Wizard Of Oz

For fans, the big news is a new release that, according to this Hollywood Reporter site claims to be the best version of the film ever presented.

My favorite quote from this article is:
“The filmmakers also turn to John Waters, who can always be counted upon for reliable insights to any film. What he says here, even if he’s just putting it on, is worthy of couch analysis: “I’m the only child in the audience that always wondered why Dorothy ever wanted to go back to Kansas. Why would she want to go back to Kansas, in this dreary, black-and-white farm, with an aunt who dressed badly and seemed mean to me, when she could live with magic shoes, winged monkeys and gay lions? I never understood it.”

So as long as we are on the subject, I was wondering the other day if kids today like the 1939 film version of Wizard Of Oz? Or is it too old-fashioned for them?

And feel free to go off on any Wizard Of Oz tangent/hijack your heart desires.

Love the movie, which still manages to have some remarkably vivid and creepy imagery after all these years. However, I doubt I’ll be shelling out for the 3 disc DVD anytime soon (I should probably get through all the extras I have on my other DVDs, including the 2 disc Oz first).

But John Water is definitely not the only person to feel those sentiments. I’ve read many articles, criticisms and testimonials that have conveyed the same opinion.

Judy Garland’s getting her own USPS stamp this year, following in the footsteps of Oz vets Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg (plus there was an actual Oz back in 1989).

Eh, I haven’t liked it since they colorized it in the 80’s.

I love the movie and always have, but you’d have to drag me kicking and screaming back to Kansas. Kansas!

Toni Morrison (IIRC) wrote an interesting article analysizing “Wizard of Oz” on a premise similar to Waters’ comment. The article critiqued the film on the basis of it being an adventure film centered on a (pre-feminist) female, and made some interesting points: adventure films with male protagonists have the hero deliberately setting out in search of new experiences / ‘Oz’ has Dorothy desperately trying to go home. Male adventure heroes come to the rescue & aide of the folks he meets on the road / In"Oz", Dorothy is aided & rescued by the Scarecrow, Tin Man & Lion. Etc.

As for kids liking it, well I have nephews currently aged 6 and 4, and they both love, love, love that movie. My sister owns the DVD, and on the occasional nights where I’ve babysat her kids, they have clambored to watch it. The 4 yr. old, when he was just learning to talk 2 years ago (and couldn’t pronounce “Wizard of Oz”) would refer to it as “V’oz” (“of” Oz) and yell “V’Oz! V’Oz! V’Oz!” In fact, they prefer “Oz” to a lot of slicker, more modern flicks geared at kids.

My 7-year-old son loves it.

I went to see Wicked last night, and let me just say, I liked it better.

I’m in my early 20’s and I can watch it over and over without it ever getting old. Not that I go out of my way to watch it, but I enjoy seeing it every so often.

And I always wondered why she wants to go back to Kansas. Aside from a few witches and some flying monkeys, it’s a pretty nice place. Hell, it has TREES(even if they are ill tempered) as opposed to Kansas, which has nothing.

Now if Dorthy had said “Let me go get my Aunt and Uncle and then I’ll come right back”…

My parents, who were both born in Kansas, loathe the way their birthstate is portrayed in that movie.

I, on the other hand, have a sort of affinity for it. Three years ago I released a CD of Christmas songs, with some very – ahem – “colorful” arrangements. (Read: sick, twisted, and loud.) In each song I managed to weave a snippet of some song or other from Oz into the fabric of the music. It’s all quite well buried in the music, so you wouldn’t recognize any Ozzities, but they’re there.

It’s fun being a morally challenged musician.

I saw it on the big screen once, back in high-school – a friend of mine was working in a revival house that was playing it, so I even got in free. That’s the way to see that movie.

A few years ago it was cleaned up, digitally remastered, and released in first run movie houses. I saw things in it I’d never seen before.

I love Toni Morrison and all, but that’s a load of hooey. Dorothy does rescue the Tin Man and the Scarecrow, and fearlessly stands up to a frickin’ lion when it threatened her dog.

