Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming)–and Lynch

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Q. The spectre of The Wizard of Oz has haunted aspects of your previous films [e.g. Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart]. How do you explain the appearance of The Wizard of Oz in a number of contemporary films, from Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore to Zardoz?

David Lynch: The Wizard of Oz is a film with very great power, and I suppose that Martin Scorsese and John Boorman saw it, like me, during their childhoods and that it made a very strong impression on them. And it’s to be expected that it has stayed with us for the past several years and that we find its echoes in our films for such a long time after. The Wizard of Oz is like a dream and it has immense emotional power.

Q. What exactly is it that you love about The Wizard of Oz?

Lynch: There’s a certain amount of fear in that picture, as well as things to dream about. So it seems truthful in some way.

Q. For many it must have been something to do with the comforting conclusion that “There’s No Place like Home”. Home is seen as the ultimate refuge from all worry and fear -exactly the reverse of the homes in your movies!

Lynch: [Laughs] Right. But the family in The Wizard of Oz weren’t Dorothy’s real parents. So it’s all very strange. It makes you crazy! [Laughs]

-excerpted from David Lynch: Interviews

Margaret Hamilton in publicity still for The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming) (photo by Virgil Apger)

The Wizard of Oz

“I was in a need of money at the time, and my agent called. I said, ‘Yes?’ and he said ‘Maggie, they want you to play a part on the Wizard.’ I said to myself, ‘Oh Boy, The Wizard of Oz! That has been my favorite book since I was four.’ And I asked him what part, and he said ‘The Witch’ and I said ‘The Witch?!’ and he said ‘What else?’”

The Film That Changed My Life

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“Girl leaves drab farm, becomes a fag hag, meets gay lions and men that don’t try to molest her, and meets a witch, kills her. And unfortunately – by a surreal act of shoe fetishism – clicks her shoes together and is back to where she belongs. It has an unhappy ending.”

-John Waters describing the plot of The Wizard of Oz from the book The Film That Changed My Life.