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The Wizard Of Oz


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#21 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 04:54 PM

One thing that fascinates me about The Wizard of Oz is its prominent place in gay male culture . . . which surely has something to do with Judy Garland and her popularity with that community, but it seems like the stories and the movie itself have also had massive resonance.

http://www.epgn.com/...-lgbt-community
http://www.gaytimes....ites-wizard-oz/

https://en.wikipedia...iend_of_Dorothy
https://en.wikipedia...and_as_gay_icon

I will say the last time I saw it on a big screen I came away thinking, "Wow, this is the gayest children's entertainment ever!" (not in a bad way, I loved noticing the subtext). I will grant that some of this might be because I was literally seeing it at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, but still: The Lion calls himself a "dandy lion." The Scarecrow talks about having a "pole up his . . . back" and that "some people do go both ways." Glenda repeats, "Come out, come out, wherever you are." Dorothy travels with three male companions who show no romantic or sexual interest in her at all. And of course there is the theme song: "Over the Rainbow."

Even with this reading, the ending does kind of leave something to be desired, with Dorothy happily returning to her sepia-toned existence. But perhaps this was also just a realistic portrayal of what life was like at the time -- this is a Depression-era movie, after all. Most people weren't living in a fairy tale.

#22 Susan*

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 05:55 PM

I wish they weren't doing Swing Time next. There are several better Fred and Ginger movies. Better songs. Better plots. And none of them have Fred in blackface. That AFI list is crap! :D

#23 grudlian.

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 06:20 PM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 01 June 2018 - 12:30 PM, said:


I did, of course, see the movie as a kid. But I've generally been very willing to accept that something I liked as a kid was actually crap (for example, almost anything Transformers related). The Wizard of Oz has never fallen apart upon rewatch. Still a great entertainment.

There are a number of movies I saw as a kid that I admit aren't good but can still sit through as though it were good. The number of times I have watched Mannequin is mildly worrying.


View PostDan Engler, on 01 June 2018 - 04:23 PM, said:

Please do a "Debbie Downer" column for every episode of Unspooled, akin to taylor anne's "This Week in Feminism" in the HDTGM forum. It'll save me the work of having to look up all of the horrific abuses that surely occurred on the set of all 100 films.

I forgot I tagged myself that but I guess I'm living up to it. I'll have to look up some Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire trivia. And if Taylor Anne is reading this, please bring back This Week In Feminism.

#24 Cameron H.

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Posted 01 June 2018 - 06:43 PM

Here are some (admittedly half-formed) thoughts I’ve been having regarding the movie.

In the film version of Oz, almost all of the principle characters have an analogous Ozian counterpart. There are only four characters that don’t: Aunt Em, Uncle (I wanna say...) Henry, Dorothy, and Glinda. Now, seeing as they’re more MacGuffins than actual characters, I totally get why Aunt Em and Henry don’t; and I guess you could argue that Dorothy wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) have one because she’s our main character. But what about Glinda? If these characters are all being pulled out of Dorothy’s comatose brain, where does she come from? Then I started to wonder: What if Glinda *is* Dorothy’s analog?

What we learn about Ozian analogs is they all appear to be searching for something their real life versions already possess. Hunk (The Scarecrow) is already smart, Zeke (The Cowardly Lion) is already brave, and Hickory (The Tin Man)...likes to eat crullers or some shit.

With Glinda, as she first appears, she almost seems like a child’s over-the-top version of what a “Good Witch” might be. She’s beautiful, yes, but more importantly, she embodies power. All of Oz defers to this powerful woman. They respect her. They listen to her. She’s everything pre-Oz Dorothy’s heart desires. No one tells her what to do.

Of course, in the denouement, we come to find out that (*gasp*) the things that the characters wanted were in them all along! And a little later, we get this exchange:

Glinda: You don’t need to be helped any longer. You’ve always had the power...

Dorothy: ...if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again (self empowerment), l won't look any further than my own backyard (inside myself).


So, ultimately, the movie isn’t about getting back to her crappy life with her crappy relatives - and their crappy employees - in her crappy town full of crappy, cold-reading transients and litigious schoolmarms, but about recognizing the power and peace (The Good Witch) that was within the whole time. Which, of course, she’ll probably need in order to deal with all that other horseshit.
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#25 Cameron H.

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 07:56 AM

When Dorothy first meets Glinda she can’t believe she’s a witch because she’s so beautiful. Glinda then explains to Dot, “Only bad witches are ugly.” Umm...okay. Here’s the thing with that. Not only is that a terrible message to be sending to kids regarding beauty, but here’s the Wicked Witch of the West...

Posted Image

...and here are her Winkie guards (who are, as we come to find out, neither bad nor witches.)

Posted Image

As you can see, the Wicked Witch looks to be Winkish, and is no better or worse looking than any of her guards.

Guuuuuuys, I’m starting to think that Glinda the Good Witch was racist as fuck.
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#26 tomspanks

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:02 AM

Wait a minute. After Dorothy goes back to Kansas, is the Toto thing resolved or does he still have to be put down?

#27 grudlian.

