Sunday, December 7, 2014

With a Little Help from My Friends...

This card corresponds to the Four of Wands in a Tarot deck. 

The base image is from a piece of original John R. Neill artwork, which accounts for the richness and detail. And Tik-Tok is correctly colored for a change! It depicts a scene from Ozma of Oz in which Dorothy and Billina, the talking hen, encounter a frozen Tik-Tok for the first time. 

It's one of the many scenes straight out of the books that was beautifully realized by Walter Murch in his movie Return to Oz. If you haven't seen it, I heartily recommend it. It is disliked only by those people who don't understand it or its origins, or by people whose only experience with Oz is in the MGM musical of 1939. It's been accused of being "too scary for kids," but this is unfair to both the film and to children, who are more resilient than grown-ups give them credit for. In its early scenes it is indeed scary to grown-ups -- because we understand what's going on and what's about to happen to Dorothy just before Ozma intervenes. Children don't know the details: they just know that Dorothy is in a Bad Situation and may be a little anxious for her to get out of it.

As Harlan Ellison once pointed out, this also underestimates the powerfully scary content of the MGM musical: tell me you weren't frightened the first time you saw Margaret Hamilton summon up those goddamn Flying Monkeys. 

So Nervous Nellies can stay at home. For the rest of us, Return to Oz is a wonderful representation of Oz as L. Frank Baum envisioned it.

-- Freder.