The Wizard of Oz VHS
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This edition of The Wizard of Oz is the digitally remastered print that played in theaters for the film's 60th anniversary. Also included on the tape are a behind-the-scenes special hosted by Angela Lansbury, outtakes, and the original trailer.
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My grandparents have told me about seeing this movie in the theater when it was first released in 1939 and how much they loved it. Then they took my mother watched it as a little girl when it was re-released in theaters in the 50's and she loved it. Then my mom showed it to me on TV as a kid when it aired as a movie of the week and I loved it. And now we've progressed to where I can just tell my TV when I feel like watching it and I show it to my kids and they love it!
The movie is 78 years old. It's spanned 4 generations (at least in my family. Probably 5 or 6 in some other families). And it hasn't lost even a little bit of it's original shine.
The Wizard of Oz may be the greatest example of a movie that holds up well over time. The world around this movie has changed dramatically. Since this was released the Great Depression ended, WWII was fought, the entire Civil Rights Movement happened, and the internet was invented. The world has completely changed since 1939 but The Wizard of Oz is still just as fascinating to children and adults today as it was 78 years ago. There aren't many things in this world that hold up so well.
As far as quality goes I have this on DVD, Blu Ray, and have watching it streaming in HD via Amazon Prime and a FireStick.
The Blu Ray is the best presentation. It's so crisp and clean you'd think it was filmed yesterday, not 3/4th of a century ago. You can see detail in the background that adds a whole layer of depth to the film. The only down side of the 1080p presentation is that you see every seem in the backdrop canvas paintings, every edge of a skull cap on 'bald' Munchkins, and every other blemish or imperfection in a costume or prop. Personally I think that stuff is kinda cool, and you only really notice it if you're looking for it. It's not enough to distract you from the film. The special features included with the Blu Ray are neat, about the making of the film and history behind it and such. Most of it is presented in on HD.
The Prime Streaming HD version is only a half notch below the Blu Ray version. The resolution is just as good but it has some artifacting going on where you see dark colors fading. It's barely noticeable unless you're looking for it. But it's there.
The DVD print is strong, but for obvious reasons it's not as clear as the Blu Ray. The color depth is great on the DVD, but the resolution is lacking due to the format. HOWEVER, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The lower resolution hides all the imperfections in costuming and set design that I mention 2 paragraphs up in the Blu Ray review. Again, I don't think this is a big deal, but if seeing the edge of a bald cap a Munchkin is wearing bothers you, you can't see it on the DVD.
The VHS version that was fine to me as a kid would now make me feel like I was going blind. But if you want to hang onto the urban myth that you can see a Munchkin hang himself in the background when Dorothy meets the Tin Man, the VHS version is what you need. On the DVD and Blu Ray you can clearly see that is just a weird looking plastic bird thing at the back of the sound stage.
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.
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