I Remember: Wizard of Oz

Whether it’s through the wardrobe to Narnia, the second star to the right to Neverland, down the rabbit-hole to Wonderland or past the wall to Stormhold, we all love a good adventure story that takes you out of the bland and bog-standard world to an entirely new place.

And if there’s a possibility of a place inhabited by talking animals, mischievous fairies or mental men wearing mental headgear, we’re most likely to want in on that particular escapade.

Before the time when we waited patiently for our Hogwarts letters that never came, we followed the yellow brick road to the wonderful land of Oz. Home to munchkins, flying monkeys and witches both good and bad, not to mention an orchestra on hand in case you felt like singing (that’s pretty much how I see all musicals) this place has all you need for a cracking good time when you’ve been abducted by a cyclone.

Here are some nifty facts about Dorothy and her vital attribute-less straw-stuffed/feline/tin friends:

  • When filming began, Judy Garland wore a blond wig and heavy, “baby-doll” makeup. But after the original director was fired, an acting director, George Cukor, told her to ditch the wig and “be herself”. In other words, embrace the ginge. TOP BLOKE.
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  • The song ‘Over the Rainbow’ was nearly cut from the movie as it was felt that it made the Kansas scenes too lengthy. Since then the American Film Institute has named it #1 on the ‘100 Greatest Songs in American Cinema’ list. Just think: if they’d cut it, we’d have no fat Hawaiian men with ukuleles singing it. I think we can all agree what a travesty that would be.
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    There are some weird connections with Pink Floyd’s album Dark Side of the Moon. Try this out if you get the chance, it’s a little bit freaky, especially as the band have dismissed any deliberate correlations. If you begin the album on the third roar of the MGM lion the coincidences include (but are not limited to):

  • The line “balanced on the biggest wave” comes as Dorothy balances on the fence
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  • The song ‘On the Run’ starts as Dorothy falls off the fence
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  • ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’ begins when the tornado first appears
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  • The song ‘Us and Them’ is played when Dorothy meets the Wicked Witch of the West
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  • The line “black and blue” is repeated when they are talking to one another (Dorothy in her blue outfit, the Wicked Witch in black)
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  • The line “the lunatic is on the grass…” coincides with Dorothy meeting the Scarecrow
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  • When we first see Miss Gulch on her bicycle, the song ‘Time’ starts with its bells and alarms
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  • Dorothy asks Professor Marvel what else he sees in his crystal ball as the line “thought I’d something more to say” comes along in the song ‘Time’
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  • As the Scarecrow sings ‘If I Only Had a Brain’, Pink Floyd sing ‘Brain Damage’
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  • Side 1 of the original vinyl album (up to the end of ‘The Great Gig in the Sky’) is exactly as long as the black and white portion of the film
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  • As Dorothy listens to the Tin Man’s chest, the album ends with the famous heartbeat sound effect
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    It’s a brilliant film, and wonderful escapism. If you’re sick of planet Earth, I wouldn’t say “Wish upon a tornado” or anything mad like that, I’d just recommend sticking this into the DVD player with a cup of tea and a box of tissues.
    I forgot how weepy I get when I hear Judy Garland’s voice when I watched this, and when she’s crying about wanting to go home, and losing Toto, and all the other stuff that’s troubling her, it’s not even like you want to yell, “Get a grip, woman!” at the TV. You really feel her pain.

    My favourite part is Oz itself, set in vibrant, high contrast Technicolor, you’ll know for sure you’re not in Kansas anymore. It has yellow brick roads brighter than New York taxis, an Emerald City that in the real world would probably be a gift from Becks to Posh, and fields of gold that you’ve a feeling are never-ending. It’s a shame about the flying monkeys though; those things are scaaaaaaary.

    This is a simple story about a girl and her dog, fighting evil, and loving home. With a bit of fabulous footwear, flowing red hair, and the occasional song, there really is not a lot else you need from a lazy Sunday afternoon movie.

    There’s no place like home…

    By Lizzie

    Comments

    Lizzie, despite being a non-ginger (besides her genes), loves redheads and her freshly dyed red hair.She also loves political satire, vintage fairs, Yorkshire Tea and people with the surname ‘Weasley’. One day, she hopes to be opening letters addressed to Mrs. L. Cumberbatch, but until then she’ll be travelling for long periods of time in campervans and attending every music festival she comes across.And if Caitlin Moran is ever up for Prime Minister, she will get Lizzie’s vote, no problem.

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