“The Wizard of Oz” is a classic film beloved by generations, but the behind-the-scenes stories of its production are not as well-known. The making of the film was plagued with a series of horrors, including injuries, near-death experiences, and mental breakdowns.
The most famous incident occurred during the filming of the scene where the Wicked Witch of the West disappears in a cloud of smoke. Actress Margaret Hamilton, who played the witch, was accidentally caught in the special effects and suffered severe burns on her face and hands. She had to take a six-week break from filming to recover and even then, she had to wear green makeup to hide the scars on her face.
Another harrowing experience occurred during the scene where the Tin Man is introduced. Actor Buddy Ebsen was originally cast in the role but had to be replaced after developing a severe allergic reaction to the silver makeup. His lungs became coated in the metallic powder, causing him to have difficulty breathing. Jack Haley was then cast as the Tin Man, and the makeup was changed to a safer aluminum paste.
But the horrors did not end there. The actor who played the Cowardly Lion, Bert Lahr, was constantly harassed by the director, Victor Fleming, who would insult him and call him a “sissy.” Lahr eventually suffered a nervous breakdown, and Fleming was forced to apologize and treat him with more respect.
Even the main star, Judy Garland, had her own struggles during the making of the film. She was only 16 years old at the time and was forced to wear a tight corset to make her appear younger. She also suffered from insomnia due to the pressure and stress of filming, and she was given pills to help her sleep.
Despite all these challenges, “The Wizard of Oz” went on to become one of the most beloved films of all time, with its iconic characters, memorable songs, and timeless message. The behind-the-scenes horrors of its production may be shocking, but they only add to the mystique and fascination of this classic film.
“The Wizard of Oz” is a classic musical fantasy film released in 1939. It was directed by Victor Fleming, and based on L. Frank Baum’s novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The film starred Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, a young girl who is swept away to a magical land called Oz after a tornado hits her home in Kansas. There, she embarks on a journey to meet the Wizard of Oz, who she hopes can help her return home. Along the way, she meets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, and faces off against the Wicked Witch of the West.
The film was a critical and commercial success upon its release, and has since become a beloved classic. It is known for its iconic songs, including “Over the Rainbow”, and its use of vibrant Technicolor. The Wizard of Oz was nominated for multiple Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won two, for Best Original Song and Best Original Score.
Behind the scenes, however, the making of the film was not without its horrors. The actress who played the Wicked Witch of the West, Margaret Hamilton, suffered severe burns on her face and hands during a stunt gone wrong. Additionally, the film’s director was fired halfway through production and replaced by George Cukor. The film also faced censorship challenges due to its portrayal of witches and flying monkeys, which some deemed too frightening for children.
Despite these challenges, “The Wizard of Oz” remains a beloved classic and a staple of popular culture. Its legacy has endured through numerous adaptations and spin-offs, including a Broadway musical and a 1978 sequel titled “The Wiz”.