The Tendencies of Technological Political Culture of the Depression Era in the Movie “The Wizard of Oz”

  • Lasha KURDASHVILI International Black Sea University
Keywords: cinematography, Dream machine, dystopia, Great Depression, machinery, movie magic, Technological progress, The Wizard of Oz, utopia


The attitude towards the technological progress in the United States throughout history varied from the euphoria to the paranoia. In the 1930s, when the Depression put the majority of the American industries into the financial hole, with the percentage of unemployment close to 1/3 of the nation`s population, technological progress seemed to be the recovery option, and at the same time the dangerous reason of surrogating the personal with “soulless” machinery. In the meanwhile the great industry of film making was gaining more and more cultural weight throughout the nation. Never before had the American motion pictures such an influence in the developing and exposing the American identity and culture. It provided and mirrored the ideas of new social structure and values, together with the images of the criticism and optimistic viewpoint, during the harsh days of the Great Depression. In 1939 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer brought to screen, at first glance a very far from the technological tendencies, children story, in the innovative Technicolor, “The Wizard of Oz”. Nevertheless besides the Technicolor, which on its due showed the advancement of the U.S. technological development, the whole idea of the “world of Oz” represents the desire of the nation to get away from the realms of the Depression, into the colorful world of joy and happiness. The film`s core idea is the choice of coming back home from the world of the technological utopia: back to the hard, not colorful but, at the same time, true reality. In this essay I will analyze the both cultural-political tendencies: technological social alienation and critical reality, on the case of the movie “The Wizard of Oz”, reconnecting it with the historical-material relationship with the Depression era.

Author Biography

Lasha KURDASHVILI, International Black Sea University
Ph.D. Student, Faculty of Education and Humanities