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Re: [mythsoc] Oz

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  • Ernest Tomlinson
    ... From: Jason M. Abels To: Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 2:01 PM Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Oz ... (combining
    Message 1 of 11 , Mar 3, 2003
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      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Jason M. Abels" <jason@...>
      To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 2:01 PM
      Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Oz


      > > Oh my favorite part of Oz was that talking flying couch and look what
      > > happened to IT.....
      >
      > You're thinking of Return to Oz, which as an even worse adaptation
      (combining
      > two books together) and a better movie because it retains the darkness of
      the
      > original book, and, of course, dorothy is cast correctly.

      I was wondering if anyone here had seen _Return to Oz_. I haven't, but I
      have heard from Dale, who has, that it is competent but creepy.

      Unlike almost everyone here, I'll wager, I didn't read any of Baum's books
      until a year or two after I saw _The Wizard of Oz_ for the first time. I
      was late coming to that film as well--I saw it first in 1998--but I took to
      the film almost immediately. Aside from being, with _A Star is Born_, the
      quintessential Judy Garland movie, it has some wonderful songs, a talented
      cast of Hollywood character actors, Ray Bolger especially (see also _The
      Harvey Girls_, another musical and another Judy Garland film), and as any
      Pink Floyd fan knows, the curious quality of accompanying _The Dark Side of
      the Moon_ perfectly.

      I shouldn't like the "it was all a dream" gimmick. Did not Tolkien, in his
      essay on fairy-stories, call this sort of thing putting a good picture in a
      bad frame? Yet I think it works in _The Wizard of Oz_.

      I didn't entirely care for Baum's book, when I finally got to it, although I
      did read a few more. There is a disquieting quality to Baum's writing
      (although not nearly as depraved as Roald Dahl's.) I remember particularly
      the scenes in the sequel where the "Wizard" reappears (can't remember the
      title of the book, I fear), and gets into trouble with a group of vegetable
      people. In a scene both amusing and creepy, he fights a vegetable sorcerer
      by producing pieces of metal, joining them together to form a sword, and
      with one stroke slicing the sorcerer in half. I was also disappointed how
      lame were the Wizard's gifts to Dorothy and her companions in his first Oz
      book, e.g. giving the Scarecrow a "bran-new [sic] brain". The movie is much
      cleverer.

      One former friend of mine, an older woman, appreciated the Oz film but
      thought it conveyed a bad message, especially about the role of women.
      Dorothy takes no direct action in the film; almost everything she does she
      does by accident--"I was just trying to help!" she says a lot. Meanwhile
      we're encouraged into sympathy for the Wizard ("I'm a very good man, just a
      bad wizard") even though, in both Oz and Kansas, he's a liar and a phony.

      Cheers,

      Ernest.
    • David S. Bratman
      ... I will merely say that a person who prefers the MGM movie to Baum s book will not get the baleful stare from me that a person who prefers Jackson s films
      Message 2 of 11 , Mar 3, 2003
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        At 02:57 PM 3/3/2003 , Ernest wrote:

        >I didn't entirely care for Baum's book, when I finally got to it, although I
        >did read a few more. There is a disquieting quality to Baum's writing
        >(although not nearly as depraved as Roald Dahl's.)

        I will merely say that a person who prefers the MGM movie to Baum's book
        will not get the baleful stare from me that a person who prefers Jackson's
        films to Tolkien's book would.

        - David Bratman
      • Ernest Tomlinson
        ... From: David S. Bratman To: Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 3:16 PM Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Oz ... In some
        Message 3 of 11 , Mar 3, 2003
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          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "David S. Bratman" <dbratman@...>
          To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Monday, March 03, 2003 3:16 PM
          Subject: Re: [mythsoc] Oz


          > I will merely say that a person who prefers the MGM movie to Baum's book
          > will not get the baleful stare from me that a person who prefers Jackson's
          > films to Tolkien's book would.

          In some alternate universe there is an Ernest Tomlinson who was born in
          1988, fell in love with Peter Jackson's movies and watched them again and
          again, and didn't read _The Lord of the Rings_ until 2005. There he is, but
          I haven't the slightest idea what to make of him.

