The Wizard of Oz (1939)
|Writers:||Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, Edgar Allan Woolf, L. Frank Baum, Irving Brecher, William H. Cannon, Herbert Fields, Arthur Freed, Jack Haley, E.Y. Harburg, Samuel Hoffenstein|
|Released:||Tuesday, August 15, 1939|
|Rating:||General audiences. All ages admitted.|
Dissatisfied with her life on her Auntie Em's (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry's (Grapewin) Kansas farm, Dorothy Gale (Garland) is attempting to run away when a twister strikes; Dorothy is knocked unconscious and, more amazingly, her entire house (with Dorothy and Toto inside) is lifted up into the funnel cloud and deposited squarely on top of the now-deceased Wicked Witch of the East in Munchkin City, in the County of the Land of Oz.
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The Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary Edition 3D Blu-ray Review
Everyone probably knows the story of The Wizard of Oz so I will just give you a quick synopsis. Dorothy (Judy Garland) comes home to her Auntie Em (Clara Blandick) upset that her dog Toto has bitten the busybody Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton). Shortly thereafter, Miss Gulch shows up with a warrant to take Toto to be put down for his deed. Upset, Dorothy pleads with Auntie Em, but she cannot disobey the order from the sheriff. Miss Gulch takes Toto and rides off on her bicycle.
Distraught, Dorothy lies in her room crying, but she gets a surprise as Toto has escaped and returned to her. In fear that the mean Miss Gulch with return to get Toto she runs off. When a cyclone comes Dorothy returns home as the house gets transported to the Land of Oz So begins her adventure down the yellow brick road of trying to get back home, as there's "no place like home".
The fun of the film in 3D comes from the old sepia tone that starts it out and then turns into a vivid masterpiece of color and depth of field where you can almost reach into the 3D TV and pet Toto or help Dorothy against the wicked witch. The clarity and resolution with this newly restored and upgraded version offers a brilliant presentation of the movie that has lasted the 75 years since its first theatrical showing. It actually may be even better in 3D, but some may think differently because some people like their classics unhindered.
The Blu-ray disc for those who are seeing it that way for the first time is bright, clean and free from the imperfections that came out on the DVD that was released in 2005. But, even that release was much better than earlier ones. While there's not much difference than the 2009 Blu-ray release, if you didn't acquire that one, the 3D combo pack is the best way to go, especially if you are building a 3D library. My prediction is that the cost of the TV's will dip, the glasses will be made more economical and the 3D Blu-ray players may even be built into the TV in the not too distant future.
The Blu-ray included in the combo pack has all the hours of bonus features that were included in the 2009 release plus a new one hour long making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
New one on the Blu-ray Disc
"The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" goes into the origins of the film from the book, the music, how the film was produced, the writing of the script, controversy of the casting of Judy Garland over Shirley Temple, the controversy of almost cutting "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" out of the film, and much more.
The following are the returning features that are on the Blu-ray Disc:
"Commentary" cast members; producers and director Victor Fleming along with heirs of the cast are included.
"We Haven't Really Met Properly" features the main characters and how they got their parts. This is probably the best of the extras beyond the ‘making of'.
"Music and Effects Track"
"Original Mono Track"
"Sing-a-Long" features the songs from the film with their video clip and the words below to join in.
"Audio Jukebox" the complete musical soundtrack
"Leo is on the Air Radio Promo"
"Good News of 1939 Radio Show"
1950 Christmas Day "Lux Radio Theater Broadcast"
"Stills Gallery" includes costume design, portraits of Judy Garland, Special Effects, Deleted Scenes in Stills, World Premiere photos at the Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, and more.
"Trailers" the old trailers from several different release dates including the recent 3D theatrical release this year.
The video quality of the 3D aforementioned combined with the DTS Master Audio 5.1 gives an excellent presentation played on the 3D system. Although there may be differences in the 3D TV makers' equipment, most new systems over the past couple of years should provide a very good experience. If you have an upgraded sound system, then ramp it up for the cyclone sequence and of course the wonderful songs in the movie.
While The Wizard of Oz has been rated G since the rating system came into effect, the 3D version has been upgraded to a PG for the realism especially during the scary witch scenes. If your littlest ones have been watching Nickelodeon or some of the more testy cartoons on the Disney Channel it shouldn't be much of a problem. Test the 3D effects first if you have any doubts. The film is also available in 3D only, Blu-ray only and other formats.
FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good movie with a great opportunity for 3D viewers. (A)
-- John Delia
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The Wizard of Oz images © MGM Studios. All Rights Reserved.