Monday, January 25, 2010

Wizard of Oz! Part 3


Yay for super long and super delayed fantabulous posts! (Forgive me for using the term "fantabulous.")

Hi people. This entry has been a long time coming and I'm afraid there are things I haven't covered completely or barely started to cover from pure ebrbknenfsknvhbsnjvfnfffff. As in I've watched this movie I don't no HOW many times, and I could go on for decades, but it's time to move on to a different gosh darned topic! So this is the best I've got.

(super hilarious shot!)

Ding Dong the Wicked Witch!

List of Wicked Witch's Terminology and Use of Adjectives/ Adverbs:

"Well, my little pretty, I can cause accidents too!"
"-and as for you, my fine lady, true, I can't attend to you here and now as I'd like, but just try to stay out of my way. Just try! I'll get you, my pretty! And your little dog too!"
"Helping the little lady along are you, my fine gentlemen."
"Now, my beauty, something with poison in it. But attractive to the eye, and soothing to the smell. Poppies. Poppies will make them sleep."
"Curse it! Curse it! Somebody always helps that girl!"
"What a nice little dog."
"And you, my dear. What an unexpected pleasure. It's so kind of you to visit me in my loneliness."
"All in good time, my little pretty, all in good time."
"That's a good little girl. I knew you'd see reason."
"And it isn't long, my pretty, it isn't long."
"I'll give you Auntie Em, my pretty!"
"The last to go will see the first three go before her. And her mangy little dog, too!"
"You curséd brat! Look what you've done!"
"What a world, What a World! Who would have thought a good little girl could destroy my beautiful wickedness!"

In Toto:
(haha get it?)
(words only counted if in reference to herself, Dorothy, or Dorothy's companions/Toto)

# my - 10
# little - 8
# pretty - 5
# fine - 2
# lady - 2
# gentlemen - 1
# beauty - 2
# Curse - 3
# girl - 3
# nice - 1
# dear - 1
# mangy - 1
# brat - 1
# good - 2


Okay. So now that I've made it look pretty, let's think about what this might mean.

Her favorite words from most used to least: my, little, pretty, curse, girl, fine, lady, beauty, nice, dear, mangy, brat, good, gentlemen - "my" and "little" being most frequent. As a rule in childhood as well as a lot of adult films, sarcasm and false affection/ manners is a mark of evil. However I'd like to stress her favorite adjectives, the possessive "my" and the inherently diminutive "little." She is very self-aware of her powers, both in magic and in downright intimidation, thus she feels as if she "owns" those less powerful and less intimidating. And certainly Margaret Hamilton "owns" all the scenes she appears in, even upstaging Judy Garland - which is tough to do. The possessive mindset that the Wicked Witch has is key because it is scary to be "owned" - I'm not saying it makes you think of slavery per se, but coming from someone who intends to kill you, a ripple of revulsion perhaps wriggles up your spine. - Note also that amongst the syrupy dishonest niceties ("my fine gentleman" being my favorite) there are sprinkled the occasional rough crude truth-lets - 3 "curses," 1 "mangy," and 1 "brat." The only usage being directed to the party being described itself being "you cursed brat!" - shrieked right after being dunked in water by Dorothy. I believe the water serves to disintegrate her poisonous sugary outer coating to reveal just plain old poison. She's had it. Literally. Plus I find that people - including "bad guys" - are scarier if they are not completely consistent. Thus the contrast between "what a nice little dog" (while petting him) with the two later statements "take that dog down to the river and drown him!" and "and her mangy little dog, too!"

Note: The Wicked Witch does NOT name call Glinda. She only calls Glinda by her name, "Glinda," and only truly refers to Glinda twice, the second time being much more vague, and as a member of a group/ category:

1) "You stay out of this Glinda! Or I'll fix you as well!"
2) "Curse it! Curse it! Somebody always helps that girl!"

Thus Glinda is never called by a nickname. Is this respect for a fellow witch, or perhaps a kind of focus which ignores that which is not the primary enemy?

C.S. Lewis (not Frank Baum - I am aware I am not quoting the author of the Wizard of Oz) had this to say about witches and it always struck me (I've reread the Narnia books several times):

"Now that she was left alone with the children, she took no notice of either of them. And that was like her too. In Charn she had taken no notice of Polly (till the very end) because Digory was the one she wanted to make use of. Now that she had Uncle Andrew, she took no notice of Digory. I expect most witches are like that. They are not interested in things or people unless they can use them; they are terribly practical."
-The Magician's Nephew pg. 79 Harper Trophy 1983 full-color illustration edition

(For C.S. Lewis in the Narnia Chronicles, all witches are bad, but not all witches are ugly. This particular one is extremely tall and has dazzling beauty. But that doesn't mean he doesn't have strong female characters. But I'm not covering Narnia now, am I?)

