Reading Film (Fall 2011)

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Investigative Proposal #3 latest revision

October 31st, 2011 by martinvukaj · No Comments · 3 Investigative Proposal


Martin Vukaj

English 110

Prof Ferguson


Investigative Proposal revised 3


The Wizard of Oz, directed by Victor Fleming in 1939, was a depression era American musical fantasy film, revolving around the protagonist Dorothy and her trustful sidekick dog Toto. The film was based on the children’s novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, written by L. Frank Baum. Initially regarded as a box office flop, The Wizard of Oz is highly regarded as the most popular film of all time and most beloved. The film introduced new technicolor features which were highly expensive. Technicolor provided the audience with flashy colors previously not experienced with any other film released during the Depression. The depression was in full force by 1939, and when the film came out it seemed to have an uplifting effect on the population, especially with songs like “Over the Rainbow,” which was one of the most popular songs after the film was released. The family oriented musical genre, in general, was one in which families during the Depression seemed more likely to watch and that was due in part to the fact that these films provided the viewers with an uplifting feel during these harsh economic times. The psychological frailty in the minds of the American population during the Depression were deeply affected by films, and the question at hand is: How have family oriented musicals, such as The Wizard of Oz, provided the movie viewing population a psychological sense of escapism during the time of the Depression?

After performing this study, the research gathered will provide the film viewing population more evidence in how films can help affect the psychology of minds in general and under a specified scope during the hard economic times in the Depression. An analysis of how family oriented films affect the attendance ratings of films in comparison to other genres will also be accounted for. I will also look for attendance ratings due to region in the United States, and an analysis of the film The Wizard of Oz on society during the Depression in comparison to now will also be made. The cultural undertones in the film will also be examined as well, such as the “Yellow Brick Road.”

There would be many methods for researching this topic that I would employ. I would first research the attendance ratings of family oriented musical movies during the Depression, prior to The Wizard of Oz, then those after, which would provide me with evidence if this genre actually affected attendance. I would research film reviews and criticisms of The Wizard of Oz, and relative films in the genre, which would provide me with views of how the film was received in1939 in comparison to now. Research about the signs and messages the film conveys, such as the “Yellow Brick Road” and the “Ruby Red Slippers” will also be utilized in an effort to understand the historical context the film has as well. I would examine how films affect psychology, especially during the times of the Depression. I would also examine how film was used as an “escape” from reality, especially during this poor economic era, and how The Wizard of Oz did a great job of providing that “escape” for viewers.

For me to answer these questions, the use of various resources would be utilized. I would use a filmography book which would tell me most of the important information on The Wizard of Oz, as well as the use of the internet on the film also. I would look at reviews and criticisms of The Wizard of Oz from 1939, and some reviews and criticisms years after. I would also use statistics and data analysis on movie attendance ratings prior to The Wizard of Oz and then statistics of those after, and research among family oriented musical films attendance ratings for the depression would also be used as well. I would look at books regarding film as an “escape” from reality, then specifically of films during the Depression, and how these films reflect the psychological frailty of the population during this time.

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