Think about the comic book-based superhero franchise films we get today. A number of those characters are caped as they zoom through the air. Dorothy Gale flew through the air too. She flew when lifted up by a twister, an occurrence of nature.
We need to watch THE WIZARD OF OZ again. We need to appreciate it with modern-day movie-goer sensibilities. 1939's THE WIZARD OF OZ is still a groundbreaker. It's an original action/fantasy musical with a strong feminist tone. Judy Garland's Dorothy Gale shares a cinematic sisterhood with Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley in 1986's ALIENS.
THE WIZARD OF OZ highlights the light and dark of female power. Let's look at the opening of the film with the sepia-toned scenes on the humble farm in Kansas. Who really runs the farm? Uncle Henry? No. Kind-hearted Auntie Em is the take-charge force on the farm. She gives orders to the three male farmhands. Fantasy versions of them will be Dorothy's close friends in the Land of Oz. The burr in Auntie Em's backside is that mean ol' Almira Gulch. She's the most powerful person in the county. She has authorities give her the power to take Toto away from Dorothy. Says Auntie Em, "Almira Gulch, just because you own half the county doesn't mean that you have the power to run the rest of us." Dorothy and Toto, her little dog, will run away from the financially-struggling farm and, well... you know what happens next.
Wearing the ruby slippers, Dorothy had more power than he did.
Female power was a golden force in making this production a success if you consider the casting of young Judy Garland. She'd been under contract for about three years when she won the role of Dorothy Gale. She wanted it but MGM, her studio, originally sought to borrow Shirley Temple from 20th Century Fox. Temple, a major movie star, was about the right age for Dorothy as she is in the books by L. Frank Baum. Garland was technically a few years too old for the role, something that became a very minor point in the long run. Fox would not loan out Shirley Temple. This turned out to be a blessing. Judy had depth in her acting. She also had that exquisite singing voice, far superior to Shirley's. Judy Garland was a 16 year old who could act and sing. She had the soulfulness, longing, sweetness, spirit and charm the character needed. She also had, as Norman Maine says in 1954's A STAR IS BORN (starring Garland), "that little something extra" that equals "star quality."
Garland started production on the film in late 1938 when she had a few film appearances under her belt. However, she was not yet a star. In those films, she was a supporting player. Temple was a star. In that regard, MGM was taking a chance giving its contract player the lead role.
16 year old Judy Garland, a screen newcomer, starts work in the lead role of Dorothy Gale. She is surrounded by show biz veterans in their 30s and 40s. Her co-stars (Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Frank Morgan, Margaret Hamilton, Billie Burke), the composers of the film's original songs (Harold Arlen and E.Y. "Yip" Harburg), the director (Victor Fleming) and the producer (Mervyn LeRoy) are all twice her age or older. THE WIZARD OF OZ is an expensive, A-list production with a newcomer in the lead role -- a newcomer who's just a teen-ager. If her performance in the action/fantasy original screen musical doesn't work, the whole film falls apart. If she doesn't fully commit to the character, if we cannot believe that she believes in the film's fantasy and message, it fails. On top of that, she has to learn new songs in addition to all her dialogue. That was a lot of adult responsibility to put on the shoulders of a kid.
Now go re-appreciate all the female power in THE WIZARD OF OZ.