Ingrid Bergman does battle in Joan of Arc (1948, dir. Victor Fleming). Photo by Loomis Dean for LIFE.
Margaret Hamilton & Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming)
“I suppose I’ve turned down a fortune [by refusing countless offers to re-create the role], but I just don’t want to spoil the magic. Little children’s minds can’t cope with seeing a mean witch alive again. Many times, I see mothers and little children and the mothers always recognize me as the witch. Often, they say to the kids, ‘Don’t you know who she is? She’s the witch in The Wizard of Oz! Then the kids look worried and say, ‘But I thought she melted.’ It’s as though they think maybe I’m going to go back and cause trouble for Dorothy again.”
-Margaret Hamilton, The Washington Post (1973)
Judy Garland in The Wizard of Oz (1939, dir. Victor Fleming)
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)
“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?’”