-From the quote above, re-assess the "Do what you like with the others, but I want them alive and unharmed" coupled with "I want them most of all" with reference to the Ruby slippers
-the witch uses mental as well as physical torture - sarcasm (Example: "That's right. Don't hurt them right away. We'll let them think about it a little first.")

What makes a Witch in the Wizard of Oz
One of the major critiques of "The Wizard of Oz" is that Witches - BAD witches, that is, are defined as ugly - with green skin and long dirty nails and such. First of all I'd like to point out that they are already taking a step forward by dissassociating the words "ugly" and "witch." Since Glinda is pretty, Dorothy learns that in Oz ugly≠witch. And even though it still falls back on the stereoptype ugly witch=bad witch, thus making good and bad witches at least more easiliy recognizable (and thus the conflict of the plot more simple and easy to grasp), - even with this, "The Wizard of Oz" still leaves room for loopholes. For instance, Glinda is a bit inconsistent herself. She says, 1)"Are you a good witch, or a bad witch?" to Dorothy, and 2)"Only Bad witches are Ugly." (The "only" being very important in her premise, if you are going to be especially nitpicky in terms of logic) - Now, since she'd already assumed Dorothy was a witch (based on the Munchkins' information), why would she have to ask Dorothy which kind of witch she was? Dorothy's as stunning and beautiful as they come (including by conventional standards). Glinda by means of her own logic should have gathered that Dorothy was a GOOD witch. - BESIDES this example I just gave you that Glinda has ambiguified (wow horrible made-up word) her own definition ugly witch=bad witch, she ALSO ambiguifies (I'm warming up to my new word) the definition of WITCH. Though I suspect this was only one for comedic purposes, Glinda asks, after being told that Dorothy is NOT a witch, "Is that [pointing at Toto] a witch?" I find this significant because it throws the entire witch=human=girl= bad or ugly montage out the window entirely. So, yes, the modern critiques about ugliness and evil witchery and witchery in general are definitely there. But! But I think "The Wizard of Oz" is more a model of an inconsistent world (like Alice's in "Alice in Wonderland," it has rules that 1)make no sense and 2)no one follows) than a model of a bad=ugly world.

Okay, so now I've written all that mush out, I thought I'd try to put things in a more user-friendly format: pictures! Specifically: Venn Diagrams!
(PLEASE Click Image for a bigger, readable version. Viewer/ Layman Friendly.)

Plus! Plus, one of the main main criticisms of the Wicked Witch of the West's look is her green skin. Yet! Yet her army of men all also have green skin, which, coupled with their following her orders, growling, and pointing spears at our heroine, gathers us to assume they are BAD and EVIL, that is until it is revealed they are THRILLED once she is killed! Again, an ambiguity I believe purposely planted that clouds the green skin=evil montage.

In ADDITION, remember that the quibble I had with Disney's "Sleeping Beauty" was that though Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather were called "The Three Good Fairies" as they ought, that Maleficent was never referred to as a Bad Fairy (which would be consistent with the original tale), but rather is called a "witch" more than once! I bring this up again because "The Wizard of Oz" specifically avoids GOOD fairy vs. BAD witch nonsense. It's complicated enough having a debate about what makes a witch good or bad - let's not enter the connatations of the word "witch" vs. the word "fairy" as well!

Dorothy Power

We all know that the wizard of oz turns out to be useless and that his gifts are satiric shams – that in fact Glinda and Dorothy turn out to be the ones with the real power. The only ones that feel empowered by Man #1 Wizard of Oz are the three (loveable) goofs that attend/ escort Dorothy - because the Wizard's meaningless awards are like a confirmation or feedback, just like a student craves an A+ on their paper even though it was already an A+ paper before the "A+" itself was penned in red marker ON the paper. You get it?

And even Glinda only really helps Dorothy by creating that snow to undo the Wicked Witch's poppy-sleep curse. Even though at the tail end of the movie the Scarecrow points to Glinda's approaching bubble with, "Look! There's someone who can help you!" - we find out from Glinda that Dorothy "Doesn't need help any longer" (italics mine). I find those last two words important as well. Even though apparently Dorothy "always had the power to go back to Kansas" - she still needed help at the beginning of the film.

