One of the Best Fantasy Movies Ever
5 Stars for the movie itself, but only about 2 stars with the alternate soundtrack (read on...) The Wizard of Oz / The Dark Side of the Moon soundtrack In honor of the Wizard of Oz's 70th Anniversary, I decided to rewatch it.
However, instead of reviewing a film we've all seen 25 or more times, I decided to investigate the myth surrounding the synchronicity of this film to the 1973 Pink Floyd album, The Dark Side of the Moon. The phenomenon sometimes referred to as "The Dark Side of the Rainbow".
To begin with, I checked all the 'net sources I could find – most were in agreement, that proper synchronicity is achieved by starting the Pink Floyd disc as soon as the MGM lion roars for the 3rd time. So, with a big bowl of popcorn in one hand, and a Dunkelweizen in the other, I prepared for a psychedelic experience to outdo the finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey or the first I ever heard "Interstellar Overdrive" (hey, now there's an idea for a pairing).
Sadly, I have to say that it did not blow my mind. Twenty years of rumors, and this is what I get? To be fair, I was not under the influence of any unusual substances – O.K., a couple beers, but I do everything under the influence of a couple beers. I suppose that those who do enough of the right drugs can probably find connections in any DVD/CD pairing (Dude, Britney is totally singing the soundtrack to Shindler's List on her debut album!!!) .
I will concede that there are quite a few points of synchronicity between the two. They do in fact complement each other – to an extent. But the band members have repeatedly denied any intentional connections between the two, and I for one believe them. What then accounts for this seeming synchronicity? I believe I have an answer for that.
To begin with, both deal heavily with Freudian aspects of the psyche. That has been a hallmark of Pink Floyd's music from the beginning. Even after demented genius Syd Barrett was institutionalized, the remaining members of Pink Floyd were keenly aware that Barrett's introspective lyrics were a key element of the band's appeal.
L. Frank Baum, for his part wrote The Wonderful Wizard of Oz to be a modern update of age-old fairy tales deeply rooted in the human psyche, and the characters themselves are concerned with primary desires of the id – home (shelter) for Dorothy, courage for the lion, etc. This Freudian connection was deepened by the filmmakers who took an Oz as dream approach, both in dreamlike experiences in Oz (the poppy field for example) as well as the entrance and exit of Dorothy passing out on a bed ("It was all a dream).
Second of all, The Wizard of Oz is, let's not forget, a musical. One doesn't need to have more brains than the Scarecrow to figure out that a film based around music is likely to sync up pretty well with another piece of music. And so it does; many of the alleged match up points are song and dance routines. While Dark Side is a great match, I wouldn't be surprised if a pairing with, say, Sgt. Peppers wouldn't provide an equally interesting result.
While we're on the subject of myths, I also looked for the other big Wizard of Oz urban legend – the hanged man. Allegedly a member of the cast or crew who committed suicide can be seen in one of the scenes along the Yellow Brick Road. Maybe it would be different if I saw it on the big screen, but all I saw at the appointed scene was an amorphous shape in the deep background that could have been… well… literally anything! In conclusion I'd say that what this exercise did yield for me was a great bit of nostalgia. It reaffirmed in my mind that both of these two artworks are masterpieces, and deserve undivided attention. I couldn't help but wish I were fully focused on enjoying one or the other.