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Wizard of Oz: 75th Anniversary
075th ed. Anniversary
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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 is re-releasing The Wizard of Oz on DVD.
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.
The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award® nominations, including Best Picture (Outstanding Production), and captured two Oscars® -- Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score -- plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Ms. Garland.
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Top customer reviews
In addition, the sound could not be more perfect. In fact, everything about this DVD is just extraordinary. And, on top of that, my granddaughter not only watched this with me but sat there as we explored one of the many 'extras' to listen to the songs over and over so she could memorize them. Nothing is sweeter than having the apple of your eye singing, "Ding Dong, the Witch is Dead" or "Follow the Yellow Brick Road" as we're riding in a car.
My late mother, who was born in 1926, counted this movie as one of her favorites and could not wait to share it with her 4 children. I loved watching it with my 2 kids and now, another generation feels the same way. There is nothing worse than building up something and having that person say, 'meh' whether it's a restaurant or an attraction or a movie. So, it makes me happy that someone I adore also gives her stamp of approval on this movie that I hold so dear.
It includes 4 discs (2 with silk screen pictures):
1 blu-ray disc is the movie w/ special features (most of which were on the '05 DVD boxed set)
1 blu-ray disc includes the John Ritter movie and various OZ movies before the '39 classic
1 DVD (not blu-ray) includes the 6-hour documentary "When the Lion Roars" (this is a double-sided DVD)
1 DVD (this is not included in the set, but rather in an envelope slip case) includes a digital copy with instructions on how this can be obtained online
The boxed set includes 2 books (1 of which is hard cover and includes lots of great pictures), a watch in a nice WOZ tin case and the original budget reprint (which was somewhat odd as it sorta stuck out).
Amazon also sends 4 8X10 prints (these are attached to the back of the insert).
All in all the boxed set is very nice, however I found the special features were not much different from the '05 version. Also, I found the graphics of the discs and the packaging of the '05 DVD set to be somewhat nicer.
rating for the new blu-ray boxed set: 4 stars
origianl review about movie / '05 3-disc DVD set:
Like the entire world, I have so many fond memories of "The Wizard of Oz." This truly is the greatest film ever made and the greatest story ever told. Because not even taking into account the perfect performances, the movie has such a message that's completely universal.
A few years ago Warner Home Video released a beautiful 3-disc special edition boxed set. I finally got around to buying it last year and I am so glad I finally did because out of all the boxed sets this one is the very best because it is the most complete and comprehensive. Unfortunately, it has been discontinued, however there is still a special edition 2-disc set, which includes everything the 3-disc set did, except for the promotional materials and the third disc about the Oz creator, Mr. L. Frank Baum. To celebrate the 70th Anniversary Warner Home Video plans to release this classic next year on Blu-ray and I can't think of a movie that is more deserving of this.
The Wizard of Oz
~ Feature Film Presentation ~
Original World Premiere: August 25, 1939
Principal filming began on: October 12, 1938 & completed on: March 16, 1939
Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the most glorious studio in town
Distributor: Warner Home Video
Runtime listing: 103 mins.
Scene Index: Separated by a total of 55 chapters
Screen Size: Original Full Screen (keep in mind this movie predates widescreen, and the subsequent releases that were widescreen actually included black bars that were copied over the upper and lower portions of the screen.)
Picture Color: Sepia Tone & Three-strip Technicolor
A Kansas farm girl dreams herself into a magical fantasy land where she fights a wicked witch as she tries to escape.
Miss Garland's brief comments on this film: I've always taken 'The Wizard of Oz' very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I've spent my entire life trying to get over it.
Below is the cast, with their roles that they portrayed:
** Miss Judy Garland ~ Dorothy Gale
** Frank Morgan ~ Professor Marvel / The Gatekeeper / The Carriage Driver / The Guard Who Cries / The Wizard of Oz / The Wizard of Oz Video-Image
** Ray Bolger ~ Hunk / The Scarecrow
** Bert Lahr ~ Zeke / The Cowardly Lion
** Jack Haley ~ Hickory / The Tin Man
** Billie Burke ~ Glinda The Witch of the North
** Margaret Hamilton ~ Miss Elmira Gulch / The Wicked Witch of the West / The Wicked Witch of the East
** Charley Grapewin ~ Uncle Henry
** Clara Blandick ~ Auntie Em
** Terry the Terrier (known as prior to the film) & Toto (known as after the film) ~ Toto
** The Leo Singer Midgets ~ The adorable, lovable Munchkins
** Pat Walshe ~ Nikko (the little monkey)
My very first memory of "The Wizard of Oz" is being at my grandparents' house watching it on Channel 2; back in the day when they used to show it once a year. And I was almost scared, but not really during the parts with the flying monkeys. There was so much mystery and almost chemistry and spark throughout the entire film.
As you know, when this motion picture first came out it was a success but certainly not a huge hit. In 1939 the top grossing films were of course "Gone With the Wind" and "The Women." Perhaps it's no coincidence that all of these Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer classic feature films all had stunning color.