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:32 AM

View Posttomspanks, on 02 June 2018 - 08:02 AM, said:

Wait a minute. After Dorothy goes back to Kansas, is the Toto thing resolved or does he still have to be put down?

Oof. This is really bumming me out

#28 taylor anne photo

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 08:39 AM

View Postsycasey 2.0, on 01 June 2018 - 04:54 PM, said:

One thing that fascinates me about The Wizard of Oz is its prominent place in gay male culture . . . which surely has something to do with Judy Garland and her popularity with that community, but it seems like the stories and the movie itself have also had massive resonance.

http://www.epgn.com/...-lgbt-community
http://www.gaytimes....ites-wizard-oz/

https://en.wikipedia...iend_of_Dorothy
https://en.wikipedia...and_as_gay_icon

I will say the last time I saw it on a big screen I came away thinking, "Wow, this is the gayest children's entertainment ever!" (not in a bad way, I loved noticing the subtext). I will grant that some of this might be because I was literally seeing it at the Castro Theater in San Francisco, but still: The Lion calls himself a "dandy lion." The Scarecrow talks about having a "pole up his . . . back" and that "some people do go both ways." Glenda repeats, "Come out, come out, wherever you are." Dorothy travels with three male companions who show no romantic or sexual interest in her at all. And of course there is the theme song: "Over the Rainbow."

Even with this reading, the ending does kind of leave something to be desired, with Dorothy happily returning to her sepia-toned existence. But perhaps this was also just a realistic portrayal of what life was like at the time -- this is a Depression-era movie, after all. Most people weren't living in a fairy tale.

Posted Image
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#29 Cameron H.

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 01:19 PM

There are a couple of tiny things that happened in the movie that I really enjoyed. I liked that whenever anyone was like, "She's wearing the ruby slippers" Dorothy would give them one of these:

Posted Image

I also liked when Dorothy was saying goodbye to her friends, Judy Garland had taken Toto's paw and was waving goodbye to them all. It was really adorable :)
Chilly: I'm telling you, man, if we had management, we'd be riding around in limousines, wearing leather pants, and buying condos. Can I eat this roast beef?
Body Rock (1984)

Seb: Maybe you just liked me when I was on my ass 'cause it made you feel better about yourself.
La La Land (2016)

#30 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 02 June 2018 - 02:44 PM

HDTGM fans should also appreciate the ultimate Wizard of Oz reference.

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#31 Cameron H.

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 05:21 AM

View PostSusan*, on 01 June 2018 - 05:55 PM, said:

I wish they weren't doing Swing Time next. There are several better Fred and Ginger movies. Better songs. Better plots. And none of them have Fred in blackface. That AFI list is crap! :D/>/>


Over on the HDTGM thread, a group of us discuss a different Musical every two weeks and Quasar Sniffer picked Top Hat a few months ago and it was absolutely charming. I’m kind of dreading Swing Time (especially after watching Holiday Inn this year). I wish AFI had gone with Top Hat...

Speaking of Musical Mondays, anyone here interested (who isn’t already involved) is more than welcome to join us! It’s all very democratic. We have a rotation for who picks on any given week. We’ve done everything from Phantom of the Paradise to Guys and Dolls; Josie and the Pussycats to Om Shanti Om. Everyone there is funny, intelligent, and cool. And, best of all, knowledge or familiarity with Musicals isn’t required :)
Chilly: I'm telling you, man, if we had management, we'd be riding around in limousines, wearing leather pants, and buying condos. Can I eat this roast beef?
Body Rock (1984)

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#32 grudlian.

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 11:34 AM

View PostCameron H., on 03 June 2018 - 05:21 AM, said:

Over on the HDTGM thread, a group of us discuss a different Musical every two weeks and Quasar Sniffer picked Top Hat a few months ago and it was absolutely charming. I’m kind of dreading Swing Time (especially after watching Holiday Inn this year). I wish AFI had gone with Top Hat...

I wonder how much of the AFI list was "We need a movie genre listed. Pick between Swing Time andTop Hat Or did the voters pick their top XX from a list and most votes is #1, second most votes is #2. If it's the former, I see Swing Time replaced with another Rogers/Astaire picture of they ever update the AFI list. If it's the latter, I assume it just goes away.

I haven't watched Swing Time yet. So, maybe it's really great (except for the minstrel show black face) but it seems like audience scores on imdb and letterboxd give a .1 edge to Top Hat. I know the AFI isn't made up of audiences but even they have to realize, whoops. I mean, I assume that's why Intolerance is in and Birth Of A Nation is out. But Birth Of A Nation is maybe the most racist movie I've ever seen and, I assume Swing Time is "just" black face.

#33 tomspanks

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 12:05 PM

View PostCameron H., on 03 June 2018 - 05:21 AM, said:

Over on the HDTGM thread, a group of us discuss a different Musical every two weeks and Quasar Sniffer picked Top Hat a few months ago and it was absolutely charming. I’m kind of dreading Swing Time (especially after watching Holiday Inn this year). I wish AFI had gone with Top Hat...


It can’t be worse than Holiday Inn, right? RIGHT??