What is the significance that I am trying to get at? Though Dorothy is the source of all the real power in "The Wizard of Oz," as most protagonists are, I suppose, that doesn't automatically mean she has power over the pacing of the plot. The very important lesson? Power≠Needing No Help. How do I apply this to feminism? I philosophize that this indicates that a woman doesn't have to refuse help to prove she's strong, or to prove the men around her are weak. (I'm exaggerating the plot details/ point here, so that you'll get it! Hopefully you do get it.)

How else is Dorothy awesome? Well, when the Scarecrow (who I will admit is not a complete goof, being probably smarter than Dorothy) says to the Tin Man, "Don't cry now! We haven't got the oil can with us and you've been squeaking enough as it is" - it all of a sudden occurred to me - wait, then where is the oil can? WITH DOROTHY! In her cute little basket!!!!! This isn't all that special of an epiphany, but to me it again stresses the function / functions Dorothy posesses in the story beyond just being the damsel in distress they are in that very scene trying to figure out how to save.

Furthermore, as a cute little tidbit, let's consider the personality of Dorothy. Usually you would think of a little girl who loves her dog and is afraid of a witch and hopes a wizard will save her, yada yada, correct? Well, let's just explore the alternatives...

While watching this video I made, keep in mind these two opposing (though not neccessarily TRUE) statements: "I am Oz the Great and Powerful"/ "I am Dorothy the Small and Meek." :

Hopefully this video made you think. Dorothy actually - by accident and otherwise - is the cause of lots of harm and violence! The way I'd like to put it is, she is a major catalyst. Things just get going when she's around. Some of it is just because she's the protagonsist, but a lot of it is also because of her brand of personality, which takes the moral lessons she was taught concerning being a "good girl" and throws it in the faces of those who aren't (whether they be a girl or no)! Such as the moment - and I kick myself (not too hard) for not including this in the video above - when she loses it at the Wizard saying, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself - frightening him like that when he came to you for help!" - and later - "If you were really Great and Powerful you'd keep your promises!" She has sound morals and she's not about to tolerate ill-treatment.

Thus though Dorothy fulfills the obligatory girl-cries and screams in air and is trapped and saved, and the Wicked Witch says "Curse it! Curse it! Somebody always helps that girl!" after Glinda provides the snow that undos the Poppy sleeping spell, let's just remember that Dorothy pulls the plot forward more than anybody else does.

List of Acts of Violence and/or Catalyst Behavior in Dorothy:

  1. hits basket “or I’ll bite you myself!” “You wicked ol’ witch”
  2. suitcase/leaves
  3. house falls on wicked witch of the east “no, no, it was an accident. I didn’t mean to kill anybody!”
  4. smacks lion on nose to protect toto “no but you tried to” compare to “she tried to, didn’t she?” plus “my what a fuss you’re making!” (My translation: "Grow a pair!")
  5. ~crying gets them in (not violence, just using a conventional "feminine" tool to pull the plot along)
  6. Hurt the witch when the witch tries to take off her shoes “I’m sorry? I didn’t do it”
  7. Melts the Wicked Witch of West “I didn’t mean to kill her. Really I didn’t. It’s – It’s just that he was on fire!” (Dorothy appears to be using that excuse quite often...)
  8. Dorothy re-opens the curtain after Toto (not exactly violence, but brave and determined)
  9. Shoes Click (not violence. I included this just as a reminder that Dorothy was able to just by clicking her shoes to get back to Kansas)

BUT BUT BUT is Toto as much of a Catalyst as she is????

Toto leading the climb up the rocks of a cliff to save Dorothy in the Witch's Tower - looking back to see if that LION can keep up.

Let's think about that. Toto, because he'd been chasing a certain ol' cat "every day"/once or twice a week, was the reason Mrs. Gultch got angry enough to want to "destroy" him.

Dorothy claims that this wasn't his fault, he didn't know he was doing anything wrong, that she let him go into Gultch's garden. So maybe Dorothy still reigns as catalyst. But then again, if there were no Toto, there would be no Toto to let into Gultch's garden, you dig?

Therefore it was Toto, after he had saved himself from Gultch's basket, was the reason Dorothy ran away. Toto was the reason Dorothy mastered the might to slap a lion right on the nose, hard. Because Toto escaped all by himself from the witch (from a similar basket) and led the trio (the scarecrow, the tinman, and the lion) to Dorothy's whereabouts, she was saved from death by hourglass. Toto is the one who initially opens the Wizard of Oz's curtain! That's taking 4 catalyst points out of the 9 I listed above from Dorothy, plus some additional ones all for Toto. Hmmmmm. Though I'd like to say that this is a woman's movie, let's not forget Toto.

