“There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home…”
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 107 minutes
1080p Dual-layered BD50 Blu-ray
Disc Size: 41,144,478,363 bytes
Feature: 22,718,269,440 bytes
Video Bitrate: 22.95 Mbps
Codec: VC-1 Video
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 5.1
Dolby Digital Audio English 2.0
Dolby Digital Audio English 1.0
Dolby Digital Audio German 1.0
Dolby Digital Audio French 1.0
Dolby Digital Audio German 1.0
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 1.0
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 1.0
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English, Dolby Surround
Since 1959, about almost every year, thousands waited for The Wizard of Oz to air. Families would sit at home around the television, cozy in the winter months with excitement as the credits starts to roll to where the story takes us into Kansas. It has become one of an annual event for families all across America as the watch Dorothy’s adventure down the yellow brick road.
A film that has been nominated for several Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Visual Effects, but only won Best Song and Best Original Music Score, turned out to be one of America’s Classic films of all time. Although the film only grossed approximately $3 million compared to their production cost, $2.8 million, MGM didn’t consider the film to be profitable when the film was released in 1939. They did consider the film to be profitable when the film was re-released ten years later.
The Wizard of Oz has touch every person from all over the world from the age of a toddler to as old as any person’s life will take them. For those of you who unfortunately haven’t seen this spectacular, one of a kind film, here is your chance to see it perfectly re-mastered!
This film was based on the children’s novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. The film takes place in Kansas, in a black and white sepia tone, where Dorothy Gale (Judy Garland) lives with her Aunt Em (Clara Blandick) and Uncle Henry (Charles Grapewin) along with Hunk (Ray Bolger), Hickory (Jack Haley), and Zeke (Bert Lahr). Miss Almira Gulch (Margaret Hamilton) claims Dorothy’s dog, Toto (Terry), bit her, and has a sheriff’s order to take Toto away to get “destroyed” (exact word in the script). Dorothy decides to run away after Toto escapes from Miss Gulch. They run away coming across a fortuneteller, Professor Marvel (Frank Morgan), who acknowledges a runaway. He decides to trick her to get her to go back home to her aunt and uncle. As Dorothy is trying to get back home to her Aunt Em, thinking that she is getting ill, a tornado is clearly coming its way across their barn. Dorothy doesn’t get there in time to go with the others down to the cellar basement, so she has to resort back to her room. The window frame gets knocked out fiercely, hitting Dorothy in the head making her unconscious. She wakes up moments later as the house finally lands down.
Dorothy gets up to go outside, not realizing where she really is. She opens the front door and walk into a colorful and vivid world where Glinda, the Good Witch of the North (Billie Burke), greets her. She’s then told that she is in Munchkin Land, and has done them all a great favor by dropping a house on the Wicked Witch of the East. As the Munchkins celebrate the death of Wicked Witch of the East, the Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton) interrupts their celebration by trying to take the ruby slippers from the dead witch. They soon realize Dorothy is the new owner of the ruby slippers since she killed the Wicked Witch of the East. The Wicked Witch of the West swore to take revenge on Dorothy for not only killing her sister, but as well as retrieving the ruby slippers back. Glinda, the Good Witch of the North advise her to seek the help of the Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Frank Morgan) in the Emerald City to find her way home back to Kansas. They send her off to the Emerald City telling her to follow the yellow brick road.
On her way down the yellow brick road, she meets a Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), who doesn’t have a brain, a Tin Man (Jack Haley), who doesn’t have a heart, and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), who doesn’t have a Nerve. All four of them decide to go together to ask the Wonderful Wizard of Oz for help. I won’t go into further details as there could be some that still haven’t seen the film.
For decades the story of Dorothy has captured the hearts of many, the film is undeniably a classic. A true treasure of Hollywood with the power to still touch those who are watching for their first time, and even reliving their childhood memories. It has been a truly great experience to see this film once again re-mastered looking better than ever, the music has never sounded better, the characters and the colorful world Oz is unforgettable. Easy 5 out of 5.
