The Wizard of Oz

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Saturday, 16 May 2009

(00:00:30 CDT)

"The Wizard of Oz"

Sarah and I watched the final third of Tin Man tonight. I'd say it was Good. The first part was the weakest of the three, with them definitely hitting their groove better as it went along. I am not one-oh-oh percent on the end, per se, but that is because it had one of those jumbly tons-of-action climaxes that suddenly comes down to what is basically a character realization moment, and then a quick phrase to sum up the show. While that sort of thing can be really satisfying in shorter works, in a four and a half hour miniseries, it comes across as tacked on. It fit, but considering it was crammed into a scene of about fifteen minutes, and that was some portions stretched for time, it just could have used some more meat.

In something of a coincidence, I got The Wizard of Oz (1925, silent) in the mail today. I got the Alpha Video release. Not great music (not bad, though, and better than the average pubdom version of the movie which includes a synth-track and Jacqueline Lovell narration, which strikes me as annoying and unhelpful (likely in it for the kids)). Now, there are a number of things weird about the 1925 version. Dorothy is older and something of a looker. The three "companions" are actually farmhands who dress up. Dorothy is a lost princess of Oz. There is a love triangle plot and a character named Prince Kynd. It is an odd film.

As I have mentioned before (at least to friends in passing, if not on this blog) there is a black character, named Snowball, who is introduced in a scene where he steals watermelon. His skull is so thick that lightning bolts bounce right off of it. With that being said, his characters vapid idiocy and racial minstrelism is not much worse than what happens to the director and writer's own character, the Scarecrow. It is just, well, the black actor (Spencer Bell) is credited with the name "G. Howe Black". How is that for a slice of fried, racist watermelon?

Wow. I know. Wow. What surprised me is how some little things seep from this version into Tin Man. Snowball is often referenced as "replacing Toto". You get the odd choice in Tin Man of Toto being played by a black man. That is kind of silly, though, so it does not count, but DG as a loss princess of Oz, chased by a group of men in flowing coats/capes, and some other things.

In another coincedence, The Wiz was performed tonight in Huntsville.

Heh, anyhow, I am a moderate fan of the Oz continuum, and have been tooling around with my own ideas set in the land of Oz (more or less). I dropped them because of Tin Man, but now that I have watched it, my ideas are different enough to float, but still, most people will be assuming that I am ripping off Tin Man. Dang it.

Si Vales, Valeo


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Written by Doug Bolden

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