After all, Toto does bark at all the bad guys.

I guess the question is more: which came first, the dog as a catalyst or the girl's affection for the dog as a catalyst?

Who is Dorothy?
Continuing on a similar strain, SINCE Toto has such a heavy influence on Dorothy and thus on the entire plot, almost equalling Dorothy in catalyst stature, this indicates to me the possibility that Dorothy is a child first, THEN a girl. Which, by the way, is true of most people. This gets back to what feminism means for me. It does not mean that we are women first. To quote a famous movie ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner") I have not seen, though I did see this clip: "Father, you think of yourself as a black man. I see myself as a man." - Similarly, Dorothy doesn't see herself, and we shouldn't see her, primarily at least, as a female girl, but rather as a girl. This is stressed in the story as well because gender is never displayed as an issue: especially since her three companions, though technically male, are simple either anthropomorphized objects or animals, and thus are kind of genderless, or at least their gender is easily forgotten. All the men in the film are emasculated in some conventional sense - they're either old or not human (except the three shift hands in the very beginning and very end, who are potrayed as avuncular/ brother types).

Something to think about: Everyone who shows up in both worlds has two characters - one for each reality - except for Dorothy. This is due to the structure that Baum has laid out. But how does this affect the way we view Dorothy as a person with reference to the others? I could write a 20 page essay on this! (I invite you to do so. And send it to me once you've written it!)

Dorothy School Girl (Both SCHOOL and GIRL) Body Language:
(Stiff and New, Balancing the sudden movement-habits of a kid with the freshly-learned rules of a lady's conduct)

People are people first. So why am I writing this blog entry on the Wizard of Oz, if I believe that? Why am I writing this blog at all if I believe that? I don't know... well, I guess people are people first, but of course usually where there is a first, there is a second - and often a third and a fourth. Even simple stories like the Wizard of Oz can have simple and complex undertones, good and bad, female or male, whatever or whatever.

Other points that stress Dorothy's simplicity of mind, which some think due to her gender, but which I am assigning to her age:
  1. Dorothy talks to Toto. Dorothy often adresses Toto: "Don't be silly Toto, Scarecrows don't talk." (Yes, thinks Toto, and neither do I!)
  2. A interesting tidbit: Dorothy, the Trio, and the Wicked Witch of the West are shown to be literate. Dorothy in the opening is seen with a pile of schoolbooks strapped in a buckle as was done in her presumed time period; Dorothy and the Trio (Scarecrow, Tinman, Lion) read the Notice in front of the city of Oz "Door out of Order, Please Knock" - Dorothy pointing at each word as they read it aloud together. Both of these instances not only show her literacy, but stress the newness of it in her schoolgirl mentality and approach to reading, as a child, a kid. (The Wicked Witch is shown to know how to read when she writes "Surrender Dorothy" in the sky with her broom-smoke.)
  3. Dorothy has a sort of stiff school-girl posture, - gentle, but rigid enough to indicate that her polite manners and language are new to her, freshly taught, if beginning to become second-nature. Her arms are often held up bent at the elbow, he back straight, her movements neat and gentle, but retaining a certain suddenness of movement that retains the simplicity of an impulsive child. Wow, I'm not sure that description made sense! Anyhow, her "schoolgirl" posture is in my opinion as much "SCHOOL" as it is "GIRL," and that Judy Garland isn't simply trying to be a sterotypical "lady," but rather a believable girl who has been told the proper way to behave. Example? "Well, we haven't really met properly, have we? - How do you do? [with a curtsy]" - "very well thank you": all in with a very rehearsed demeanor, a smile on her face for remembering how to meet someone new in the right and "proper" way.


I thought of making a section that focuses on the reason/ forms of reason/ though processes that resemble reason in the women first when I realized that the Wicked Witch of the West seems to identify with reason - from Mrs. Gultch's "Now you're seeing Reason," to the Wicked Witch's "I knew you'd see Reason."

So, I thought, that's interesting. It's the evil woman that focuses and identifies with reason and thought. Does that mean that the other, good, women, don't use/ identify with reason? Does that mean that (gulp) "The Wizard of Oz" is saying that a woman who thinks is evil? I HOPE NOT! So let's study this idea a bit closer.

Reason reason reason? in FANTASY is not to be ignored. Why? Because the logic in a fantasy world is independent of our world's logic. Their sequiturs are often our non sequiturs. So what brands of reason do the female characters have? And is (gulp) the witch's closest to our's?

COLOR CODE: Green is the Witch. Pink is Glinda. Blue is Dorothy.