#34 tomspanks

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 12:08 PM

Just wanted to say I absolutely loved the physicality of the scarecrow. It really looked like he had no bones. His legs were like rubber bands. Then I realized hey, I’ve seen that before - Bill Irwin’s merengue geekout in My Blue Heaven.



PS - my favorite Oz reference is the Femputer from Futurama

#35 Cameron H.

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 12:28 PM

View Posttomspanks, on 03 June 2018 - 12:08 PM, said:

... Bill Irwin’s merengue geekout in My Blue Heaven.



AKA One of Cameron H’s favorite movies.

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Chilly: I'm telling you, man, if we had management, we'd be riding around in limousines, wearing leather pants, and buying condos. Can I eat this roast beef?
Body Rock (1984)

Seb: Maybe you just liked me when I was on my ass 'cause it made you feel better about yourself.
La La Land (2016)

#36 grudlian.

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 01:06 PM

View Posttomspanks, on 03 June 2018 - 12:08 PM, said:

Just wanted to say I absolutely loved the physicality of the scarecrow. It really looked like he had no bones. His legs were like rubber bands. Then I realized hey, I’ve seen that before - Bill Irwin’s merengue geekout in My Blue Heaven.

PS - my favorite Oz reference is the Femputer from Futurama

Speaking of 1930s movies with very liquid physicality dancing, I watched King Of Jazz recently. I dont recommend it unless you really really like the music in this clip, but check out the dancing here around the 2:20 mark.



#37 Susan*

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 05:53 PM

View PostCameron H., on 03 June 2018 - 05:21 AM, said:

Over on the HDTGM thread, a group of us discuss a different Musical every two weeks and Quasar Sniffer picked Top Hat a few months ago and it was absolutely charming. I’m kind of dreading Swing Time (especially after watching Holiday Inn this year). I wish AFI had gone with Top Hat...

Speaking of Musical Mondays, anyone here interested (who isn’t already involved) is more than welcome to join us! It’s all very democratic. We have a rotation for who picks on any given week. We’ve done everything from Phantom of the Paradise to Guys and Dolls; Josie and the Pussycats to Om Shanti Om. Everyone there is funny, intelligent, and cool. And, best of all, knowledge or familiarity with Musicals isn’t required :)

Holiday Inn is the worst! But I absolutely hate Bing Crosby.

I'll try to wait for my full rant till they post the podcast for Swing Time, but I'd take Top Hat over Swing Time. The entire plot, dance numbers, etc are subpar in Swing Time, other than the one where he pretends she's teaching him to dance. And it doesn't have Edward Everett Horton! A Fred and Ginger movie without him is like the Marx Bros. w/o Margaret Dumont. The best part of the studio system movies is maybe the way character actors are reused. But Follow the Fleet and Gay Divorcee and Shall We Dance are all better than Swing Time, and not just because of EEH. (also the guy who plays the fashion designer in Top Hat plays the gigolo in Gay Divorcee!) WTF Swing Time.

#38 sycasey 2.0

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Posted 03 June 2018 - 10:40 PM

View Posttaylor anne photo, on 02 June 2018 - 08:39 AM, said:

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Haha, I was trying to remember where I first heard the phrase "Friend of Dorothy," and this is definitely it.

#39 Cam Bert

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 02:22 AM

View Posttomspanks, on 03 June 2018 - 12:08 PM, said:

Just wanted to say I absolutely loved the physicality of the scarecrow. It really looked like he had no bones. His legs were like rubber bands. Then I realized hey, I’ve seen that before - Bill Irwin’s merengue geekout in My Blue Heaven.

Bill Irwin is always delightful and amazingly talented. He gives clowning a good name.
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#40 AlmostAGhost

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Posted 04 June 2018 - 06:39 AM

My history with The Wizard Of Oz is probably entirely before the age of 12, when I read all the books (it's a full-on series with like 13 books), saw this movie a bunch, and some of the other "sequel" films (Return To Oz in the theaters! etc.). I have not seen this film in probably 30 years, I'd guess. I'm not particularly a fan of musicals. I don't have kids. My thought going into this was basically, would the film hold up?

And I found it did. I REALLY dug watching this again. What a blast! I've been diving into "children's" movies, both from my past and the ones I've missed since I was no longer a kid (mainly Disney things). So maybe this was my mood lately, but I definitely loved everything going on here - the painted backgrounds, the parts I'd forgotten, the special effects, the simple weirdness. The "tactile" feeling that Paul mentioned may not work for every story, but for this one, definitely. The colors still, today, in 2018, are incredible.

I definitely agree with the strangeness of "there's no place like home" being the message/tag/theme, when there clearly is somewhere much better than home but whatever. That's what makes Oz special, it's a private feeling. Kids know. Dorothy knows. If your home is sepia-colored, don't worry, one day you'll find Oz. It's like Harry Potter and Hogwarts. He still had to go home every summer.

I was thinking of keeping track of my "ratings" for these 100 movies, put them in my order like Amy mentioned doing... and I've started, but we'll see if that lasts 96 more weeks. :)