Film: 5 out of 5 stars
3D: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 5 out of 5 stars
Perfection! That is what “The Wizard of Oz” is! The film is celebrating its 75th anniversary and it still so relevant and beloved. The twist with this new Blu-ray release is the fact that the film has been converted in 3D. “The Wizard of Oz” is the oldest film to ever be brought into the third dimension. This isn’t no cheap 3D scam either. This 3D conversion a very intense process in which Warner Bros. performed a very high resolution 8k scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative. So I am sure everyone is wondering “How does “The Wizard of Oz” look in 3D?” Well it is absolutely stunning. The depth is so profound and the colors really pop so well. This is a perfect example of 3D conversion done right and with love!
Official Premise: The magic of M-G-M’s wonderfully colorful and unique fantasy has melted hearts for more than seven decades with its indelible melodies and transcendent themes of family, home and the courage to pursue dreams. To celebrate the beloved movie’s 75th anniversary, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has brought The Wizard of Oz into the present and beyond with a brand new kind of magic: a stunning 3D Blu-ray. Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s timeless children’s tale about a Kansas girl’s journey over the rainbow, The Wizard of Oz starred Judy Garland as Dorothy, Ray Bolger as the Scarecrow; Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion; Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman and Margaret Hamilton as the Wicked Witch.
This is not the film’s first go on Blu-ray, since it was released back in 2009. But it still looks absolutely stunning. Is this new 8K transfer better than the 2009 transfer? Yes and no. There are certain things about it like the colors that stand out better for me but it isn’t much different. But like I said it is stunning nonetheless. The 2009 Blu-ray was equipped with a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 surround track. This new release comes with a brand new DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track. It still sounds amazing for a film that was made 75 years ago and delivers the lines and songs that we know and love so well. This 75th Anniversary Edition comes with a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + UltraViolet. So there is a little bit for everyone, just in case you don’t own a 3D TV (to be honest this would be a reason to get one for sure).
So you would thing that Warner Bros. did enough with this film converting it to 3D in a painstaking process. They would just released a bare bones Blu-ray right? Wrong!! There is actually more including a brand new and exclusive extra, “The Making of The Wizard of Oz”, which is a 70 minute newly produced, feature-length high definition documentary narrated by Martin Sheen. Honestly this is a must have for any true fan of the film. It is extremely extensive and really dives deep into the legacy of the film, it’s production and its affect on Hollywood since.
There is also an audio commentary track with the late Sydney Pollack, which also features noted Oz historian and author John Fricke, as well as rare interview clips with associate producer/writer Arthur Freed’s daughter, Barbara Freed-Saltzman; actress Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch of the West) and her son Hamilton Meserve; actor Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow); actor Jack Haley (the Tin Man); John and Jane Lahr (children of actor Bert Lahr, the Cowardly Lion himself); uncredited co-director Mervyn LeRoy; assistant choreographer Dona Massin (who worked directly under Bobby Connolly); assistant make-up artist William Tuttle; performer Buddy Ebsen; and one of the last surviving Munchkin actors, Jerry Maren. For those who have never heard it, it is a must listen.
There is a Music and Effects Track only, which is amazing as well I loved isolated tracks and this film just works so well without the dialogue. It is a one-channel Dolby Digital audio track. Speaking of audio track, there is also the Original Mono Track included as well, which will be sure to satisfy those audio purists. Also available is the Dolby Digital track as well which is not a winner in my eyes. There is also a sing along track as well for the following songs “Over the Rainbow,” “Munchkinland Medley,” “Follow the Yellow Brick Road/You’re Off to See the Wizard,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” “If I Only Had a Heart,” “We’re Off to See the Wizard,” “If I Only Had the Nerve/We’re Off to See the Wizard,” “Optimistic Voices,” “The Merry Old Land of Oz,” and “If I Were King of the Forest.”
The rest of the special features are included on the second disc. “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook” features Angela Lansbury doing a brief read-through of Baum’s work. “We Haven’t Really Met Properly” is biographies (again) narrated by Lansbury, including Frank Morgan (The Wizard), Billie Burke (Glenda the Good Witch), Terry (Toto) and many more. “Jukebox” is a fun collection of original recordings and outtakes from the film, which run about 70 minutes. There are hundreds of stills and production photos included. There is the “Lux Radio Theater Broadcast” from the 1950 Christmas radio broadcast of The Wizard of Oz including Judy Garland. “Good News of 1939 Radio Show” is another a full-length radio broadcast with host Robert Young. Lastly there are extended radio advertisements and trailers included.
Get the Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition on Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and UltraViolet on October 1st – http://bit.ly/1fA56uJ