I also love this movie because it totally turned me on to Judy Garland. She was so talented and beautiful and almost larger-than-life in "The Wizard of Oz." IMHO she truly is one of the greatest entertainers ever. I love how she, as Dorothy Gale was able to turn on her emotions so easily. Dorothy emoted all over the place and ran the gamut of somber, sweet and even a touch on the dramatic. I love when she screams to the witch, Miss Gultch (played by the perfect Margaret Hamilton) "I'll bite you myself." This viewer wholeheartedly thinks that she was prepared to do it, too.
You know, as a kid watching this movie I never realized that Judy was actually a child, too. She always appeared like a grown person to me. Now when I watch the movie she looks like such a little girl. And that's another fun thing about "The Wizard of Oz." Because you can watch it and experience both new and old emotions watching something that feels both familiar and brand-new.
It took me years and years to grasp that "The Wizard of Oz" was all just an illusion. I must have been maybe 7 or 8 and my mom purchased one of those horrid video-cassettes for me. And at the end of it, my aunt comes in and announces to anyone who would listen, "this movie was all just a dream, you know." I don't know why, but I got so angry when she said that. I wanted to punch her in the nose because it made the movie seem less important and it made me feel like my thoughts and admiration towards this beloved classic were compromised. But she was totally correct.
It's almost hard to remember that "The Wizard of Oz" is in essence a musical. It captures the viewer and takes them on a journey and throughout that journey the audience doesn't ever lose sight of the fact that this is a tale of great hope and a new beginning. I absolutely love all of the songs in this movie. Of course my favorite is Judy's signature "Over the Rainbow." And, I also adore "Ding Dong! The Witch is Dead." And, with lyrics like "Ding Dong! The Witch is dead. Which old Witch? The Wicked Witch," is it any wonder that all kids love this song (and probably some adults, too.)
Besides Judy Garland, the entire cast, including her supporting cast was out of this world. Glinda (the indomitable Billie Burke) uttered my favorite line: only bad witches are ugly. OMG, can it get better than that? I love Billie Burke in so many other movies. She was always such a great character actress, but in this classic she's more than that. Glinda is such a theatrical person who is also overpowering and memorable.
Clara Blandick (Auntie Em) and Charley Grapewin (Uncle Henry) were both flawless and absolute. Uncle Henry was so funny, too. Auntie Em has carved out such a place in pop-culture. I love when she almost tells Gultch off, "but being a Christian woman I can't" and then runs to Dorothy's bedside. It's totally something my old granny would have done. Everyone loves Auntie Em because just about everyone has a grandmother or a beloved relative like her.
The Great Frank Morgan as Professor Marvel and the title character, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was perfectly cast. He captured all of those special emotions and was so believable. I also really liked him as the Guard (it was so funny watching him cry like a baby.) Rounding out the cast are Dorothy's 3 special friends: The Scarecrow (Ray Bolger,) the Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr) and the Tinman (Jack Haley.) It's difficult to say who is my favorite out of Dorothy's friends in Oz. One of the best scenes is when the Cowardly Lion tries to attack Toto and Dorothy gives him a nice smack! There were so many more memorable scenes with Dorothy and her Oz companions. I think Dorothy's favorite was the Scarecrow. Wasn't he such a sweet guy, such a loveable loser. And, Dorothy didn't care that he was as dumb as dirt. It didn't matter to her because here was a friend that she just met who loved her and made her feel special just the way she was.
All of the Munchkins were so perplexing and downright delicious. If you looked closely, you could see that these tiny people each had a very unique and diverse personality. I really enjoyed their singing and dancing and how they all welcomed Dorothy to Munchkinland after her house dropped on the Wicked Witch of the East. (This also included some of the best singing and dancing numbers of the entire film.) But I think, even more than that, they were in this story to convey the special meaning of compassion and approval because even though they were different they all still had such a zest for life. According to published reports, there are only 7 surviving cast members of "The Wizard of Oz:" Mickey Carroll, Ruth Duccini, Jerry Maren, Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover and Clarence Swensen. And, perhaps it's no coincide that they were all Munchkins.
Miss Gultch. She was one scary witch. As the Wicked Witch of the West she was more, I think, indignant. At least to me, she came off as very power-hungry and when none of her little tricks managed to pay off she would turn violent. IMHO there isn't any other movie villain in the entire history of motion pictures who is as identifiable as the roles the late Margaret Hamilton played in this.
Dorothy Gale. Everything always starts and ends with Dorothy, right? "The Wizard of Oz" is really her story. Wouldn't you say? And, perhaps that's why the movie is so loved and so attached to Miss Garland; because it's just as much Judy's story as it is Dorothy Gale's story. Think about it. A young girl who was otherwise shunned by the people closest to her. And there's really nothing worse than that. To be discarded by your own kind is one of life's cruelest jokes. Because we all have a natural desire to be loved and accepted. It's only those people (like the Witch) who are the odd ones because they do not know how to love or be loved; not the Dorothy's of this world.
But Dorothy found solace. My favorite part of the movie has always been when Dorothy first landed in Oz. As she stands in her Kansas doorframe, she's standing at the exact cusp of approbation and freedom. And, as she comes out the screen turns to color! So dramatic. It's when Dorothy finally is accepted by the freaks and geeks of society, who the world has otherwise thrown away does she learn that she holds the key to her own happiness.