Wizard of Oz (1939) FX

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Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
Just wanted to pay tribute here to the stunning twister sequence, especially the shots of the actors on the farm set with the twister in the background. It looks as plausible as cgi, and it's got me scratching my head as to how they did it. Now, I haven't gone over it or anything, I'm just going on the one viewing of the scene in the context of the movie. What got me was that I could not decide if it was a composite or not, it looked equally like it was all done on set in the one shot with some kind of miniature twister positioned hundreds of feet away at the back of the soundstage. I inclined to this briefly because the sky and clouds have exactly the same feel as the vast painted sky backdrops used at the back of all the other farm set shots. Could've been wrong, but that's not really the point. What's glorious is that I was stumped by an FX shot from 1939...
 

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the_batdemon

Sr Member
Check out some of the books on the movie. The "miniature twister" was over 10 feet tall, 30 I believe, and basically a silk wind sock. These shots were composites. Really great FX work in that movie.
 

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Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Yeah for the time the effects were amazing.

Still hold up to this day.

Ya gotta love old-school effects!!
 

OldKen

Master Member
Yeah for the time the effects were amazing.

Still hold up to this day.

Ya gotta love old-school effects!!

There was heart and soul in visual FX all up till the 90's.

Now it's copy and paste from a computer.

People gave everything they had to figure out a way to make the ships and space seem "real" compared to anything that had ever been done for Star Wars.

The PT? Copy and paste.

Yes the WOZ effects are still amazing to this day. The stuff that doesn't look "real" still adds to the feel of this dream world she goes to.

Seeing the castle in the background looked almost real... as a kid I felt like... like when you are in a dream and you are trying to get to something but no matter how fast you run it is still off in the background.

Great movie. Needs NOT to be remade.
 

Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
The scene with the poppy field, yeah... so glorious. Some of those shots in that scene, you can see it's all practical, no matte painting even, just a giant soundstage with vast, vast painted backdrops at the back (the technique of TV Star Trek alien planet sets but done with a hell of a lot more money and finesse) but the effect is more hallucinatory than a ton of today's cg landscapes... and I'm not against cg on principle at all... I dunno, it's weird. When The Phantom Menace came out I really dug the cg landscapes but now, I find myself being bored by similar stuff in new movies (Avatar, John Carter etc.) but at the same time getting all excited by these here WOZ shots...
 

Apollo

Legendary Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Now I got to pop it into the blu-ray player in a few, I'm off to see the wizard thanks to this thread!! :lol
 

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slave1pilot

Sr Member
The scene with the poppy field, yeah... so glorious. Some of those shots in that scene, you can see it's all practical, no matte painting even, just a giant soundstage with vast, vast painted backdrops at the back .
IIRC
That soundstage is currentlly used for Deal or no Deal.
We got a little tour of it when we did the Star Wars DOND episode.
The munchkins were a handful say the studio people
 

Vermithrax 4

Well-Known Member
From what I understood about how the twister was done it was a long tube of nylon that was shifted and moved at the bottom and Fuller's Earth was blown down through it from the top so that the dust cloud billowed up from an opening at the base of it. That was filmed in miniature and that footage was rear-screen projected behind the actors on the studio farm set so that it was playing in the background and filmed in real-time. That's how I remember either hearing or reading about it...but that could be inaccurate. In any case it's a terribly realistic twister effect and I'm still held amazed by it today. Actually, I'm still blown away by Margaret Hamilton's drop through the trapdoor in Munchkinland amidst all that red smoke and INCREDIBLE ball of fire!!! I know she got burned during that sequence but DAMN, it's still impressive as hell.
 

Colin Droidmilk

Sr Member
Love the Wizard of Oz

if you dont have the book handy, you might want to check out this site...goes into detail how they made it....

The Wizard of Oz Tornado
Thanks. Had a read. Another thing that had got me stumped was the fuzzy blurred outline of the twister column, which thanks to you I learn was caused by the Fuller's earth emerging from the pores of the muslin sock while being blasted up inside it:

"The muslin was sufficiently porous that some of the dirt sifted through giving a blur or softness to the material. This also kept the sides of the tornado fuzzy, so that it didn't look like a hard surface."
 

GlazyUK

Active Member
I read in an interview with Richard Edlund many years ago that besides Fuller's Earth in the twister he'd heard they'd been using Asbestos !! :eek
 

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