Thursday, August 23, 2012

Villains in Snow White & The Wizard of Oz

When I read the prompt for today "Who is your favorite villain?" I drew a complete blank. I had to go to The 50 Best Movie Villains of All Time and familiarize myself with some villains.

As I looked at the list of 50 movies, I realized that I have seen very few of the ones listed. They aren't movies that I typically would watch or enjoy.

And then came my level of villain: the Queen from Snow White from 1937. That's a villain I wouldn't have nightmares about if I saw her on a big screen.

I remember my dad telling me about seeing Snow White in the movie theater when he was a boy. He would have been 5 years old when the movie came out. It remained one of his favorite movies throughout his life.

     Olivia meeting Snow White at Disneyland. This was one of the highlights for her after she tried to
escape from the ride on Snow White's Scary Adventures. 
    Olivia and I were sitting in the front seat, and were rounding the corner. Who should be there, but an animated version of the Queen.
     She let out a deafening scream, and then quickly turned around and tried to crawl over the moving car so the Queen wouldn't get her (she didn't realize that the Queen wasn't real). It literally took all my strength to hold onto her legs so she wouldn't fall off the ride. 
     We chose less scary rides after that experience.

My personal favorite from the list is definitely the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz. This movie was filmed in 1939. As a side note, apparently the level of wickedness that I can handle is from the 1930s. Anything beyond that must be a bit too disturbing for me. (I learn something new about myself each day.)

The Wizard of Oz is a movie that we would watch as a family when I was growing up. It came on the t.v. about once a year. The Wicked Witch was certainly a character in the movie that frightened me as a child. Her flying monkeys...well, that was another thing...I was petrified of them. The part of the movie where they fly out the castle window was enough to send me under a blanket to hide or leave the room.

Olivia the Witch
Olivia wearing a witch hat.
(Taken on January 31, 2008.)

As an adult and someone who studied theater in college, I have an even greater appreciation for the actress who played the Wicked Witch (Margaret Hamilton). Her acting, make-up, costumes, and sacrifices she made to bring this story to life are inspiring.

The distinctive green color on her face was copper. Copper happens to be an excellent conductive metal, and that's scary for someone to have on their face when there are many scenes with fire.

According to Wikipedia,"Hamilton suffered a second-degree burn on her face and a third-degree burn on her hand during a second take of her fiery exit from Munchkinland, in which the trap door's drop was delayed to eliminate the brief glimpse of it seen in the final edit.

"Hamilton had to recuperate in a hospital and at home for six weeks after the accident before returning to the set to complete her work on the now-classic film, and she refused to have anything to do with fire for the rest of the filming."

Had it not been for quick-thinking people on the set who removed the copper make-up with alcohol (an extremely painful process in itself), her burns could have been much worse. Even after the injury, Margaret Hamilton's makeup was so heavy that, for 16 hours a day, she could eat only through a straw.

Talking and Singing Christmas Trees
Sophia and Olivia by the singing and moving Christmas trees.
They had just watched the "Wizard of Oz" a couple weeks before
going through this holiday exhibit. Even though it was festive,
Olivia had the death-grip on my hand as we walked through the trees.
I think it reminded both the girls of the scene 
with the talking trees in the "Wizard of Oz."

Between the Queen in Snow White and the Wicked Witch of the West in the Wizard of Oz, these characters certainly are my favorite villains...and ones that have a variety of memories associated with them.


What Remains Now said...

What a fun post. I'm working on a post about my favorite villians, inspired by your post.

Rita said...

I had heard that she was burned going through the floor with the fire and smoke. Awful! What a classic movie, though. Along with Snow White! Bambi was scary, too--but it was the fire for me.

Interesting. I never thought about favorite villains. I would probably have to go with the Wicked Witch of The West. ;)