          Ernest.
        • David S. Bratman
          ... If he s like the Ernest I think I m getting to know through this list, he reads the book in 2005 and says, Wow, this is even better than the movies!
          Message 4 of 11 , Mar 3, 2003
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            At 03:50 PM 3/3/2003 , Ernest wrote:

            >In some alternate universe there is an Ernest Tomlinson who was born in
            >1988, fell in love with Peter Jackson's movies and watched them again and
            >again, and didn't read _The Lord of the Rings_ until 2005. There he is, but
            >I haven't the slightest idea what to make of him.

            If he's like the Ernest I think I'm getting to know through this list, he
            reads the book in 2005 and says, "Wow, this is even better than the
            movies!" Then he re-reads it and says, "You know, it's MUCH better than
            the movies."

            The alternate David Bratman who hadn't read LOTR would probably not have
            gone to see the Jackson films at all. He wouldn't think they would
            interest him.* If someone dragged him anyway, he'd enjoy himself and then
            either forget about it entirely, until one day he picked up the book out of
            curiosity and be even more amazed than the alternate Ernest. He'd think,
            "Why didn't someone tell me about Tolkien years ago?"

            - DB

            *The number of bad-to-mediocre sf and fantasy films that the real David
            Bratman has seen only because he considers himself a science-fiction and
            fantasy fan is depressingly large. Mind you, he's enjoyed many of them,
            but even knowing that ahead of time would not have sent him to them if he
            hadn't been going with friends. He almost didn't go to "Star Wars" at all
            when it premiered, and had to be dragged there; his reaction on emerging
            was "not bad". The number of sf/fantasy films he's seen that he actually
            thought were good outnumbers the bad-to-mediocre ones only if you count
            every episode of "The Prisoner" and "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" individually.
          • Stolzi@aol.com
            In a message dated 3/3/2003 6:26:58 PM Central Standard Time, ... how sure are you that you re real? Diamond Proudbrook [Non-text portions of this message have
            Message 5 of 11 , Mar 3, 2003
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              In a message dated 3/3/2003 6:26:58 PM Central Standard Time,
              dbratman@... writes:


              > the real David
              > Bratman

              how sure are you that you're real?


              Diamond Proudbrook



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Berni Phillips
              From: ... He s real because he s loved! -- The Velveteen Wife
              Message 6 of 11 , Mar 3, 2003
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                From: <Stolzi@...>

                > dbratman@... writes:
                >

                > > the real David
                > > Bratman
                >
                > how sure are you that you're real?

                He's real because he's loved!

                -- The Velveteen Wife
              • Jason M. Abels
                ... Not so uncommon. Most kids seem to pass over them these days, and see Wizard of Oz at a very young age. I am quite alone among all the people I know in
                Message 7 of 11 , Mar 4, 2003
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                  > Unlike almost everyone here, I'll wager, I didn't read any of Baum's books
                  > until a year or two after I saw _The Wizard of Oz_ for the first time.

                  Not so uncommon. Most kids seem to pass over them these days, and see Wizard of
                  Oz at a very young age. I am quite alone among all the people I know in having
                  read *all* of the Baum books before I saw the movie (I avoided the movie until I
                  was almost 12 because what I knew of it did not make me hopeful)

                  > I shouldn't like the "it was all a dream" gimmick. Did not Tolkien, in his
                  > essay on fairy-stories, call this sort of thing putting a good picture in a
                  > bad frame? Yet I think it works in _The Wizard of Oz_.

                  I think it worked for the audience. The movie was, I think, geared up towards
                  older people as well, and they wouldn't have accepted dorothy simply landing
                  outside the farm and running home. I think it was a necessary convention, but an
                  unfortunate one.

                  > There is a disquieting quality to Baum's writing
                  > (although not nearly as depraved as Roald Dahl's.)
                  Which is why it made such a good children's book. There was that undercurrent of
                  darkness and fear that children know so well

                  > I remember particularly
                  > the scenes in the sequel where the "Wizard" reappears (can't remember the
                  > title of the book, I fear), and gets into trouble with a group of vegetable
                  > people.

