This is a part two of my breakdown in parallels between Spielberg’s films and the great and powerful Wizard of OZ. If you haven’t read part one, do so HERE.
If you are more curious than invested in my theory … if you are disinclined to read my dissection of every movie … or if you would just rather play my favorite game and find the Oz-alikes yourself, read on for a few oft-repeated tricks Steven likes to pull out of his magic hat.
Listen for chimes, bells; anything tinkling, jingling, clanking will foreshadow Steven’s got something important coming up. Prepare yourself, pay attention now. Glinda used a gentle fanfare to make us children sit up and take notice of her arrival and departure. The wicked witch was not nearly so polite. Which is more effective? The suspense or the shock? Or perhaps Steven has figured it out: the pair go hand in hand.
“Run Toto run!” The exhortation to flee never fails to get an audience’s heart pounding. Steven employs it shamelessly.
A sweet, pure voice raised in song denotes an innocent soul, painfully naive to danger, one who requires protection from fellow beings whose experience has taught them the ways of the evil world.
One of this wizard’s most effective tension builders is a bit of quiet before or after chaos. To recognize and appreciate the richness of the moment I recommend you go back to the scene where Dorothy’s house has dropped out of the spinning maelstrom into Munchkinland. She rises from her bed and creeps through the dim, dusty, silent rooms to the front door…
Are there other OZ-like parallels? You bet! Read about them in my Movies section or find them for yourself. Perhaps you’ll notice ‘imagery homage’ to other famous films as well. I’ve been amused to find Spielberg use a familiar footbridge featured in both Gone with the Wind and Wizard of Oz, or mock Main Street in It’s a Wonderful Life, not to mention making fun of actors, lines, even scenes in his own previous films.