The Sound of Oz is a new documentary feature film that tells the story of the songs written for The Wizard of Oz and how lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg and composer Harold Arlen crafted words and melodies that not only launched the golden era of movie musicals but coalesced as well into a score that now transcends iconic status. "Over the Rainbow," "We're Off to See the Wizard," "If I Only Had a Brain," "Ding-Dong! the Witch is Dead," and all the others are not only immediately recognizable; they are legendary cornerstones of worldwide film and popular culture.

 

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's The Wizard of Oz – the movie project that employed and inspired the Arlen/Harburg team in 1938 – is now regarded as the most-familiar and best-loved motion picture of all time. Across the 75 years since its premiere, it has entertained, thrilled, and captivated theater, television, and home video audiences of all ages, and it continues to maintain a virtually unprecedented cross-generational appeal.

 

Beyond their basic recognition factor, however, the songs from Oz also established -- from first hearing -- a deeply personal connection with their listeners. The combined talents of Arlen and Harburg thus have enriched the emotions and memories of countless billions. Yet the names of composer and lyricist (and the work process by which they created the timeless Sound of Oz) remain unfamiliar to most people.

This documentary corrects that historical omission. Conceived and produced by Aaron Harburg (great-grandson of the Oz lyricist) and Ryan Jay (nationally-syndicated film critic and Oz historian), The Sound of Oz celebrates the mastery of the men behind the music and words. It tells of their professional partnership, and of the balance of abilities and diverse personalities that enabled two distinct individuals to collaborate to such extraordinary effect.

 

The process of creation is an oft-told tale. But when that creation yields as much abiding magic as does the score of The Wizard of Oz, its detailed progression needs to be examined and shared. The Sound of Oz benefits from a built-in, already-enamored audience -- well attuned to the final product of its songs but with no sense of the previously untold back-story of how they first came to be, and why they've endured.

 

 

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