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Dark Side Of Oz, The (1973) * Top Pick *

Hi Kiddies,

It's rather difficult to rate a film when we start off reviewing a movie that doesn't actually exist, so rather than analyzing this like I usually do, let's start with some background.

You all know that The Wizard of Oz is one of those movies that you've either seen, regret not yet having seen or at the very least, know well enough about. It's a modern classic, and it plays on TV all the time around Easter. Without debate it's considered a great movie, one of the American Film Institute's Top 100 (actually it's number 6, right between Lawrence of Arabia, and The Graduate).

Now that we're clear about that, less of you may know that Pink Floyd's 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon was one of the top selling albums ever made, holding the Guinness World Record for being on Billboard Top 200 charts longer than any other album, ever, just over 11 years... straight. Clearly this sound recording has made a name for itself in history.

And now the doozie: Pink Floyd's album, Dark Side of the Moon was made in synchronicity with the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.

What that means is if you queue up the album on continuous repeat while playing the movie, you will clearly be made aware of 10 obviously blatant planned coincidences, or 'synchronicities', not to mention constant commonality in overall themes throughout the film in general, though the band has always denied it.

Over the last few months, I've been planning to see this for myself lately, and what do you know, coincidence and synchronicity heard my cry and my little town's Indy theater decided to have a showing of such a unique experience as you would be remiss to observe.

Here is the most well-known example of the synchronicities present in the film: The song The Great Gig in the Sky begins when the tornado storm scene begins, and ends when that scene ends, followed by Dorothy coming out of the house, greeted by a vivid Technicolour Oz. At that very moment, the song Money begins (much to the cheer and applause of the full-house audience).

I was going to describe another scene when the crowd cheered in amazement and mention two or three other interesting moments where the album is clearly meshed as one in the film, but I think I prefer the thought that you will go out of your way to see this on your own and experience it all yourselves without any more spoilers. To tell more would be like giving away the plot.

For anyone who suspects that this is purely coincidental and believes it to be simply an interesting experience, I say you are, without a doubt, entirely mistaken. Every song in this album and every scene in the movie consistently proves the intent to create a sound recording meant to be watched at the exact same time as this popular family film. It's absolutely amazing.




This was one of the most surprising cinematographic experiences of the year, not to mention of my life, mainly because it's severely sub-culture super-cool while still being popular enough to keep you out of the realm of the geek obscurity closet. The fact that you'll never see this in passing carries with it the significant weight of letting you call yourself a true patron of the Pop culture Arts.

To think that my little local independent theater would go out of it's way to expose this to the world, complete with a full house, popcorn and nice seats, makes it even better. Thank you very much, Bytowne.

In preparation for this post I did my research and discovered two more wonderful secrets. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, as well as Blade Runner, movies that coincidentally I happen to own were also meant to be synched up with Pink Floyd albums, Animals and Wish You Were Here, respectively. I'm very much looking forward to that in the near future.

I think anyone who wants to catch a glimpse of genuine subculture genius should watch this, and if you need any help queuing it up, feel free to leave me a comment, I'll guide you through it.

Now in case anyone asks, if I had to give it a score using my scale, I would keep it at the 90% I originally gave it, with the plot suffering for the enhanced Script and Mood given in the first review.

I hope you all understand that this film, seen in this way, is truly a spectacle to enjoy, and it also reveals an interesting secret from an album enjoyed by so many millions of listeners. How better to expand your artistic horizons than with a good album and a good movie?

| | | | | |

Okay, I'm in. I have a dvd player and a cd player. How do I do this? I've heard about this "coincidence" for years, but didn't look into it, figuring it was filed in the X drawer with bigfoot, aliens and the staged lunar landing. I've always enjoyed Pink Floyd and look forward to this unique experience. I also LOVE The Good, The Bad and The Ugly as well as Bladerunner and would like to view them as well. If there is some technical trick to getting them synched, please let me know.

Good to see you back draftsman69!

I don't mean to break it to you, but I think you can just up and download the actual properly synched edit in this day and age.

Alternately, if you really weant to kick it old school, when the MGM lion roars twice then begins to fade, that's when you hit play on repeat on the CD. (again I'm not 100% sure, I could be off. - you'll know by 'Money' because the synch is perfect with the door opening to full colour.

As for The Good The Bad and the Ugly and Bladerunner, I suspect those may be myths, but  I'd sure like to find out too.

