cinema history was built both on a great story and greater actors as the "The Wizard of Oz" cast proves. Refusing to dull with the passage of time and the advancement of special effects, this classic story continues to be a strong display of movie magic. Reacquaint yourself with the Land of Oz and the stunning actors who helped make it a fantasy worth seeing again:
Although at first blush it might not appear to be a compliment, Margaret Hamilton sets the standard for all witches. With an ecstatic cackle and a face that takes to green makeup she dominates the world of evil in "The Wizard of Oz". It's not every role that can put fear in the hearts of monkey and man alike but Hamilton scares all species with no lessening of her power. She truly wears the role of a domineering queen of magic as she takes over every scene she shows up in. "The Wizard of Oz" wouldn't be half the movie it is without an opposing force to the good in Dorothy and the Wicked Witch of the West provides that with evil to spare.
Playing the man who is in desperate need of a heart and yet as kind as any person could be takes a sincere actor to pull it off. Jack Haley is the warrior character as the Tin Man and his quest to find the compassion and judgment that comes from having a heart is one of the many worthy quests in "The Wizard of Oz". His performance is exceptional as he's able to show the power of his role as a protector and how having emotions adds, not subtracts, from one's ability to make the proper choices.
Playing multiple roles within a film like "the Wizard of Oz" means Frank Morgan had to be just recognizable enough so that perceptive viewers would slowly come to realize his role as a perpetuator of a large facade. He had to be subtle and obvious, scary and endearing and most of all compassionate. Morgan carries this act off with aplomb and conveys all emotions with a directness that cuts to the chase and ensures that each feeling has its own power.
As the Cowardly Lion sought out a dose of courage the audience started out laughing at him, then with him and finally were won over enough to be rooting for him to succeed. Bert Lahr had the perfect face and expressions for the overgrown housecat that the Cowardly Lion embodied. With a voice that made you want to imitate him, Lahr made what could've been a pitied character become an additional hero in "The Wizard of Oz" and that is remarkably special.
Not all canines are created equal. Some dogs are fit to guard your home while others fit inside a purse. Terry was the dog to end all dogs, forget Lassie and toss out Benji, the name that sould be on your lips is Toto. With panache, Terry was so important to "The Wizard of Oz" that the Wicked Witch of the West included him in her threat against Dorothy and that requires a serious stage presence. Watch Terry's performance as she deals with the sudden upheaval from Earth to Oz and be thrilled as she makes it back home with Dorothy in tow. "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog, too!" wouldn't have been the same without Terry.