Green Is Wicked: A Visual Analysis Of The Wizard Of Oz

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Green is Wicked: A Visual Analysis of The Wizard of Oz Victor Fleming’s film adaptation of Frank Baum’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, is a visually stunning masterpiece. The magnificent images produced by Technicolor, along with calculated decisions made by Fleming, help bring the Land of Oz to life. More specifically, Fleming’s intentional use of color develops Baum’s original characters in a unique way. The iconic Wicked Witch of the West is a great example of this. Although the Wicked Witch of the West is described as ugly and evil in Baum’s original novel, the use of color in Fleming’s adaptation creates a much different character by utilizing technology, psychology, and dehumanization. Symbols and icons of witches and witchcraft…show more content…
Color is more than light. When it comes to a viewer’s perception, there is a psychological component to color. In other words, “Color tends to be a subconscious element in film. It’s strongly emotional in its appeal, expressive and atmospheric rather than intellectual” (Giannetti 25). Giannetti goes on to explain that objects in film are actively interpreted, however color is accepted passively and evokes mood or emotion. This is true for all colors in film, not just the green skin of the Wicked Witch of the West, and this suggests that the witch’s black hat and cloak are just as important in developing the character. Indeed, it is hard to imagine the Wicked Witch wearing any other…show more content…
3. Dorothy and her friends point at Flying Monkeys coming to capture them, The Wizard of Oz According to Figure 3, It is clear that as Dorothy and the gang approach the castle, the vivid colors of Oz start to fade and everything darkens. It is here that the Wicked Witch’s green skin becomes very important. Despite the dark castle and minions, she still appears vivid, demanding attention and remaining interesting. Fleming chose to use dark contrasting colors for the witch’s character, but still needed to display the magic of Technicolor, so again green is a great answer. But there is more at play here than technology and psychology. There is a theme of humanization and dehumanization. As was mentioned earlier, the green skin of the Witch is a “non-human skin colour” (Gibson). This stands out when considering that there are characters such as a Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion that each are not inherently human, but come to life as such. This humanization is important, because it “redefines what a living organism is and, therefore, what a wild organism is” (Barnes and Weber 18). These otherwise inanimate or wild creatures become human like and this contrasts the character of the Wicked Witch. And again, this goes beyond her green skin. Think of the flying monkeys, which are clearly living organisms but they do not speak (or sing and dance for that matter). This is another difference between the novel and the film, because the flying/winged monkeys do speak in Baum’s

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