                  Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz. I love those little boxes that hold... clouds?
                  rain? I don't remember.

                  In a scene both amusing and creepy, he fights a vegetable sorcerer
                  > by producing pieces of metal, joining them together to form a sword, and
                  > with one stroke slicing the sorcerer in half.

                  > I was also disappointed how
                  > lame were the Wizard's gifts to Dorothy and her companions in his first Oz
                  > book, e.g. giving the Scarecrow a "bran-new [sic] brain". The movie is much
                  > cleverer.

                  Actually, the movie is much simpler. In the book, we see throughout the course
                  that, indeed, the scarcrow can reason quite well, the tin woodsman is quite
                  gentle and loving, and the cowardly lion is quite brave (to save his friends).
                  When they finally get to the wizard, he merely gives them objects which reflect
                  what they already have. He does the same in the movie, but I'm not sure why: we
                  don't actually know that these three have these qualities (Obviously, the
                  Scarcrow doesn't know math very well.)

                  There is, of course, the childish sense, especially with the Scarecrow's gift.
                  The "pins and needles" come in handy in later books when he has to think and
                  work out a problem.

                  > One former friend of mine, an older woman, appreciated the Oz film but
                  > thought it conveyed a bad message, especially about the role of women.

                  Some people read too much into things. It's just a movie.

                  > Dorothy takes no direct action in the film; almost everything she does she
                  > does by accident--"I was just trying to help!" she says a lot. Meanwhile
                  > we're encouraged into sympathy for the Wizard ("I'm a very good man, just a
                  > bad wizard") even though, in both Oz and Kansas, he's a liar and a phony.

                  That's the same case in the book. Baum was very much a beiever in good
                  intentions.


                  I've always personally liked The Land of Oz. I boy turning into a girl? How
                  delightfully racy for 1907.

                  --
                  Jason M. Abels
                  "The world is coming down around our ears and you're sticking at a few
                  vampires!" - Ben Mears, _Salem's Lot_
                • Ernest Tomlinson
                  ... From: Jason M. Abels To: Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 6:04 AM Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Oz [I wrote:] ...
                  Message 8 of 11 , Mar 7, 2003
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                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "Jason M. Abels" <jason@...>
                    To: <mythsoc@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Tuesday, March 04, 2003 6:04 AM
                    Subject: RE: [mythsoc] Oz


                    [I wrote:]
                    > > I was also disappointed how
                    > > lame were the Wizard's gifts to Dorothy and her companions in his first
                    Oz
                    > > book, e.g. giving the Scarecrow a "bran-new [sic] brain". The movie is
                    much
                    > > cleverer.
                    >
                    > Actually, the movie is much simpler. In the book, we see throughout the
                    course
                    > that, indeed, the scarcrow can reason quite well, the tin woodsman is
                    quite
                    > gentle and loving, and the cowardly lion is quite brave (to save his
                    friends).
                    > When they finally get to the wizard, he merely gives them objects which
                    reflect
                    > what they already have. He does the same in the movie, but I'm not sure
                    why: we
                    > don't actually know that these three have these qualities (Obviously, the
                    > Scarcrow doesn't know math very well.)

                    Well, isosceles triangles aside (an inexcusable lapse that "The Simpsons"
                    brilliantly lampooned once...ah, I remember when "The Simpsons" were funny,
                    but that was before your time, young whippersnapper), I disagree that the
                    movie fails to show us the Scarecrow's intelligence, the Tin Woodsman's
                    heart, and the Lion's courage. One of the first things that the Scarecrow
                    does is trick the talking trees into giving up some of their apples, and
                    later, he devises the plan that gets the three amigos into the Witch's
                    castle. The Tin Woodsman is _always_ a sentimental fool, weeping at every
                    opportunity. And the Lion, well..."I'll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked
                    Witch or no Wicked Witch. Guards or no guards, I'll tear 'em apart. I may
                    not come out alive, but I'm goin' in there." (He does then ask his friends
                    to talk him out of it, but he goes in anyway.)

                    Ernest.
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