"Now you're seeing reason"
"Well, I'm a little muddled. The munchkins tell me that a new witch has just dropped a house on the Wicked Witch of the East. And there's the house, and here you are, and that's all that's left of the Wicked Witch of the East. So, what the Munchkins want to know, is are you a good witch, or a bad witch?" *
"I'm the only one that knows how to use them. They're of no use to you."
"Keep tight inside of them. They're magic must be very powerful, or she wouldn't want them so badly."
"But, which is the way back to Kansas? I can't go the way I came!"
"It's always best to start at the beginning. And all you do is follow the yellow brick road."
"How can you talk if you haven't got a brain?" - "Yes, I guess you're right."
"Well, what would you do with a brain if you had one?"
"Where's Kansas?" - "That's where I live."
"But even if he didn't you'd be no worse off than you are now."
"How did you ever get like this?"
"You call that long? Why you've just begun."
"And it's funny, but I feel as if I've known you all the time. But I couldn't have, could I?"
"He really must be a wonderful wizard to live in a city like that."
"But nobody can see the Great Oz, Nobody's Never Seen the Great Oz! Even I've never seen him!" - "Well, then how do you know there one?"
"What kind of a horse is that? I've never seen a horse like that before!"
"Half of you go this way, half of you go that way."

*This statement of Glinda's (the first one above) is practically the Socratic Method (Premise one, Statement one, Conclusion...).

Hmmmm... notice how few of these "reason" quotes are the Wicked Witch's.... hmmmm....

Okay, so it would kill me to go over each quote in detail, but let me just sum up what I take out of this as a whole:

DISCUSS GLINDA'S LOGIC - Um, I'm to lazy. Let me put it this way: for me, Glinda is kind of like the big smoking caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. She provides the way of thinking that you THINK you get in the beginning which makes sense by the end. I think. It has also been awhile since I've read Alice in Wonderland :)

The Wicked Witch it seems does use the standard archetypal actual reason. Dorothy's mode of reason - and I think it is a type of reason - is more of an adaptive process. It goes something like this: what did you say? o yeah we're not in Kansas. what did you say? o right we're not in kansas. what did he - o what the hell I'll accept the fact that a lion can talk. I guess what I'll have to do to separate the ridiculous from the simply we're-not-in-kansas is listen to what they tell me and make sure the dots connect in some way!;

My favorite examples?

1) DOROTHY ADAPTS. She allows her logic to remain flexible. She says some form of "did you say something" when she encounters the scarecrow, tree, and tin man, but by the lion she did not ask any version of that question - finally accepted that things might talk or act differently, than she was used to.

2) "Where's Kansas?" said the Scarecrow. "That's where I live," said Dorothy.
Now, normal girl would be like, "I don't know where the hell Kansas is because I don't know where I am!!!!!!! Where is anything? Is there such thing as being in a location? RRRGGGTHTHTHTHTHHRRGGG!!!!!!" .... or at least they would be confused at how to form a response. But not Dorothy. Without hesitation she answers, with a certainty as solid as rock, "That's where I live" - which the audience much acknowledge to be true. But how does this help the scarecrow? His question when put in context suggests that he would like to go there (why? because he wants to scare crows, but he can't scare the crows in Oz. She says the crows in Kansas would be scared of him, after which he says, "where's Kansas?"), so her saying that's where she lives does not help him. Yet, he nods his head in assent, as if this is what he needed to hear. - His reaction confirms that HER reaction was the correct one. She is beginning to get the hang of the logic of Oz and beginning to throw away some of the logic of Kansas.

3) Doorman says "But nobody can see the Great Oz, Nobody's Never Seen the Great Oz! Even I've never seen him!" and Dorothy says, "Well, then, how do you know there is one?" - this shows that, though she has now accepted she is no longer in Kansas, she still utilizes the basis of Kansas' logical system - or, in other words, she still insists on taking what the Doorman gives her and making sure his data points, whether coherent or not, string together. (Again, an Alice in Alice in Wonderland type reaction. Note to Self: write a compare and contrast of Alice and Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz.)

