Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Day 53: The Wizard of Oz

Today I went to a screening of The Wizard of Oz that was playing at the Palace Theatre in Albany. It was my first time at the Palace and it is a beautiful old venue and I absolutely loved it. They have a series where they periodically screen old films for $5. Tonight they were showing The Wizard of Oz and I decided to check it out.

The theatre was filled with parents with little children (some were dressed up like characters-- so cute!) as well as a large amount of gay men. The atmosphere in the theatre was totally fun... everybody was laughing a lot and just having a good time. At the very start of the movie, the sound was messed up and you could only heard the background music and sound effects but none of the voices. A couple of men filled in for the crowd and literally were reciting EVERY line, with perfect pitch and imitations of the characters voices. Basically it was like Wizard of Oz karaoke. It was HYSTERICAL. The entire theatre was laughing.

Anyways, I heard about this event from a blog I've been reading called All Over Albany and they recommended people check out the movie but also check out some of the political theories and interpretations behind it and the supposed allegories of the characters. They directed me to a few links and I printed them out and read them while I was waiting for the movie to start so they'd be fresh in my mind.

Basically, people say that the movie and the character reflects some of the political situations of the 1890-1900s. Dorothy represents the naive, simple, every day person just trying to get by and get back to normal when a tornado (i.e. a political revolution) carries her to a world with wonderful resources, but serious political problems. In the original book, the slippers were silver, so there is said to be symbolism behind the silver slippers being taken down the "golden" yellow brick road to an "emerald" city... all of which being a symbol for the issues that were going on behind coinage an representation for currency. Where the "emerald" city represents a world where green paper money doesn't really have value in itself and is something that is just built up which no real value behind it. And even though the author of The Wizard of Oz said he came up with "Oz" from a filing cabinet labeling "A-N" and "O-Z" people speculate if Oz really is due to the fact that oz. is the abbreviation for ounces, the measurement used for gold and silver.

The Tinman is said to represent the industrial workers, badly mistreated, and left alone rusted and helpless until the Scarecrow, aka the representation of a farmer comes along to help him. This mimics a much discussed Labor-Farmer movement of the 1890s. Also, the Tinman's dependency on the oil can is taken as a symbol for Rockefellar's rising oil conglomerate (ummm... which if this was meant to be a symbol for larger scale oil dependency, that DEF. still has relevance today-- did anybody see the price of oil shoot up today? ugh.).

Anyways, the movie was totally fun and some of my favorite lines that I wrote down were:

"A heart is not judged by how much it loves but by how much it is loved by others." -Wizard of Oz

"What puts the 'ape' in apricot?" and "A rhinocerous? Imposerous!" - Lion (Both these were during "If I were the King of the Forest" and I just thought they were funny... maybe it was because the same men that were sitting behind me acting out the movie for the theatre when the sound was out continued that throughout the whole thing... and they got such a kick out of these lines that I did as well).

"Some people with no brains do an awful lot of talking, don't they?" - (Um, at this point the men behind me shout, 'yah-- and they get elected for two terms!'... which I thought was comical)

"There is no place like home." - Dorothy

If only it were that easy, huh?

Seriously though... seeing this tonight just reminded me what a fun, funny, magical, and educational movie this is. Go watch The Wizard of Oz today.

P.S. Anybody from the fam remember when we were playing some game like "Taboo" and someone was trying to get Chris B. to guess the word "Brain" so they said to him, "If I only had a.....?" and his response was "Chair?"


Carol said...

I LOVE the Wizard of Oz! I remember when we were little we would get SO excited when it was going to be on TV (once a year, no videos then). There certainly are some great lines from that movie, too. I'm not sure I like all the political analysis - I just think it's a fun movie to watch! Thanks for the memories.......

Doodlebug said...

OZ did in fact come from the filing cabinet. The author Frank Baum was reading his stories to the local kids and he'd always called it the "Magic Land". One of the kids asked him what the name of the Magic Land was, and he didn't know what to say - so he looked around the room and saw his filing cabinet with the letters "O-Z". There you have it!

Doodlebug said...

Oh, and did you know that the ruby slippers are actually supposed to be silver slippers? They changed it for the movie because the red looked better in Technicolor. The Wizard of Oz was the first movie to be released with Technicolor technology.

Doodlebug said...

More great quotes!

Wicked Witch of the West: You cursed brat! Look what you've done! I'm melting! melting! Oh, what a world! What a world! Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Oooooh, look out! I'm going! Oooooh! Ooooooh!

Almira Gulch. Just because you own half the county doesn't mean that you have the power to run the rest of us. For twenty-three years I've been dying to tell you what I thought of you! And now... well, being a Christian woman, I can't say it!

I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do! I do! I do! I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks. I do! I do! I do! I do!

Doodlebug said...

Oh and Margaret Hamilton who played the wicked witch of the west burned her face when she drops through the floor in the fireball during the Munchkinland scene that's in the movie.

Also Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampitt from the Beverly Hillbillies) was the original pick for the Tin Man. MGM didn't know how to costume the part and they tried a variety of materials eventually settling on aluminum dust applied over clown white to his skin. He'd finished all his costume and makeup tests, recorded his songs for the soundtrack and finished many weeks of rehearsal when he was rushed to the hospital and placed in an oxygen tent when his lungs failed! He had an allergic reaction to the aluminum dust that left him barely able to breathe.

Carol said...

Why doodlebug, aren't you a smart little cookie!!!!!

Katie B. said...

I heard about that filing cabinet, but HOW, Doodlebug, do you know that is true? Maybe thats just what the dude tells people and it really is my version OZ being a symbol for ounces? And yes I did know about the shoes being silver because like I said, people think it was a metaphor with the silver shoes on the golden road.

I'm not saying your wrong, I'm just saying, you MIGHT not be right.

Doodlebug said...

Nope, I'm right... and I'm saying you're wrong. :) This movie is a bit of an obsession for me. Sad but true. I've never heard about the ounces thing, and I've read everything! But maybe I am wrong... and if I am then my whole world is falling apart!