You will realize the great video quality of this film right from the beginning. Considering this film was made in 1939, the picture is very clear. As you know the beginning and end of the film is shot in black and white sepia tone and to my surprise the artifacts are almost non-existent, if you ever seen the DVD you will instantly notice how polished and how clean the video looks. Obviously not all the artifacts have been removed but enough has to be able to shrug off.
The real ahh’s and ohh’s won’t come until Dorothy opens the door that leads to Munchkin Land where she walks into a world of color. You can’t help but look at every detail and color of Munchkin Land. The colors are very vivid, from the plants to Dorothy’s dress, from the Munchkins to the yellow brick road, you can’t help but to be in a world as wonderful as Oz. Keep in mind that this film was made in 1939 and it was one of the first films to use Technicolor, for this film Warner scanned three of the original negative. The blacks are inky, the yellows are vibrant, and the blues are radiant. Warner Brothers did such a great job restoring this film that if you look at the make-up on the all of the characters, you can see the make-up fading as well as the break between the make-up and their natural skin color. Even the water in the little river was so clear you could see the waves and the water breaking in every detail.
The contrast is perfect, very vivid and bright which brings a better depth to the picture and allows for textures and finer details to appear on screen. Last but not least, there ‘s a fair amount of grain that makes its presence throughout the film that is part of the original film that I am sure the fans will appreciate the fact that it remained intact in this high definition release. As I mentioned earlier, not all the artifacts were cleaned off the film. Due to the film’s age some of the degradation is a bit noticeable, in certain scenes you can see artifacts quickly appear on screen.
Even with the few imperfections found on the disc, this is the very best any Wizard of Oz has ever seen. Warner did a fantastic job restoring this wonderful classic film and fans are sure to be delighted by the results as I am.
The Wizard of Oz sports a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD lossless audio track, while it doesn’t compare to an audio track in today’s films it’s a great audio track for this classic film. The best part of this track is the music, the soundfield created is amazing, and it never sounded better than this. The dialogue is good, warm and maintains the personality of each character. The rears pay much respect to the original work, appearing in key moments like the tornado in Kansas to the musical scenes in Oz. For the truly hardcore or purist Warner has added the original mono track. The audio truly compliments the video, this is a seventy-year-old audio and this is perhaps the best sounding Wizard of Oz.
Warner Brothers provided the viewers with 16 hours worth of extras into 3 different discs. The two Blu-rays contain extras; one of them contains the feature film while the other is full of extras. The last disc is a regular DVD, which contains the history of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on both sides of the disc.
The first disc contains Behind The Story, Audio, Sing-Along, Extras, Trailers, Additional Footage, and The Warner Bros. BD Live.
• Behind The Story
o “The Making of a Movie Classic” – Gives us an inside view of the making of the Wizard of Oz. It includes that actor’s experience of the long hours on the set as well as the long hours it took to put on their character’s make-up. They also give us details on replacements of actors and directors throughout the filming of the movie, like the replacement of Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man.
o “Because the Wonderful Things it does: The Legacy of Oz” – Shows us the effects the movie has made on people all over America and the world as well. MGM held an auction in 1970 selling theater crops. One of those crops is the famous ruby slippers that went for $15,000.
o “The Art of Imagination” – This featurette talks about the music and lyrics for the film. MGM had to have the best of the best orchestra there was at the time. This was one of the first films were they used the technique of lip-synching. MGM had 60 different sets, and for background painting on the scene with the cornfields. “Combination of theatrical approach and schematic approach” was used to describe the background painting. It took them 3 weeks to paint the background for the cornfield scene.
o “Memories of Oz” – talks about the amazing transformation from black and white sepia tone to color. Filmmaker’s discuss the Munchkins voices.
o “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Story Book” – An animated feature illustrating the original book.
o “Prettier than Ever: The Restoration of Oz” –An interesting look into the restoration process of the film. The various techniques and difficulties surrounding the Wizard of Oz.
o “We Haven’t Really Met Properly… “ – An interesting look into each character and their biographies.
