The Wicked Witch of the West (1939 film)
Movie Wicked Witch
Title Wicked Witch of the West
Species Witch
Origin Land of Oz
Residence Winkie Country
First Appearance The Wizard of Oz

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SHOCK of the Ruby Slippers!

The Wicked Witch Of The West is the main antagonist of the (1939) Film The Wizard Of Oz (1939) The Wizard Of Oz Her Kansas alter ego counterpart is the mean spirited town Mayor named Almira Gultch who tries to put protagonist Character Dorothy Gale's pet dog named Toto down for attacking her when Dorothy and him were walking home from the Kansas school House. File Img 20140621 054718 Jpg Thumb Almira Gultch Of Kansas History In both book and movie the Witch plays as the main antagonist in the story when Dorothy and Toto are in Oz.

In the classic movie The Wizard of Oz, the Wicked Witch, played by actress Margaret Hamilton, was stooped, green-skinned, and dressed entirely in black. In many people's minds, this representation of The Wicked Witch has become an archetype for human Wickedness. And is one of the most memorable and iconic villains in movie history.

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Surrender Dorothy!

While this relationship is not mentioned in Baum's books, in the movie, the Witch is the sister of the Wicked Witch of the East, who is killed when Dorothy arrives in Oz. The Witch asks aloud, "Who killed my sister?" (albeit with more calculation than sorrow). As a result, The Wicked Witch of the West's role is made more prominent as she seeks revenge against Dorothy for killing her sister. When Dorothy claims the death was an accident, the Witch of the West replies, "Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents too." It is from this movie that popular culture gets the oft-quoted phrase, "I'll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too!" Her other motivation is to get the powerful Ruby Slippers (changed from the Silver Shoes of the book). She often, but not always, flies on a broomstick, and has a crystal ball through which she can see happenings elsewhere.


Surrender Dorothy!

When Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion are sent to kill her and bring her broomstick back, she captures Dorothy and tries to take her slippers, threatening to drown Toto if she doesn't give them to her. She is unable to take them while Dorothy is still alive, so locks her in a room for an hour to figure out the best way to kill her without damaging the slippers' power. Toto escapes and gets the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion, who get her out of the room, but the Wicked Witch and her guards chase them and corner them. In the movie, Dorothy's reasons for throwing the bucket of water are different; The Wicked Witch decides to kill everyone else before Dorothy, starting with the Scarecrow by setting him on fire. Dorothy throws a bucket of water to put out the fire, which is unwittingly thrown onto the Wicked Witch in the process, causing her to melt.

The Wicked witch melting

The Witch also has a counterpart in the Kansas world: a rich, grumpy single woman named Almira Gulch who seeks to have Dorothy's dog, Toto, put down. There is some ambiguity as to whether Gulch turns into the Wicked Witch of the East or of the West in the Tornado scene when Dorothy sees her transform in the window. However, it can be argued both ways.



  • She is portrayed by Margaret Hamilton.
  • Margaret Hamilton appeared in an episode of Sesame Street which aired February 10, 1976, reprising her role as the Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz (1939). Reportedly, her performance scared so many children that their parents wrote in to CTW, saying their kids were too scared to watch the show anymore. As a result of the overwhelming reaction, this episode never re-aired, and as of 2017, no footage of it has surfaced on the Internet, and the only picture available is one with the Witch standing beside Oscar in his trash can. It is unknown whether or not any footage of it still exists.
  •  The original concept for the Wicked Witch of the West was to have her resemble a strikingly beautiful woman much in the same way the Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was conceived. Producer Mervyn LeRoy originally cast MGM beauty Gale Sondergaard in the role as a sleek, sexy Wicked Witch of the West. However, the presence of a sexy Wicked Witch left a large plot hole within the script, for it played against the idea that bad witches were ugly. Convinced that the point was important, LeRoy retested Sondergaard as an ugly witch. Looking hideous in the make-up, she immediately declined the role and was replaced with Margaret Hamilton.
  • Margaret Hamilton, who played the green skinned Witch in the 1939 film was badly burned during a shot involving fire and smoke. On 23 December 1938, while filming the Wicked Witch's exit from Munchkinland in a blaze of fire, Hamilton suffered first-degree burns on the right side of her face and second-degree burns on her right hand; the flames rose too soon, before she had descended below the stage. Hamilton's green makeup was copper-based and potentially toxic, and had to be removed from her burned flesh with alcohol — an intensely painful process. She was not able to return to the movie until 10 February.
  • After Weeks of being in the make-up department, before and after film shootings, Hamilton's own natural skin tone begin to take on a greenish hue.
  • In the finished film, Hamilton's Wicked Witch has twelve minutes of screen time. Hamilton worked on the production for four months, and earned precisely $18,541.68.
  • Many scenes in the 1939 film involving the Wicked Witch had to be edited or taken out completely due to being too terrifying.
  • Margaret Hamilton had different make-up as the Wicked Witch of the West when Richard Thorpe, was the film's original director but he was fired and was replaced by Victor Fleming.
  • One early script had Aunt Em as the wicked witch who wanted to kill Toto to punish Dorothy.
  • Edna May Oliver was considered for the role of the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • When the film proved popular with audiences, MGM considered re-uniting the original cast for a sequel. Plans never got past the development stage, however, when Judy Garland became a major star, having great success in subsequent movies. Also, Margaret Hamilton expressed hesitation at reprising her role, feeling that the character of the Wicked Witch was already too scary for children. Further, extreme budget overruns and production delays MGM encountered making the original film deterred the studio from moving forward with an official sequel.
  • Some of the earlier scripts included a son for the Wicked Witch of the West whom she wanted to put on the throne of Oz, and a stuck-up niece for Miss Gulch.
  • Margaret Hamilton, once dressed up as the Wicked Witch on Sesame Street with Oscar the Grouch. The skit was never aired again due to being too "scary" for children.
  • Debra Winger performed this character in The Wizard of Oz in Concert: Dreams Come True to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. She also narrated the "Cyclone" scene in this production. This 1995 television special shortens the Wicked Witch's Castle scenes due to time limit.
Gale Sondergaard The Wicked Witch of the West

Gale Sondergaard as the Wicked Witch of the West