Assignment 1 – Narrative Report
Story and Plot
In a narrative film, a plot is considered all visible and audible elements present in a film, in essence the film in its entirety including nondiegetic images. In The Wizard of Oz, the plot begins with Dorothy (Judy Garland), a young farm girl from Kansas who dreams of escaping to ‘somewhere over the rainbow’ without troubles and torment for her dog Toto from a horrible neighbour Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton). During a tornado she is hit on the head and is transported to the World of Oz where she meets characters transformed from her Kansas life at home, meeting three companions who are all missing a quality that they wish to gain. She goes on a journey with them all to see the Wizard (Frank Morgan) down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City, defeating the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) and visits the Wizard who rewards her friends with all of their wishes. Dorothy then gains her wish to go home to Kansas where she wakes up in her own bedroom, greeted by her beloved family and friends who have missed her.
A story is all events present in a narrative including both those that are explicitly presented and those that are implied, including diegetic elements. The story of The Wizard of Oz has a temporal duration over several days and goes beyond the plot by also including an underlying element of familiarity through the characters being present in both Kansas life and in the magical Oz.
It is insinuated that Dorothy experiences this adventure internally in a dream state, as she travels through Oz meeting characters who represent significant people in her Kansas life and in turn facing challenges, conflict and gaining unconditional friendship, learning valuable life lessons including the appreciation of her home and family and friends in Kansas.
The explicit meaning of the film falls in line with this story of a young girl who wishes to escape the troubles in her life and comes to realise how much she appreciates home and the people there only after she has left it.
Implicit meaning could be analysed through the underlying theme throughout the film which centres around a young teenager confronting her childhood fears and developing emotionally through challenges and adversity, discovering that what she was seeking was there all along, if she had only had the courage and strength to seek it out. This being the moral of the story shown at the climax of the film when the Wizard reveals to the Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), Tinman (Jack Haley) and Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) that the qualities they seek, a brain, heart and courage respectively, come from within and when Dorothy is told that she has always had the power to go back to Kansas she just had to find it within herself, from Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke).
Opening and Closing
The opening scene of The Wizard of Oz begins shot in sepia tones, with a concerned and alarmed Dorothy and Toto running down a road away from Miss Gulch, the viewer then meets the characters of Aunt Em (Clara Blandick), Uncle Henry (Charlie Grapewin) and the characters of the farm hands (Ray Bolger, Jack Haley & Bert Lahr). As Dorothy desperately tries to tell someone about the off screen confrontation with Miss Gulch the viewer then meets Miss Gulch’s character who has a court order to take Toto away to destroy him. Dorothy’s upset reaction to this action shows Dorothy’s kind and caring nature and her dedication to her pet, which are traits presented consistently throughout the film.
The set up of the film continues with Toto escaping from Miss Gulch’s bicycle basket and reuniting with Dorothy at the farm, raising expectations that Toto will be safe and Miss Gulch will not be successful in her goal to have him destroyed. This is confirmed during the scene of Dorothy’s house flying around in the tornado, where the viewer sees characters through Dorothy’s window in the eye of the tornado, where it...
References: Bordwell & Thompson, 2010, Film Art: An Introduction, McGraw Hill, New York
Study Guide CMM17 Introduction to Screen Analysis 2010, School of Humanities, Humanities and Social Sciences, Griffith University, Brisbane
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
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