I’ll See You on the Dark Side of the Rainbow
It was some time in the 90s when I heard about this. The Dark Side of the Rainbow. It’s watching the Wizard of Oz with the sound all the way down and listening to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon album at the same time. The idea is that the music is supposed to go with the flow of the movie. Obviously both the movie and the album were produced independently of each other, so how is it possible that they flow together so well. Or do they? Is it just that we’re hearing what we want to hear and seeing what we want to see, or does it actually work?
Pink Floyd swears that they did not write the album to coincide with the movie. And a quick google dive has revealed to me that the synchronicity between listening to Dark Side of the Moon while watching Wizard of Oz is either complete bullshit, or its completely legit depending on whose article you read. I watched this video on YouTube and found it completely fascinating. The producer of this video watched 6 different movies: Wizard of Oz, Paul Blart Mall Cop 2, Godfather, Avengers, The Shining, and Shrek to see how they all match up to the Pink Floyd album. He devised a point system and then created something he calls the Floyd Quotient to determine which movie has the most synchronicity to the album—or highest Floyd Quotient. (Though I have to admit I do LOVE the concept of “Blart Side of the Mall.”)
So we watched Dark Side of the Rainbow a few weeks ago. Neither of us had ever seen it before and decided to see if it was worth the hype we witnessed back in the 90s. Traditionally you’d start the album on the 3rd roar of the MGM lion just before the opening credits of the movie, we found it already done for us on YouTube so we watched that instead of trying to sync up a movie and the album. I also want to know who determined that you have to start the album on the 3rd roar. How many times did they watch it when they started it on the first roar or the second one? Nope, has to be the 3rd roar.
As we watched I looked at Todd’s reactions. There were definitely moments during which the music perfectly lined up to what was happening in the movie. The way the cast skipped down the yellow brick road matched up to the beat of the music perfectly. There was a moment where three owls on a tree branch opened their eyes in perfect sync to a piano part. The alarm bells went off when the mean old lady came to take Toto away in the beginning. At the end when Dorothy wakes up in her bed in the farmhouse in Kansas in black and white, Pink Floyd sings “Home. Home again…” Several times during the movie we jumped out of our seats when some awesome and unanticipated connection occurred. Like the part where the tin man is explaining he wants to have a heart and all you can hear is the heartbeat from the album? Super cool!
But of course after reading up on this phenomenon on the internet it made me wonder if we were just looking for those moments where the music synced with the action on the movie. And would this happen with any other movie? The guy in the video I referenced above claims that The Shining actually had the best Floyd Quotient of all the 6 movies he included in his experiment.
But you know what? After having watched Dark Side of the Rainbow I remain convinced that this is a gorgeous coincidence and well worth the watch. If you can’t be bothered to wait until the precise moment when the lion roars the third time, you can watch it here on YouTube.
added on 11.15.22