrella that holds them altogether really is large enough to house movies such as The Wizard of Oz. There is such thing as a Cult Blockbuster and The Wizard of Oz is a perfect example. After all, it may be a legendary status now but it didn’t always start of that way.
For those who still live in the black and white or under a rock, the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz is a story about a young girl named Dorothy. Living in a the lonely country world of Kansas and having her dog Toto threatened after he bites someone, she dreams of being whisked off to another world. When a tornado strikes and she wakes up in the colourful, magical world of Oz; Dorothy cannot believe her eyes. But Dorothy must find her way home. Following the yellow brick road and joined by a scarecrow, a lion and a tin man, Dorothy must find the Wizard and defeat the Wicked Witch of the West if she is ever to find Kansas again. Based on a book by Frank Baum, The Wizard of Oz is a wonderful and bright movie that has captured the hearts of millions.
“That’s all well and good, but where is this cult aspect you hammered on about only paragraphs ago?”
On initial release, The Wizard of Oz pretty much panned. Re-cooping £3,000,000 after a £2,000,000 budget, the movie was not a huge box office smash and was considered a dud. Although it had a great critical success, it was MGM’s most expensive project that, at the beginning, didn’t make back the studios investment. It was only after re-release did popularity flock to The Wizard of Oz. Ten years after its debut, MGM brought back the movie and luckily so. It gained additional profit and a wider audience. Soon enough, The Wizard of Oz began to feature annually in television schedules and cinematic releases. With the help of VHS, The Wizard of Oz became the smash hit you know and love today. Shown every Christmas, to every child, everywhere; well, you know the rest.
The Wizard of Oz has sparked an ever-growing fan base with the phenomenon passed down from generation to generation. Another batch of children wait to sit starry eyed at a screen filled with magic and rainbows. It has many popular spin offs including the stage musical Wicked and new film Oz: The Great and Powerful. Similarly to Star Wars, it also amassed a huge cult following, particularly with the LBGT community. Every year, a cinema will re-show the movie and hundreds of fans will flock donned in ruby slippers and pigtails.
The Wizard of Oz echoes throughout us all. It is a film that gives us hope that the glistening world that we have dreamed of really does exist. There is colour against the void, beckoning us to dream. The cast and crew thought so too and MGM pushed the movie again and again. Now, The Wizard of Oz is the most watched movie of all time.
Just think, if there had never been a re-release and MGM had cut its losses; the world would be a different place. After all, what is our dark and dreary world without its yellow brick road.
Off to see the Wizard,