Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man

Atlanta’s Whitestone Motion Pictures presents Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man, a gorgeous, live-action exploration of the tragic (and oft-forgotten) love story behind one of L. Frank Baum’s most popular characters. The film, a dark, visually stunning steampunk fairytale, was written and directed by Brandon McCormick and co-written by Charlie Wetzel, who provide a truly original take on seemingly familiar material; as the tagline says, “Here is a story you think you know, but do not.”

Check out the film’s website for more information, making-of featurettes, and the full soundtrack. While we’re on the topic, I would be utterly remiss if I didn’t mention Brooklyn director Ray Tintori’s Death to the Tinman, which premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival (and picked up an honorable mention for short filmmaking). Even more surreal, but no less beautiful, Tintori’s film offers a completely different, quirky, highly-stylized take on the Tinman’s doomed love.

I wonder about the significance of having not one, but two short films focus on the Tinman in the last few years—The Wizard of Oz never goes out of style, but why is this particular character’s story suddenly so appealing? Between these films and the current Iron Man mania—and even the excitement over the newly restored Metropolis—it’s hard not to question our current cultural preoccupation with the melding of human and machine…

Is it simply an overarching sign of the times, perhaps? A metaphor for the human condition in the face of ever-advancing technological progress? Or is just because there hasn’t been a decent Terminator movie in awhile, and we desperately need something to fill the hulking, Schwarzenegger-sized gap in our collective unconscious? Whatever the reason, it seems that the Yellow Brick Road is suddenly taking a curious detour through the uncanny valley…I wonder if the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion are feeling left out?

Bridget McGovern is a lit nerd, a film geek, and a complete pop culture junkie. She enjoys Zardoz, roller coasters, and welcoming our new robot overlords more than anyone probably should.


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