The Cinematic Techniques of the Movie “Wizard of Oz”


The movie “Wizard of Oz” was released on 25th August 1939. It was produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and distributed by Loew’s, Inc. with a running time of 101 minutes. Victor Fleming and George Cukor directed the movie. Its stars include Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, and Ray Bolger. The three stars play the allocated roles to enhance the major themes in the movie such as family, fantasy, and adventure. However, the movie would not communicate the major themes to the audience with employing cinematic techniques. The paper discusses the cinematic techniques used in the movie and design elements. Besides, it includes the contribution of both cinematic techniques and design elements in developing its themes. The paper gives an opinion regarding the mice and the scene.

Cinematic Techniques

The movie “Wizard of Oz” was the most remarkable production in 1939. Besides, the movie marked the first color movie to appear on the national TV. Also, its directors Victor Fleming and George Cukor and cinematographer Harold Rosson demonstrated extraordinary creativity (Richard, 2014). That is, the special effects techniques used had created the film in future times. Therefore, the sequence of Dorothy leaving Kansas and arriving in Oz in the clip of the Wizard of Oz has been chosen to illustrate three cinematic techniques used in the film.

The three cinematic techniques employed in the chosen sequence include lighting, color and, focus. The characters of OZ in Kansas are a good example of three-point lighting. First, the movie utilizes lighting as the primary cinematic strategy in this sequence. In the first place, the front camera provides the source of light on the right elevated the right hand of the character. As a result, the character’s right-hand casts a shadow on the shirt of Aunty M shirt. Besides, the hat of the left character casts a shadow on his face’s right side. However, the left front of camera light source allows for the illumination of the character’s left side. As a result, the left side appears in a lower position than the right side. Besides, the rear light is in a lower position to be able to highlight the building located behind the characters.  Moreover, the scene uses the deep and sharp focus of lens which continues until the tornado arrives. Henceforth, then the focus on the characters become shallow although its focus on the tornado.

Furthermore, there is Tornado scene which has Special effects. There are high winds outside the house which blows off the door of the house. Besides, making use of smoke which is whirling around the head brings out a special effect. That is, it communicates to the audience she is about to go into a dream state. During this incidence, the low-light key used to focus its light on Dorothy’s forehead. The light appears above her at a particular angle. This technique helps to capture the smoke whirling in the air. Besides, it ensures the light is focused on her forehead to be able to set up her dreaming plot.

The second cinematic technique employed in the movie is the focus. The strategy is evident in the incidence when the neighbor is riding a bicycle and later becomes a witch riding a broom. At this juncture, the neighbor’s double exposure is responsible for the transformation into a witch. The focus on the neighbor is sharp before the conversion. However, during the transition the focus is withdrawn which is taken back when the neighbor is already a witch.

The movie makes use of color as the third cinematic technique. For instance, when Dorothy opens the door to see outside for the first time she notices the yellow brick road. Besides, the first overlay of the film color is black and white around 1939. The cinematographer demonstrated remarkable creativity by taking photos with black color at backdrop and Dorothy in front of a white house. Besides, in the sequence, the movie utilizes design elements which are in the costumes used in the movie. The designation of the costumes made them fit the dressing code of the period when the movie was produced (Victor, 2014). For instance, Dorothy dresses in a long dress to fit in that era. In addition to period, both cinematic techniques and design elements utilized in the movie have contributed toward its theme. For instance, Dorothy costumes were designed to be long for her to show respect to her elders. Similarly, the focus enhances another cinematic technique in the movie. During the transition of the neighbor into a witch, the focus was withdrawn to show the respect accorded to all groups of people in the society. Therefore, both cinematography and design elements contribute towards the theme.

The movie incorporates both mise en scenes. In my opinion, mise en scenes have added to the dramatic impact. The two work together to bring up a difference of a particular issue. For instance, mise en scene presents Dorothy differently when she is in Kansas and while in Oz. However, if the movie used other techniques, they would not be effective since they would not contribute towards the theme.


The movie “Wizard of Oz” was produced in 1939 to entertain and educate audience at that time. However, the popularity of the movie has been increasing every day to date. This is as a result of extraordinary creativity employed by its directors and cinematographer while producing it. Besides, the movie utilized cinematic techniques and design element which has contributed towards its themes. Besides, the incorporation of both mise en scene has played a substantial role in bringing out dramatic effect in the movie.

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