Tag Archive: the Wizard of Oz


Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Family Movie Night

by Karyn Bowman

With all of the food that we ate this past week, I find it amazing that any of us are still able to stand. We had our usual Thanksgiving meal, Pizza Friday night, dinner at a friend’s house on Saturday, and a potluck on Sunday night.

There was lots of good eating including a somewhat spicy chili and turkey enchiladas. But it was also about getting together with friends and family that made the meals special.

Another thing we did this past weekend is watch lots of movies. I can only say that we went through movies like water. The Lion King, Ella Enchanted, Gnomeo and Juliet, Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium, and The Wizard of Oz.

The last one was my pick. For some reason I had a vague memory that we always watched this 1939 during every Thanksgiving. Not that I have anything specific to that point. I don’t remember watching it at my grandmother’s or my parent’s houses. It is just there in my memory.

Wizard of Oz 2What I discovered is that for some years, The Wizard of Oz was shown on Thanksgiving for a while. Then it was shown between Thanksgiving and Christmas until later deals placed it in the month of January. One Ted Turner bought the rights and technology brought us VCRs, well the movie lost some of it’s big draw luster on TV. But not in the hearts of the fans.

People still buy the various editions which includes featurettes and documentaries about anything regarding the production. We looked at a few included in our DVD but that might have been to avoid bedtime.

Watching the movie again for the first time in a long time made me realize how much I did not know about it. Such as Dorothy trying to run away. I thought she and Toto hid in her room until the tornado came. Nor did I ever remember the scene in which she visits Professor Marval’s camp.

Wizard of Oz 3But the rest of it I did. The glorious flight into Oz, the terror of Margaret Hamilton’s witch, the wonders of the Poppy field. As I watched, I began to see the little pieces that made last year’s The Great and Powerful Oz starring James Franco and Michelle Williams so familiar. Those little touches, such as Professor Marval’s flim flam routine and the bubbles in which Glinda travels about, expanded the experience more for me.

After we watched the movie, my daughter stated she wanted to learn more about Judy Garland. I am not sure if I can break it to her that for the next ten years Garland was a tremendous performer but drug use would take over her life. Well, it probably won’t stop me from getting Meet Me in St. Louis and listening to the wonderful ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Night.’

As with so much of her work, it is Garland’s singing voice that carries the movie. The sadness in her voice is heavy with regret and worry which is amazing when you think about the fact that Garland is so young in this movie. She was only about 17-year-old at the time of filming.

But to me the most amazing part is that of the Scarecrow as played by Ray Bolger whose dance steps are so loose and floppy. It made me wonder if he hurt his feet during any of his dance scenes.

All in all, I would say it was worth the time to watch it again.

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Becoming a Great Man

Family Movie Night

 

By Karyn Bowman

 

This past week saw the release of The Great and Powerful Oz starring James Franco to the home theater market.

 

It is a prequel to The Wizard of Oz that many of us know – and perhaps love – so well. It is a movie that is referenced in so many ways that it may be hard to quantify.

 

 

Poster image from IMDb.com

Poster image from IMDb.com

The latest might be a crack about flying monkeys in last year’s The Avengers that was notable because it was the only pop culture reference that Captain America understood.

 

Anytime some one mentions no longer being in Kansas is a direct link.

 

Not to mention “And your little dog, too.”

 

Why do we need a prequel is not a certainty in my mind. But once it was created, I could not imagine not having it. This movie directed by Sam Raimi is eye-poppingly beautiful. The colors grab your attention.

 

But so does the acting and characterizations of key players in the movie that, sequentially, comes later. We see how various characters are related and why it matters. When we saw the movie at the theater, it was as if time had barely passed and then suddenly the movie was over.

 

It makes me wonder why we, the collective public, love this story so much.

 

In a strange way, I am reminded of Harry Potter. Both characters are orphaned, both live with an aunt and uncle, and both seem to think they do not belong to these families. While one will discover this last fact is true, both children go on a journey through incredible and fantastic land in order to save it from a greater evil.

 

Or as my husband puts it, the preteen angsty feeling that these people who claim to be your family is not really your family. Suddenly, the feeling that you did not belong has been confirmed and what a relief that must be since now you have found a place with magic to make you even a better person.

 

 

Image from IMDb.com

Image from IMDb.com

While I give credence to the first part of his theory , I do not think it is all about magic being the saving force with either character. Dorothy and Harry find a special tool (water and the expelliarmus spell, respectively) to defeat their nemesis but to get to that point they must have strength of character.

 

Both characters go through many trials and tribulations which hi-lights the best aspects of their beings – kindness, gentleness, concern for others, humility. While you could make the argument that Dorothy and Harry represent the fruits of the spirit, it needs to be noted that both are human and fall to the weakness of the flesh as well. We love them because of their good qualities, we relate to both because of their frailties.

 

As soon as I can, I plan to rent this movie for a family night that will find us wrapped back into the magical land of Oz. Come September, I will be on the look-out for the 75th Anniversary edition of the movie that became a classic when it was released in 1939.

 

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle. 

Stormy Weather

Family Movie Night

 

by Karyn Bowman

 

This week’s column is courtesy of my neighbors – Mary, Barb and Joyce.

 

You think I am joking? Think again.

 

This is how it started. The other night I get home from Sam’s tee-ball practice so I can go to my writers’ group. My son informs me that Mary dropped off some Italian nut cookies for me.

 

Well, they are fabulous. Mary is going to have to give me the recipe. As I am heading out with cookies and a cool mug of mint tea in my hands, I see Mary on Joyce’s and Barb’s front porch. So I go over and tell her how great the cookies taste. Soft almond cookies with pine nuts on top. Need I say more?

 

Then I tell the girls I have to leave because I need to get back for Sara’s game and then I have to write this column. I tell them I have no idea what I am going to write about. That is when someone says “talk about the tree limb that came down the other night during the storm.”

 

Image from IMDb.com

“That is a good idea,” I respond. Last week when the big storm hit with thunder and lightning, the big maple in my neighbor’s parkway lost a branch. A huge section of the tree came down. If you wanted to study birds that live at the canopy level of a tree, all you have to do is sit on my porch or put one of those web cameras on it.

 

Storm Movies! That’s the ticket, I say. I will write about storm movies.

 

So I start thinking about Twister starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton from 1996. My husband loves this movie, while I am not a fan. Perhaps it is because I grew up in twister country and I know what it is like to have to head to the basement on a regular weekly basis.

 

So seeing a movie in which the wind destroys a lot of stuff and nearly kills our leads is not of any interest. In fact, my instinct is to go hide when that movie is on our TV.

 

That is when Joyce made mention of that movie with the big wave. We tried guessing and I went for the one starring Pierce Brosnan. Only Dante’s Peak (1997) was about a volcano. Then Joyce said “No, it starred that George fellow.”

 

Image from IMDb.com

It took us another minute to realize she was talking about George Clooney in The Perfect Storm (2000). What movie, what a wave. Then Joyce reminded us how sad the movie is at parts when she said “I felt so sorry for those guys.”

 

Finally, Mary popped in with The Wizard of Oz (1939). The scene in which the tornado takes away the town and Dorothy is simply incredible when you think about the level of special effects in those days.

 

So you see, without Mary’s, Barb’s and Joyce’s help I could not have written this week’s column. Thanks for your help, ladies.

 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.