I was wrapping up a spectacular movie-filled weekend with my adorable niece and her first viewing of The Wizard of Oz when I noticed something. There are two very clever resemblances between The Wizard of Oz (1939) and True Grit (2010). It involves the women of the film.
True Grit starts with white letters on a black screen that read:
“The wicked flee when none pursueth.” Which is actually Proverbs 28:1.
Young Mattie Ross and Dorothy Gale
Both actresses and the characters they play are young teenage girls. Judy Garland, who plays a young teenaged Dorothy, was sixteen during filming of The Wizard of Oz. Hailee Steinfeld, who plays a young Mattie Ross of 14 years, was 13 during the filming of True Grit.
Mattie Ross is from Arkansas. Dorothy is from Kansas. Both make it clear in the film where there home is and their desire to go back.
The costumes and styling of both actresses are strikingly similar. Both girls have a middle part in their hair and pigtails going down either side of their faces that sit atop their shoulders. Both are wearing dresses with distinct collars and prominent shoulders. Both girls have pleated, lengthy skirts.
Both Mattie and Dorothy set off alone on a journey. They both take on huge amount of responsibility and endure many hardships on their adventure. Both characters make friends along the way. Both encounter danger, death and come close to dying, themselves. Both girls are independent. Both are hopeful. Both girls are strong-willed, immovable and determined to finish what they started. Both girls end up back home when their journey is through.
40 Year Old Mattie Ross and Almira Gulch
Then I couldn’t help but notice the striking resemblance between the mean Miss Almira Gulch in The Wizard of Oz, played by Margaret Hamilton and the 40 year-old, one-armed Mattie Ross in True Grit, played by Elizabeth Marvel (which happens to be the same last name of the Professor that is the Wizard of Oz).
Both actresses play middle-aged-ish women. Margaret Hamilton was 37 during filming of The Wizard of Oz. Elizabeth Marvel was 41 during the filming of True Grit. Both are old spinsters.
Both women wear lengthy grey-toned dresses with a very distinctive button line from the midrift buttoned all the way up to the neck. Both have a distinct, tight collar and prominent shoulders. Both women wear an old-maid, straight-brimmed hat.
Both women are carrying something in these pictures; Mattie a suitcase and Miss Gulch a basket. Mattie has only half of one arm. Miss Gulch looks as if she has only half of one arm the way she is holding the basket in the picture below.
Both women are old maids. Both are forlorn. Both women are tight-jawed and straight-lipped. Both are no-nonsense and outspoken. Both arrived on the scene for a single purpose. Both women are alternate versions of someone else. Both are projections, be it actual or surreal.