The Wizard of Oz
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When it was released during Hollywood's golden year of 1939, The Wizard of Oz didn't start out as the perennial classic it has since become. The film did respectable business, but it wasn't until its debut on television that this family favorite
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The best thing about this two-disc package is a lengthy explanation of the making of the movie. I had no idea of all the pitfalls and set-backs theat were encountered. I now have a deep feeling of gratitude for all those who struggled to complete the filming. It's truly unfortunate that at Oscar time, "The Wizard" had to compete with "Gone With The Wind," even if I consider GWTW the greatest movie of all time with its vast production values, story and acting.
First off, the blu ray version of the film is so striking and magical that I practically held my breath throughout. It was like watching the film for the first time. Many people will think that this blu ray is not a huge improvement for it is not in widescreen. They do not understand that widescreen did not exist 70 years ago and if they had tried to make it fit that ration it would have totally stretched our beloved film. The film must be shown in the ration it was filmed so there will be black bars on each side of the movie. Also when the movie begins the black and white is somewhat golden and this is on purpose for the beginning and ending were filmed in sepia tone. There is some graininess at the beginning that may also make some say they thought blu ray took that away. The graininess is there for a purpose. I have read many reviews and articles of this blu ray plus those who created it. It was very important to remain true to the original source. To put THE WIZARD OF OZ on blu ray did not mean enhancing colors with modern techniques that covered the original or wiping clear the original grain so the film looked like it was made today. This is a classic and it is 70 years old. This blu ray is a perfect example of how blu ray can immensely enhance an old film while keeping true to its film purist originality.
Now accept the slight graininess and see how crisp and clear all the scenery is. Dorothy and Toto are glorious in theit close ups. And Miss Gultch is so much more evil and the tornado is quite scary and it is amazing to see how well they filmed such a thing 70 years ago. You can now see all the backdrops closely and every small detail is crisp. But the true magic occurs of course when Dorothy exits the house into Munchinland. As the first shot slowly pans over the entire area everything is striking. The water in the lake ripples in a bright blue, the brown tops of the hut are beautiful. Bottom line, you can see every little tiny spec of every object, person or scenery. Glinda's dress glitters spectacularly. And the ruby slippers glimmer throughout the entire film. From this point on I was awestruck till the end. The green makeup on the wicked witch is so menacing and to see Dorothy, the scarecrow, tinman and the lion in bluray allows you to see how exquisitely their costumes were made. You see every mark of rust on the tin man. Bottom line, the whole techniclor part radiates in brilliant colors and never falters. I could describe the whole film but the thing is the entire film is so amazingly improved that with every scene the clarity allows you to see things you never noticed in previous versions of this film.
And the boxed set. Just read in the item description all you get. The box is emerald geeen and very sturdy like a magical treasure chest. The keepsakes including the book and the watch are priceless. And the features and extras included are worth the price alone. At least 5 different versions of THE WIZARD OF OZ made over time, the 6 hour documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars and a wonderful WIZARD OF OZ documentary narrated by Angela Lansbury. Many have thought their set was flawed because the extra on disc 2 THE DREAMER OF OZ has video that is so dreadful that it could easily be mistaken as a flawed disc. This is a 1990 film starring John Ritter. I resarched many reviews and the release data of this set and the quality of this is known and not an error. One review stated: The Dreamer of Oz (SD, Disc 2, 92 minutes): This 1990 NBC Baum biopic stars the late John Ritter as Baum, Annette O'Toole as his dutiful wife, and Rue McClanahan as her mother. Awful video quality aside (the transfer looks as if it's meant to be viewed with 3-D glasses), this Finding Neverland precursor is a decent, if not unnecessary addition to the set that will nevertheless please completists to no end.
This set has so many extras I am thrilled and the blu ray movie takes a movie that is already magical and without taking away its purity makes it a brilliant masterpiece. With the separate sepia and technicolor sections this film is a perfect one to use as an exalmple of the excellence of blu ray. This is a must have. Dorothy has never touched your heart as much as she will with the clarity of blu ray.
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