Follow the yellow brick road, 3.5 readers.
I had the chance to watch this classic the other day. It’s been years since I’ve seen it and as an adult I noticed a lot of things. Most good, a few just me being my typical jerky self.
Without further ado:
#10 – Literally everybody in the film is frigging dead.
And not just dead but dead for like, a long ass time. The movie was made in 1939 and its still a staple of childhood viewing for kids today.
It just makes me sad to see all these people in costume, singing and dancing, having a good time, then thinking about how they are all dead, many of them died before I was even born.
I mean, holy crap, the actors who play Oz, the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion were all born in the late 1800s. Frickin’ Abraham Lincoln was tooling around in the same century.
Sigh. Such is life. Here one minute…
(EDIT: I found a reference on the Internet that says Jerry Maren, an actor who played a munchkin, might still be alive. Hang in there, Jerry.)
#9 – Toto is the best dog actor ever.
I feel like there must be cut footage in a vault somewhere of the dog playing Toto taking a dump on Dorothy’s slippers or something. Maybe not. All I know is as I watch the movie, the dog playing Toto is like, the best train, most well-behaved on-screen dog I’ve ever seen. The little guy walks in a straight line, following the actors, going where he needs to go, and does this even in scenes where like there’s hundreds of people behind him.
#8 – It’s a special effects bonanza.
People credit “Star Wars” for unleashing the special effects tidal wave, but I don’t think the movie industry would have gotten there without this picture. While it pales against today’s standards, there are still some effects that are interesting to watch and probably made jaws drop in its day. It was no doubt ahead of its time. Dorothy looking at the twister out her window and seeing two dudes rowing through the wind in a rowboat is one example.
#7 – The Wicked Witch of the West is Justified in Her Anger.
I’m sorry, but the green bitch’s sister had a damn house dropped on her and then when she tries to collect the slippers, i.e. the property that should go to her as she is the rightful heir, Dorothy keeps them and Glenda threatens her that a house might drop on her too.
I mean. Holy shit. Is there any doubt that ugly people are treated like shit? Imagine if the Wicked Witch were pretty. Do you think people might, I don’t know, be like, “Um, yeah someone kills my sister and steals her shit, I’d be pissed too.”
I get that both witches were wicked and up to bad shit so the house drop was probably a good thing. It’s kind of like if you were drunk driving and run over Hitler…yes, it’s good that Hitler died but still, you were drunk driving.
Then again, I suppose it wasn’t Dorothy’s fault her house went out of control.
By the way, Margaret Hamilton is having way too much fun playing that witch.
#6 – Judy Garland was better beyond her years.
She’s only 17 in this role but she’s just amazing, full of heart and perfect pronunciation. So sad that she became a pill fiend. I guess Hollywood will do that to you. She performs better than any adult could have in this role.
#5 – Dorothy disses Tin Man and Lion.
I know that “I’ll miss you most of all, Scarecrow” has come to be thought of as a really heartwarming line, maybe something even tell people when they’re saying goodbye, but as a kid watching the movie pointed out to me, “Lion and Tin man are right there!”
Seriously. How would you feel if you and two friends said goodbye to a fourth friend and she singled one friend out for extra missing?
Dorothy might as well have said, “Yeah furball and rustbucket, I’ll miss you guys I guess but holy shit, Scarecrow, I will miss the shit out of you. I mean, Lion and Tin Man, you assholes were ok, but Scarecrow, I’m going to be balling my eyes out every night until I see you again, buddy.”
#4 – It’s possible for make-up to be better than CGI.
Scarecrow looks more like a talking scarecrow than a computerized version would, in my opinion. I don’t know what they did. They perfectly blended his head with whatever he was wearing to make his head look like a bag full of straw.
Tin man is no slouch. He looks like an ancient attempt to construct a robot.
Lion basically looks like a dude in a lion costume which, ok, CGI might do better there. Then again, why can’t people where lion costumes now?
#3 – I doubt a remake would be as good.
I’m surprised with all the reboots and remakes, Hollywood hasn’t remade this one. Crap, I hope I didn’t just put that idea out into the ether. Oh well, only 3.5 people read this blog anyway.
This movie has so much heart and is basically Hollywood’s first special effects extravaganza (I think, correct me if I’m wrong.) A remake would be like that kid who has his mom do his art project vs the kid who does his best with macaroni and string. Yeah, the more polished version would be better but the macaroni has more heart.
#2 – Dorothy and Friends Get Stoned
They can call them poppy flowers all they want but we all know that Witch got our favorite quartet stoned on opium. Oz and Afghanistan, two places to avoid if you’re an opiate abuser.
#1 – “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” is the Most Profoundly Emotional Song Ever
Did you write it off as cheesy fluffy? Think about it some more.
No…actually, think about the worst person in your life. Surely, there is someone who lives to make you miserable. They make fun of you. Mess with you. Hurt you. Ruin you.
If that person were to die, you might secretly be glad on the outside, but out of sheer respect for the value of life, you’d probably feign an, “Oh that’s too bad” when someone tells you of the bully’s untimely demise.
The Munchkins, on the other hand, don’t just hate the Wicked Witch of the East, they despise her, so much that when a house is dropped on her head, they break out into a spontaneous song and dance number, engaging in perfect choreographic precision, expressing to Dorothy just how happy they are that she capped the Witch.
Literally, the song and dance routine goes on for several minutes. Munchkins young and old take part. There are interludes where various munchkin groups and dignitaries opine on the happiness they have over the witch’s dead, the coroner is consulted just to make sure that the celebration is in order, and the Mayor provides a joyous decree.
I mean, I don’t know what that witch was doing but imagine how awful she must have been to those munchkins for them to have broken out into such a dazzling, Broadway style revue to express their happiness at the hag’s death. It’s almost as though those literally people were secretly rehearsing the routine in anticipation of the Witch’s death.
Can you imagine it? All those little people huddled together in a back room. “Oh man, we hate that bitch so much that we have to totally nail the song and dance routine we’ll give when she finally kicks the bucket. Ed, you get the costumes ready and Fred you call the Lollipop Guild. We are going to rock this house when that hag croaks.”
I believe there is a line about bondage so the East Witch must have been enslaving the munchkins…or forcing them into a perverse BDSM lifestyle. Either way, they’re happy she’s dead and they have a song to prove it.
Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it. If you can honestly say that all the people who know you will break out into a song and dance number when you die, then you might want to make a few positive lifestyle changes while there is still time.