Hi Squish! I like your site a lot and enjoy your reviews fully. Having said this, I think, just this time... you are definitely wrong! Members of the band and sound technicians have systematically denied the intentionality of the synchronicity effect, which in fact can be explained by apophenia and mere statistics (something like The Bible Code of M. Drosnin), and moreover have stated plausible evidence that they couldn't do that on purpose at that date. What "dark intentions" could they have to actually accomplish that "supa-cool" thing and deny it forever after? It makes no sense: they should be proud and laughing. None of this means that the encountered serendipity cannot be great. You can do this kind of thing with random films and albums, and get cool results from time to time. I may recommend the reading of the Wikipedia page "Dark Side of the Rainbow" to see the commentaries of Pink Floyd and Alan Parsons downplaying all this, and to get more good examples of 'sync' (yeah, now it is a whole phenomena :D; what about The Black Matrix, by Metallica? I'd really like to watch it!). Regards, Jose Brox

JoseBrox, I'm sorry, but it is you who are "definitely wrong."  Your arguments against this sync are common but off base.  

**  The fact that the band denies it proves nothing.  They could have several reasons -- there could be legal or copyright issues related to the use of the movie, or maybe none of the bands that do this (Alan Parsons, Pink Floyd, Radiohead, even the Beatles allegedly) wants to be the first to be "caught" giving away their little secret.   ...?   

**  "They couldn't do that on purpose at that date."  Another common claim by non-believers.  The easiest and most definite rebuttal is to point out that people have been writing music to movies (aka "scores") since the beginning of moving pictures - even before "talkies."  So the technology was surely there by the 1960's and '70's.    

** The "apophenia" and "statistics" reasons don't hold water either.  "Play enough albums with enough movies and you'll eventually find a match" one of these arguments usually goes.  Under this scenario, what are the chances that the album that finally matches The Wizard of Oz just happens to have cover artwork that is half black and white, half color?  (The artwork is meant to signify the black and white-to-color change that takes place in the movie -- a change that coincides exactly with the end of the first side of the album.)  As for the "syncs," or musical and lyrical matches, they do not happen simply "from time to time."  Statistically speaking, the number of obvious, measureable syncs throughout this film is so astounding that I think a true statistical analysis would only work in favor of the "intent" argument.  Further, I'd think that the large number of the same exact syncs noticed independently and without suggestion by so many people could only lessen the case for apophenia as the cause of this craze... but I'm no psychologist.   

I just think that "some drugged-up, but talented musicians decided to have some fun while looking for inspiration for their music" seems a much more plausible explanation all around. 

And Squish, as to the other syncs --

Yes, Animals with The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  Wish You Were Here with It's a Wonderful Life (Bladerunner came out 7 years after Wish, so if there is any intended sync, it would have to be on the part of the filmmakers -- I don't buy it, but who knows?).  In both of the above cases, you start the albums at the very beginning of the movies and let them repeat.  You'll notice mood changes, song lengths and lyrics that all coincide with scenes in the movies.  There are other movie/album syncs -- just find lists on the internet and try them out for yourself.

Thanks so much! I will certainly check out the Animals album with my Good/Bad/Ugly. Fantastic!

Hope you give it a try!  Just to clarify, be sure to use the original theatrical version, not the more recent extended version that is available.  Start the CD after the UA logo fades right as the red and white images of the credits come on screen.  Just like with Oz, you might not see much at the very beginning.  Some parts of album will match up better the 2nd or 3rd times through.  Some specifics to look for -- the playful guitar as Angel Eyes talks/laughs with the old bedridden man followed by more dramatic music as he shoots through the pillow; the 5 or so sharp guitar notes right after the "looked over Jordan" lyrics in Sheeps coincide with Tuco splashing himself in from the horse trough; after some softer music, the strong guitar and drum notes kick in exactly as Shorty is hung; the long dreary keyboard section in the middle of Dogs (after the "dragged down by the stone" lyrics) starts and finishes with Blondie's trek through the desert; "who was broken by trained personnel, who was fitted with collar and chain" lyrics after Tuco was beaten and then shackled and put on the train.  I'm sure you'll notice other musical, thematic and lyrical similarities.  If you're a fan of both works, you'll enjoy the experience either way. 

Thanks so much Tommytown! I'll surely review it when it happens!

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