Essay on Mise-En-Scene in the Wizard of Oz

1051 Words Mar 5th, 2006 5 Pages
Mise-en-scène
The placement of a prop or altering the way the light shines on a scene, however insignificant they may seem, are ways that the director can select and control meaning in a film. Such is in The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939), specifically during the scene where Dorothy (Judy Galand) has been locked in the Wicked Witch of the West's (Margaret Hamilton) castle room by herself; many aspects of mise-en-scene are noticeable. Many of the elements of the scene she is in contribute to her state and other aspects of the movie. The setting and props of the film all seem to centralize to where she is and how she got there. The light focus' just on Dorothy but also amplifies the intensity of the situation she is in. The behavior of
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Mainly, the light seems to be pouring onto Dorothy. There seems to be a pool of light over Dorothy and the crystal ball as well as a bit of light over the candle and the gold instrument. The light is sparse however near the edges of the top left and bottom right of the scene, right where the Witch's throne would be and the corner that the books are in. This could be that we still get a good view of Dorothy and her issues and at the same time we are the shown the unsettling state of the room at the time. There is also a lack of light inside the crystal ball. The edges are blurry and dark and Aunt Em is the only thing visible. As Dorothy was knocked out, it would seem that this event that Aunt Em is acting out never happened, possibly it is Dorothy's subconscious worrying that her Aunt Em would be afraid and scared if Dorothy did not get back soon. It shows that Dorothy might be have the same to get back to the home she wanted to leave as when she wanted to leave.
The meaning the light is showing or implying is easily pushed forward by the actions and placement of the characters. Dorothy is looking through the crystal ball and can hear and see her Aunt, however her Aunt can see or hear her and she is looking for Dorothy. The fact that Dorothy seems helpless because she cannot talk to her Aunt is also shown by how she is

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