AND NOW, Gender vs. Gender Stuff

Just a little thought on Uncle Henry and Auntie Em: Uncle Henry is still clearly the alpha male - when Em emplores (haha get it?) Dorothy shut up because she's trying to work, it is Uncle Henry who makes her be quiet with a serious (though benevolent) alpha-male stare (see above still from the movie); also Aunt Em has to say "put him [Toto] in the basket Henry" and Dorothy doesn't fight him (see still from the movie below), because he is the alpha male. However, all that Uncle Henry does, is a reflection of what Auntie Em wants or has decided they will do. There is even a moment when Dorothy says, "Auntie Em, Uncle Henry, you won't let her will you?" he replies, loosely fussing with his collar, "of course we won't, eh, uh, will we Em?" Also, Dorothy emphasizes her missing Aunt Em the most during her stay in Oz. I don't think this is just because Aunt Em is her "mother" figure. It is natural for a girl to identify with the person raising them of the same gender. In addition, it is Aunt Em who she thought, according to Professor Marvel was sick - and, as I said, Aunt Em is really the driving force of the farm. Uncle Henry is only really there to a) confuse Mrs. Gultch for comedic effect and b) play a traditional avuncular role here and there.

I hope I'm not accidentally saying that "The woman behind the man is the real power" - an argument I am not fond of because I still find it sexist. Why? To even have the word "man" in the definition of a woman's power means that there has to be a man in order for a woman to be powerful, that she cannot be defined without his presence. But not only does it have "man" in the definition, but it also has the word "behind" in it!!! A quote that resembles this attitude is in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," (which I love otherwise) "the man is the head [of the house], but the woman is the neck. And the neck can turn the head any way she wants."

That's not quite what I mean about Aunt Em. Well, whatever.

Note: When Dorothy cries about Auntie Em at the gates of the Wizard of Oz's lair, we are supposed to be sad. But then they have the guard comically have streams of water coming down his face, sobbing, "I had an Auntie Em myself once." Is it partially funny because he is a man? Or just because he's a character actor? Or both? This is not a serious question considering his crying is hardly realistic, but...

Witch's/Dorothy's/Oz'/Trio's Costumes and Voices
Glinda's wand long like a Wizard's staff, so that's cool... Dorothy's blue checkered garb and pigtails are absurdly simple but I like them... The Witch's bun being a bigger more ornate and salon-styled version of Ms. Gultch's original bun...


I'm too exhausted to discuss them all (costumes in particular), so I guess I'll have to ask you guys to think something up for me. I made these videos to facilitate such a train of thought. Maybe you'll even look for the patterns I had in mind...

I used to think in the Oz make-over scene the woman said different smile out of a frown; but in fact the words are "we can make a dimple smile out of a frown" - MUCH different in terms of body image - and of course Dorothy's response "Can you even dye my eyes to match my gown?" "uh-huh!" "Jolly old Town!" - At first I had thought this was sort of a satire to plastic surgery, and I still think so: but before I thought it was about the ridiculousness of changing Judy Garland's already perfect smile, and now I think it more about the ridiculousness of plastic surgery - because usually such cosmetic changes are meant to take away dimples, but this sequence is stressing how beautiful and desireable a dimple smile is! (Of course, Judy Garland already has that too.)

- (Also, notice the ways they chose to dress the women in the Emerald city. some are matronly, some imbetween, but the ones clipping the Lion are downright risqué. Their privates are barely covered up! It's all perfect long exposed legs - you get worried for exposure at the tail-end laugh part where they rock back and forth!)

This video is constructed with this trend in mind: The actresses all chose character voices for their individual archetypal roles (archetypal as in what the average person thinks of first when they think of that sort of person) whereas the male actors used their own voices and left the rest to just plain acting.
Dorothy: Protagonist-Child-Innocent-Open-Affectionate-Learning-Gentle Voice
Auntie Em: Hard-Working-Woman-Matriarch-Sometimes-Gentle-Sometimes-Stern-Loving-Aunt/ Mother/ Older-Woman-You-Want-To-Hug-Her Voice
Glinda: For a woman that we happen to know is 54 at the time of this film, she uses quite a high-pitched voice - yet she still seems to sustain the motherly-protective-all-knowing-matriarchal-queen feel to her voice - probably something to do with the vibrations she puts in each word, each word that is practically a musical note.
The Wicked Witch of the West: My favorite two Wicked Witch of the West Moments - when she reaches that amazingly high shrill note "I'll" in the first "I'll get you my pretty," and when she cackles and ends the cackle with a shriek as she throws the hourglass down from above. SO hardcore. The Voice she choses? Intelligent-Hag Voice - she must have gone through several sore throats throughout filming. I am very much in awe of Margaret Hamilton.

(Note: MGM makes fun of its gender character-voices through the stark contrasts between the lullaby league and the lollipop guilds' voices and demeanors!)

I used the word "trend" because this is a theory more than anything else. I just find it interesting that the women are compelled to use their voices to support the connotations of their roles more than the men. BUT this might just be because the women are the major roles in this film, and most of the men in this film are either a) not major characters or b) not really meant to be thought of in terms of gender. And don't think I've forgotten that Bert Lahr most decidedly has a character voice for the Cowardly Lion.

