The Wizard of Oz is a 1939 American musical fantasy film produced by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. It was directed primarily by Victor Fleming. Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf received credit for the screenplay, but there were uncredited contributions by others. The lyrics for the songs were written by E.Y. Harburg, the music by Harold Arlen. Incidental music, based largely on the songs, was by Herbert Stothart, with borrowings from classical composers.
As a child, author L. Frank Baum had a recurring dream where he was being chased by a scarecrow.
Judy Garland's ruby slippers are among the most valuable movie memorabilia. Five pairs are known to exist. One pair sold for $666,000 at an auction in 2000.
When the movie script was being adapted from the book, the role of the Wizard was written with W.C. Fields in mind for the part.
The film rights to L. Frank Baum's book were purchased by MGM for $75,000, a very large sum at the time.
The production costs came in at $2,777,000 – a vast sum for the time. On initial release, the film only earned $3m.
Bert Lahr's costume weighed 90 pounds.
The multi-colored horses in Emerald City were colored with Jell-O crystals and those scenes had to be filmed quickly before the horses licked it off.
In the original novel, the gift given to the Tin Man is not a heart clock but a stuffed satin heart put into the Woodsman's chest and then patched over with tin.
Baum was obsessed with the theater. His father actually built him one in 1880, but it burned down—ironically enough during a production of Baum’s play Matches.
Shirley Temple was considered to play Dorothy because she was close to the actual age of Dorothy and popular at the time. Her vocal capabilities were thought inadequate for the role.
Most of the Munchkins' voices were dubbed by professional singers because most of them could not speak English or sing well.