Thursday, September 14, 2006

Recycling Center

Here's something I wrote for a publication that died before this was published. Ah, the glamorous life of a writer! Unless the search engines have steered me wrong (and it's quite possible they have), I don't think I've posted it here before. Enjoy.


Today’s DVDs are often packed to the gills with commentaries and production information, but who other than unemployed Film Comment subscribers have the time to wade through all that crap? Instead, save your time, and let us do it for you. We’ll check out a new release, listen to all the commentaries (even the one that’s just the gaffers, insect wranglers, and stunt butts), view the documentaries, and boil the information down to only the most interesting tidbits.

This week’s DVD release: The Wizard of Oz: 3-Disc Collector’s Edition

Commentary Nuggets:
  • The Flying Monkey effects were created by taking real monkeys, and forcing them to swallow whole snow owls.
  • Only one of the Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, and Tin Man is actually gay. See if you can guess which one!
  • If you watch carefully, you’ll notice this continuity gaffe: at different times during the movie, Dorothy’s hair appears to be three different lengths. This is because Judy Garland is a witch, and was born without a soul.
  • The "tornado" was actually a big stocking, photographed in front of miniatures of a Kansas farm. Does that turn you on?
  • Although “The Wizard of Oz” synchs up beautifully with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon,” it works even better with Paul McCartney’s “Flaming Pie.” However, no-one has ever discovered this, because no-one has ever listened to an entire post-Beatles Paul McCartney album.
  • Frank L. Baum’s original book was an allegory of the 1890’s switch to the gold standard, although, surprisingly, his book “William Jennings Bryan the Fat Pink Dragon” was meant to be read straight.
  • There are rumors that one of the Munchkins hung himself, and can be seen at the beginning of the “We’re Off to See the Wizard” sequence, dangling from a tree. This is an urban legend. What you are actually seeing is INXS frontman Michael Hutchence, who, in addition to being into autoerotic asphyxiation, invented time travel. His was a beautiful mind, and its loss is bitterly felt.
  • Peter Bogdonovich contributes a commentary, because he’ll comment on any damn thing.

Deleted Scenes:
  • The alternate ending where Dorothy stayed in Oz rather than returning to dusbowl Kansas—the studio feared that it would make children unsatisfied with their hard life of bitter struggle, and teach them that it’s okay to reach for their dreams.
  • Home movies of the famous lost “Jitterbug” dance sequence, in which alcohol withdrawal gave Judy Garland such fierce jitters that it seemed like she was dancing
  • The scene at the end where Mrs. Gulch returns to reclaim Toto (who earlier escaped from her bicycle basket), and then takes him to the vet to be put to sleep, was cut because it “seemed to end the movie on a down note.”

Hidden “Easter Egg”:
  • If you type S.U.R.R.E.N.D.E.R. D.O.R.O.T.H.Y. into your DVD player, nothing will happen, you pervert.


Reel Fanatic said...

The Wizard of Oz is probably the movie I've seen more than any other, and easily one of my all-time faves .. and oh yeah, my money's on the tinman as really being light in the loafers

Dan McCoy said...

Wow. This is a milestone in many ways-- (1.) I believe this is the first comment from someone I don't actually know personally, and (2.) It's from someone who runs a blog that's actually popular. Can world domination be far behind?