And Let's not forget my "Mostly Dorothy" music video!

The Ruby Slippers! (I want them badly...)
Click on this Magnificently Cluttered Image for an Enlargement if it Pleases you. :)
Judy Garland pulls off glittery red high heels with light blue socks - who knew?

... and don't forget that the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz is emasculated when the curtain is lifted from a bodyless head to a cartoon character that is "a very good man, but a very bad wizard."

I don't have any proof of this and it would take forever to find some. But I think the characters have equal amounts of dialogue, and that's a good thing.

from most to least active
1) Dorothy (see catalyst list above) 2) Wicked Witch West ("Mrs. Gultch hit Toto right over the back with a rake" - off camera, In Persona - bursts of flame when entering or exiting; attempts - fireball, taking the shoes, keeping Toto hostage, defeating Dorothy in the last scene; temporary success - Poppies; only successful harm - abduct Dorothy through Flying Monkeys, burns scarecrow) 3) Glinda (In Persona - Floating Bubble when entering or Exiting; the shoes, the snow)
This is proof that Glinda is capable of magic that is quite scary (and definitely not pink)!

Surprising that the only non-witch with no magical powers is the most active! (And most successful at being active...)

The only deliberate action of the Trio? 1)steal the garb of the 3 men they are attacked by 2) The door cut down by the axe 3) The Chandelier - they are seen in the Haunted Forest with ridiculous weapons but they do not use them. List: Scarecrow, Gun and Sickle. Tin Man, Axe and Big-Ass Wrench. Cowardly Lion, big butterfly net and even bigger bugspray pump (the least effective of the weapons).

In fact, they are ditzes in the penultimate scene in which Dorothy is supposed to go up in the "State Fair Omaha" Hot-Air Balloon with the Wizard - they were supposed to be holding it down with the four ropes, but when Dorothy goes after Toto all of them let go to go help her catch him except the Tin Man, who you can see absentmindedly unravels the rope around the pole on which it was fastened because he is distracted. As the balloon begins to lift off it is therefore the Tin Man who is the first to notice and he makes a firmer hold on his rope and pulls and the others try to help but to no avail, and, as the Wizard put it, they "ruined [his] exit."

NOTICE the Tin Man is the most active of the three. The Scarecrow may be the most cerebral - for instance, the cutting of the rope holding the chandelier was his idea, and in fact he did move the tin man's axe in order to do it - and he led them when they were running away from the witch and her green army, BUT it is the Tin Man's axe which delivers the blow, his axe which saves Dorothy from death by the ominous hourglass, and finally, he is the reason that the hot air balloon wasn't detached altogether right away. HOWEVER, I do not think that this is to the credit of the Tin Man. The last one was a matter of chance, and all the other acts of his are do to one thing. His AXE. His WEAPON. So, I'd like to make a little hint here, that the Men in Oz are only rendered active with their weapons - without them, they are schmucks that let Dorothy's apparently only chance of escape slip by because of their short attention spans. But, I don't think that message was intentional, nor do I think that is what should be taken from this movie. It is just an interesting, cute little tidbit. (The witch's army, in addition, never get to acts of violence, because their boss, the WOMAN, never signals them too. All they get to do is point their spears and "grrrrrrrrrr.")

I realize that I am being extremely remiss in not talking about the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Lion but I'm exhausted and that's that. I adore them all, and I suppose that's all you need know.


P.S. Funny Slip-Up of Judy Garland's!!!! My mom caught it....

This is a fuzzy video that includes Wizard of Oz bloopers. I knew four of them before I saw this video. (Giggles... bouncing "clay" crown... the insect the witch mentioning referring to something cut out of the movie... the tinman "untying" the rope "by accident.") How many did you know?

Some of these are not really bloopers - just goofs of the movie not taking itself too seriously, or things they kept in because they thought it fit in really well.

Here is a blooper my dad found that is NOT included in the above fuzzy video:

The embedding on my youtube video was disabled, so click the image for it to open in a new window:

The Scarecrow hits a rubber log which moves WAY too easily for a REAL log that size - thus it is really RUBBER! One of the rare moments that we realize an MGM set is not real.

P.P.S. I did not make these two videos but I find them funny.

I like this one because it is like once Dorothy leaves the Trio acts like a bunch of regular guy friends would act. They can now engage in "guy" bonding activities.

