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May 29, 2012

Flowers in the Arts

The Magic of Flowers in the Movies

May 29, 2012

“Poppies. Poppies will put them to sleep,” the Wicked Witch of the West cackles in The Wizard of Oz. And put them to sleep the poppies certainly did. But how did the filmmakers put that field of poppies on the screen? Did they plant thousands of poppies in a field? Well, no. They made artificial poppies by the zillions and found a way to wire them to the stage floor, where Dorothy and the Cowardly Lion fell—uncomfortably, one imagines—to sleep among them.

No one would ever mistake Audrey II in Little Shop of Horrors for a real flower. Audrey is, in its way, emblematic of the flowers in films, made of silk or plastic (plus, in Audrey’s case, foam and a lot of attitude). The topiary shrubberies in Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland are equally unreal, and no one would expect them to be any different, any more than you’d expect the singing flowers in the Disney Alice to be real.
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