The American Film Institute Launches Movie Club for the Quarantined

The American Film Institute (AFI) is hoping that families will want to take in some classic movies while self-quarantining during the coronavirus emergency and has set up a club to encourage them to do so.

Dubbed the AFI Movie Club and launched on Tuesday, it is a virtual gathering spot where participants learn what the day's featured title is and are treated to insider notes about it, presented as text and video. Then club members hit the AFI's discussion board and use #AFIMovieClub to continue chatting about the film.

Each day, a celebrity will introduce the movie, which will be chosen from among the AFI's many lists of the greatest movies of all time. Tuesday's selection, presented by Steven Spielberg, is The Wizard of Oz. The 1939 classic starring Judy Garland is No. 3 on the AFI's Top 100 Musicals list.

"I have the honor of announcing the very first film we encourage the world to watch," Spielberg says in his introductory video. "Right now, at this moment in our history, what better message is there than 'there's no place like home'?"

"AFI's goal is to live in a world of art above anxiety," said AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale. Audiences are supposed to "gather" at AFI.com/MovieClub, where they'll see several options for streaming the daily film.

For The Wizard of Oz, some of the inside knowledge presented includes the original color of Dorothy's ruby slippers (silver) and the actor who was initially cast to play the Tin Man (Buddy Ebsen).

There's also a video that begins, "Movies to watch together while we're apart," then launches into interviews with Garland's daughters, actresses Liza Minnelli and Lorna Luft, the latter of whom tells how she thought the flying monkeys whisked her mother off to New York when she first saw the movie on TV as a little girl.

The "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies" list is widely considered the go-to source for what the industry believes are the greatest films of all time. Roughly 1,500 insiders are asked to rank their top choices from a selection of several hundred titles in order to narrow them down to the best 100 in history. The most recent iteration of the list has Citizen Kane, The Godfather, Casablanca, Raging Bull and Singin' in the Rain in the top five while the 1959 version of Ben-Hur is the last to make the cut, at No. 100. The Wizard of Oz checks in at No. 10.

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Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Judy Garland and Bert Lahr run arm in arm through a field of poppies in a still from 1939's "The Wizard of Oz. MGM Studios/Courtesy of Getty Images