• Frank Morgan as The Wizard of Oz/Professor Marvel
• Ray Bolger as The Scarecrow/ Hank
• Bert Lahr as The Cowardly Lion/Zeke
• Jack Haley as The Tin Man/Hickory
• Billie Burke as Glinda, The Good Witch of the North
• Margaret Hamilton as The Wicked Witch of the West/Miss Gulch
• Charles Grapewin as Uncle Henry
• Clara Blandick as Aunt Em
• Terry as Toto
• Over The Rainbow
• Munchkin Land Medley Rehearsal Recording
• Munchkin Land Medley Sequence Recording
• Munchkin Land Medley Voice Tests
• If I Only Had a Brain
• We’re Off to See the Wizard
• If I Only Had a Heart
• If I Only Had the Nerve/We’re Off to See the Wizard
• Emerald City/The Merry Old Land of Oz
• If I were King of the Forest
• The Jitterbug
• Over the Rainbow/Triumphant Return to Emerald City
• Kansas Underscoring
• Munchkin Land Underscoring
• The Road to Oz Underscoring
• Emerald City Underscoring
• The Witch’s Castle underscoring
• Final Underscoring
o Leo is on the Air Radio Promo
o Good News of 1939 Radio Show
o 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast
o Sing-Along with the Movie
o Over the Rainbow
o Munchkin Land Medley
o Follow the Yellow Brick Road/You’re Off to See the Wizard
o If I Only had a Brain
o If I Only had a Heart
o If I Only had the Nerve/We’re Off to See the Wizard
o We’re Off to See the Wizard
o Optimistic Voices
o The Merry Old Land of Ox
o If I were King of the Forest
o “Another Romance of Celluloid: Electrical Power” – An inside look at the Boulder Dam and the 4 electric plant of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
o Cavaleads of The Academy Awards Excerpt
o Texas Contest Winners
o Off the See the Wizard Excerpts
o Still Galleries
• Oz on Broadway
• Sketches Storyboards
• Costume and Make-up Test
• Richard Thorpe’s Oz
• Buddy Ebsen
• Oz Comes to Life
• Behind the Scenes
• Special Effects
• Post Production
• Deleted Scenes
• Original Publicity
• 8/15/1939 Hollywood Premiere
• 8/17/1939 New York Premiere
• 2/29/1940 Academy Awards Ceremony
• Oz Abroad
• Oz Revivals
o 1939 What is Oz Teaser
o 1940 Loews Cairo Theater Trailer
o 1949 Reissue Trailer
o 1949 Grownup Reissue Trailer
o 1970 Children’s Matinee Reissue Trailer
o 1998 Warner Bros. Reissue Trailer
• Additional Footage
o Harold Arlen’s Home Movies- 16 minutes footage Portrait Sitting
o Outtakes & Deleted Scenes
• If I Only had a Brain
• If I Only had a Heart
• Triumphant returns to Emerald City
• Over the Rainbow
• The Jitterbug
o It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister! The Tornado Test
• Warner Bros BD Live
• Behind the Story
o Victor Fleming: Master Craftsman-Biography
o L. Frank Baum The Man behind the Curtin
o Hollywood Celebrates its Biggest Little Stars
o The Dreamer of Oz- Short film about L. Frank Baum and his dream of Oz. 1hour 32 minutes
o The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1910)-Silent film 13 minutes
o His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz (1914)- Silent film 59 minutes
o The Magic Cloak of Oz (1914)-Silent film 43 minutes
o The Patchwork Gil of Oz (1914)- Silent film 50 minutes
o The Wizard of Oz (1925)- Silent film 1 hour 11 minutes
o The Wizard of Oz (1933)- First Technicolor Cartoon in 1933. 8 minutes
The third disc contains the history of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer from beginning to end.
• The Lion’s Roar
• The Lion Reigns Supreme
• The Lion in Winter
This version of The Wizard of Oz is by far the best. I was blown away by the quality of the video and great sound alike. Warner has done a memorable job with the restoration of this film, I am sure the fans will appreciate it for the years to come. This release is highly recommended.