I rarely watch mash-ups but I found this particularly enjoyable, especially since I dislike just-like-in-the-street-crew-dance-competition-achievement-of-life-dream movies, so I liked that this person, in use Wizard of Oz clips over a "You Got Served" commercial, is pointing out its ridiculousness - the simplicity of its set-up. Plus it is really well done. You can tell this person worked really hard to make all this stuff coincide and it really works (I especially can tell this given my new hobby of making and editing youtube videos it is a heck of a lot of work! But I love it). Yay successful satire!

P.P.S. More amazing Judy Garland! She was otherworldly. I favorited this video seconds into it. She's that good.

and this...
Judy Garland's "Singin' in the Rain."

and this...
Judy Garland's "I Don't Care!"
this style kinda smacks Bette Midler!

Isn't she the most gorgeous thing you ever did see?
(Haha I'm objectifying a woman by calling her a "thing!" Heehee!)

Who is your FAVORITE Wizard of Oz Character?


  1. The scarecrow was always my favorite. He seemed so smart and safe and funny. And I loved his dancing. It didn't surprise me at all that she said she'd miss him the most. Though she might have said that because she met him before the others and it was the first time she saw a truly friendly face; at least the first friendly person who stuck by her side!

  2. i think i like toto the best even though he's scandalous!

  3. Okay. Regarding whether Toto should be viewed as a catalyst separate from Dorothy, I would have to say that this was an intriguing idea as I have never viewed Toto as separate from Dorothy. However, I think that they must be viewed as a unit. And one other idea is that in asking whether Dorothy is a witch, since only the witches have power in Oz and Dorothy definitely makes things happen, and even does magic (using the ruby slippers) at the end of the movie, by definition isn't Dorothy a witch when she is in OZ. And couldn't Toto then be considered as her familiar?

  4. No, I disagree. Dorothy is still NOT a witch. Her powers depend entirely on those slippers, and the only way she eventually finds out how to use them are to get her own self home.

  5. Slow! Are you saying that only the shoes have power/magic? Wouldn't the person have to have magic to use them? The object may enhance or channel the power but doesn't it come from the person? Glinda wields the wand, but no one thinks it is the wand that is the power, it just helps facilitate what Glinda wants to do. The Wizard has lots of gizmos but since he has no power he is a humbug. So, I think it is the person that wields the power the object used only facilitates the transaction.

  6. Phoo. Glinda clearly says something like, "Those shoes must be very powerful or the wicked witch would not want them"... it's the SHOES on ANYONE AT ALL.

    Anyway you never know maybe it IS that wand of Glinda's that is an independent agent. Remember that Harry Potter was shopping for wands and they each had independent powers, though I guess whether they were used for good or bad depended on the operator. I think those slippers might have been useful for VARIOUS works of magic. Perhaps, since the wicked witch wanted them, they could have been used for all sorts of nefarious things! Kind of like a knife can be used to slice onions (good) or to slice people (bad). This does not suggest a person can slice either one without the knife!

    As for the wizard, he has useless gizmos.

  7. Although I do not wish to be part of an argument that has so many possibilities that it may make your head spin, I would like to point out something that has come to my attention. Timber, you cannot relate the wizard of Oz's wands and tools to those from a different fantasy story all together. The reason I think this argument is pointless is because there are many interpretations that go with magic and tools used for magic. It IS true that there may be magic without objects to channel it. However, there is also magic without wands or even wands by themselves. Timber, you can't use harry potter wands here bcause if you had read all the books, you would know that wands CAN act on there own. You also can't relate it to harry potter because harry potter is a entirely different story with an entirely different set of rules for mangic. John, please keep in mind what I have said above. Although your statement may be true, there is no way you can prove timber's statement false.

  8. I have never seen such an angle on the Wizard of Oz. Or even a feminist view on this film. You are certainly original in all your concepts, and I like your flow of language. I love the depiction of the venom-spewing witch. I also think the dancing scarecrow is the funniest thing. I noticed by the way that in this blog you have become slightly more economical with words, i.e. without extraneous utterances (though they are funny and entertaining) and that is a good development. You have so much to say that I think you can get right to it. I am glad you have time to write!

  9. timber - I actually don't think either of your arguments work totally in your favor. That is that some part of each supports the view that it is the person that weilds the power not the object. The knife does not actually cut anything on its own. It only cuts when a person uses the knife to facilitate an end. Hopefully onions. I would argue that for a common, ordinary object an ordinary person can use it. However for a magical object a magical person is required. And as to the wands and other magical objects in Harry Potter, they only worked for wizards or witches (people with power) not for squibs or muggles.