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In the 2014 film Into the Woods, Rapunzel's hair did not work because the Witch had already touched it (presumably during her imprisonment/upbringing in the tower).

I heard something about "But I compared it to corn" and I assume they found some other hair on the corn but why should this hair work and not the hair the Baker's Wife had cut? Furthermore, how could the Witch not have known that her own "daughter's" hair was the ingredient she needed?

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The exact hair ingredient they needed was "the hair as yellow as corn", which is why they compared Rapunzel's hair to the corn.

The ingredients they keep chanting throughout the movie/musical:

The cow as white as milk.
The cape as red as blood.
The hair as yellow as corn.
The slipper as pure as gold.

Why did the other hair work? It was corn silk. If you have ever had to remove the husk from an ear of corn, you'll notice there is a layer of golden-yellow to white hair-like fibers between the husk and the corn. This is known as corn silk.
corn silk
Since it is a part of the corn, it's just as yellow as corn.

As to why the witch never realized Rapunzel's hair was the ingredient, " hair as yellow as corn" is essentially a type of blonde. Surely there was more than one blonde in the entire kingdom. Also when it's something you see every day, you tend not to notice the possible importance.

  • Yeah, I'd argue that the four ingredients could have been any instance of that item anywhere in the world it just happened that the Baker and his Wife ran into those specific ones while in the woods. – Catija Feb 9 '15 at 15:08
  • Honestly, we don't know that the Witch didn't realize that Rapunzel's hair was appropriate... but she can't very well not touch her... She'd had her since she was an infant and (presumably) didn't have hair. – Catija Feb 9 '15 at 15:12
  • @Catija Agreed. Good point there. – Trish Ling Feb 9 '15 at 15:15

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