As for Oz being “pre-feminist,” stuff and nonsense. In The Marvelous Land of Oz, General Jinjur leads the all-female Army of Revolt against the Scarecrow (then King of Oz) because of the general feeling that men had held on to power for long enough.

Way ahead of the curve when it comes to gender studies, too, since the denoument involves the boy protagonist realizing that he is in truth a girl, taking the throne as Queen of Oz, and everyone agrees that this is natural and right:
"I hope none of you will care less for me than you did before. I’m just the same Tip, you know; only – only – "
“Only you’re different!” said the Pumpkinhead; and everyone thought it was the wisest speech he had ever made.

I really can’t imagine any kid not connecting with the 1939 movie. It’s really timeless.

I will definitely get this DVD – it sounds great. I’m glad that lots of folks will get to hear the Good News of 1939 Oz special via this disc. It’s fantastic. It has members of the popular stage production as well as the cast of the movie, and Frank Morgan stays partly in character. (ie; “Frank Morgan” is a habitual liar and transparent con man, making outrageous claims throughout.) Alternate versions of the songs, too!

In the book (available online here), L. Frank Baum makes it pretty clear that Kansas was a dreary, unpleasant place to live and that Oz was much nicer. The only reason Dorothy wanted to go back to Kansas was because Aunt Em and Uncle Henry were there. (Plus, when she first arrived in Oz, she didn’t know anybody there. You try taking a child away from everybody she’s ever known and see if she doesn’t get homesick.)

In later books, Uncle Henry and Aunt Em go to Oz too, and Dorothy is perfectly happy about taking up permenant residence there.

If you happened to see Wicked in Chicago, a friend of mine, Gene Weygandt, plays the Wizard in the show.

This is a joke, right?

Bank on it.

You’d be surprised. My BIL was watching it with us last weekend during the early Kansas stuff. He mentioned, in all seriousness, how he heard about the colorized version. I told him that most of the film was shot in color but we just hadn’t got to the Oz stuff yet. I assumed his comment was based on the fact that he’d never actually seen the film.

I’ve known several people who complained about “colorized” versions of movies, only to be surprised when I told them that, yes, they did have film stock that registered that level of vividness and vibrancy back in the “olden days” and that those films (GWTW, Robin Hood) were gorgeous on their own. I have to assume that these people have never seen a real colorized film since the color quality and detail tends to be quite shitty (naturally showing their bias toward overestimating the abilities of modern technology).

No. Saint Louis with the Wizard being played by David Garrison. If it’s coming to a town near you, run out and buy tickets now, if any are left.

:: sigh ::

I just bought the two-DVD release a little while ago. Now I’ll have to buy this one too.

Will I have to buy an updated copy of “Dark Side of the Moon” as well?

Well, the movie was alright. It has its good point, but I was first exposed to the Story by reading the first twelve books in the Oz series. I didn’t see the movie until I was older. Anyway, in the book, Dorothy goes back to Kansas because her Uncle and Aunt are getting old, and she doesn’t want to abandon them. How sweet. The second book take the theme of the aging caretakers further. Her Uncle takes a ship to Australia “for his health” on the recomendation of his doctor, and Dorothy goes with him. I won’t give away the plot any more than that.

Baum uses their aging as a plot dvice to modivate Dorothy to go home for several books. Until she finally just brings them to live in Oz, where they live in Queen Ozma’s royal palace and are treated with great respect. Afterall, they raised princess Dorothy, who has saved Oz at least three times by then. What finally modivated Dorothy to bring them to Oz isn’t the fact that Oz is more fun, but the fact that noone ever dies of old age in Oz.

Anyway, just wanted to point out that the movie truncates and alters the book’s plot a lot, and in the transition, Dortohy’s entire modivation is lost. Kind of an oversight if you ask me. Still, things are much clearer in the books.

I found it to be grossly overrated and boring.

IMHO, of course.