The script scoffs at the idea that power and prosperity come to those who merit them, even when it is dealing with Dorothy herself. She kills one Wicked Witch by crash-landing a house on her, and kills another (Margaret Hamilton) by splashing her with water. In both cases, the killings are accidents, the results of pure chance rather than Dorothy’s bravery or virtue. (Any water-soluble witch who leaves buckets of the stuff sitting around her castle is asking for trouble.)

But in both cases, Dorothy is instantly hailed as a conquering heroine, just as the Wizard was when he touched down in Oz. The message is that people will march behind any authority figure who makes a splash, however undeserving they may be. It’s a subversive message in 2019, and it was even more pointed in 1939, when fascist dictators were stomping across Europe.

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