People shocked at ‘ingenious’ Wizard of Oz filming trick | Films | Entertainment

June 8, 2024
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Film enthusiasts are just now discovering the innovative filming technique used in an iconic scene from The Wizard of Oz.

A X (formerly Twitter) account has shed light on the camera trickery employed in one of the film’s most memorable scenes, 85 years after it was first shot.

The 1939 adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s 1900 fantasy novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, utilised unique angles and stand-ins to depict Dorothy transitioning from her sepia-toned world into the Technicolour realm of Oz.

A Judy Garland lookalike, dressed in sepia attire, was used before making way for the real Garland, clad in regular clothing, as Dorothy opens the door to Oz.

Technicolour was still relatively new at the time, and director Victor Fleming harnessed its potential to bring the fantastical world of Oz to life.

The HistoricVids account explained on X: “In the Wizard of Oz, the shot of Dorothy walking towards and opening the door was filmed in color on a set painted sepia toned and the Dorothy stand in wearing sepia clothes and make up. After she opens the door she moves out of frame and Judy Garland wearing the regular Dorothy clothes moves into frame.

“The use of Technicolor, a color film technology, allowed the filmmakers to create the vibrant and colorful world of Oz. The transition from black and white to color was a groundbreaking visual effect at the time and added to the magical experience of the film. [sic]”

Twitter users were fascinated by this revelation, with many declaring it one of the best scenes ever captured on film.

One social media user declared: “I just love this. I love when filmmakers operate like illusionists and magicians, it’s ingenious.”

Another enthused: “The Wizard of Oz was a milestone of cinema on so many dimensions. How did they figure that stuff out back then? Absolutely magical.”

A third hailed the clip as “one of the most iconic movie shots in cinema history”.

Even viewers who had witnessed the magical transition before were still left spellbound. One X user said: “Saw this in a theatre and it really is quite a stunning moment, even knowing it was coming. By this time you’ve spent enough time in the dark watching sepia tones to be used to it and then the Technicolor switch happens and everything is fantastically vibrant.”

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