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Growing Up in the Movies

Posted September 10, 2010 to photo album "Growing Up in the Movies"

To coincide with the release of It’s Kind of a Funny Story, Nick Dawson looks at more movies in which teenage protagonists are thrust into the world of grown-ups.

Slide 1: Introduction
Slide 2: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Slide 3: Life Begins for Andy Hardy (1941)
Slide 4: Los Olvidados (1950)
Slide 5: The 400 Blows (1959)
Slide 6: Harold and Maude (1971)
Slide 7: Stand by Me (1986)
Slide 8: Pump Up the Volume (1990)
Slide 9: Rushmore (1998)
Slide 10: Almost Famous (2001)
Slide 11: Rodger Dodger (2002)
Slide 2: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Slide 2: The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Dorothy, the heroine played by Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz, is a teenager fed up with being treated like a little girl. An orphan stuck on a secluded farm in the middle of Kansas, she is being looked after by her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry, who don't have the time to give her much attention. The final straw comes when the local harridan, Miss Gulch, tries to get Dorothy's dog Toto put down after the little rascal bit her. So, Dorothy decides to run away from home in search of "some place where there isn't any trouble."  That world, of course, turns out to be Oz, a foreign, fantastical land which teaches her “there’s no place like home.”  The original story, penned by L. Frank Braun, first appeared in 1900 as the first in a series of books about Oz, a magical world that many read as a political allegory of the time. But the childhood fantasy elements were so potent that the story was adapted into various stage and screen versions, with the most famous being the 1939 MGM film version, a film that launched Judy Garland’s career. Indeed Critic Sean Axmaker writes, “MGM was the dream factory of the 1930s and 1940s and this was its most imaginative screen dream, but it is Judy Garland who grounds the fantastic sights and delirious imagery in the human story of a winsome, plucky, melancholy girl who dreams of visiting lands outside her humdrum neighborhood and, when that dream comes true, wistfully yearns for home. Garland’s Dorothy embodies the fantasy of all children who dream of leaving the cocoon of their protected lives and spreading their wings.”