"The Wizard Of Oz" tells the story of Dorothy (Garland), a young girl from Kansas, who journeys over the rainbow with her little dog Toto, to the Land Of Oz. Joining up along the way with such characters as the Scarecrow (Bolger), The Cowardly Lion (Lahr), and the Tin Man (Haley), Dorothy and crew go in search of the "Wonderful Wizard" (Morgan) himself, while always trying to stay one step ahead of the Wicked Witch of the West (Hamilton). From the book by L. Frank Baum and directed by Victor Fleming, who also directed "Gone With The Wind." (Tricia Spears)
Warner Bros. released the 4K Ultra HD The Wizard of Oz 80th Anniversary Collector's Edition on Oct. 29. New special features include commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tutle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren and the 1990 CBS Special "The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz: The Making Of A Movie Classic." The Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features: the same commentary on the 4K Ultra HD disc, "The Making Of The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz," "The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz Storybook" (narrated by Angela Lansbury) (HD 10:27), We Haven't Really Met Properly with nine character introductions (HD 21:23), a Music and Effects track, the Original Mono Track, 10 Sing Along Tracks, an audio Jukebox featuring 18 tracks, the "Leo Is On The Air" radio promo, 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Broadcast, a stills gallery, trailers, and a Movies Anywhere digital code.
The 1.37:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10/Dolby Vision picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed in three-strip Technicolor using the Technicolor Three-Strip Camera and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. From the the film's opening Kansas sequence, presented in sepia-tinted black-and-white to the saturated color body of the work, the picture is amazing and retains the appearance of natural film grain. Following the opening scene, once Dorothy's house falls into Munchkinland and she opens the door, the picture magically transforms into a saturated color palette that exhibits warm and rich hues, nuanced in their variations. In the scene with the Wicked Witch of the West and the flying monkey in the witch's castle, the hues are quite rich and vivid. As Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion approach closer and closer to Emerald City, the color palette appears to deepen in saturation. Fleshtones favor a reddish push overall. The greens of Emerald City are wonderful as well as the yellow brick road and Dorothy's brilliant red hair. The wide color gamut displays an incredible spectrum of nuanced hues that further texturizes the color palette. The fire burst in the chamber of the Wizard of Oz is impressively colorful and complex. While the imagery overall is soft, fine detail is exhibited in Dorothy's dress fabrics, the Scarecrow garments, the Lion's fur coat and in the shiny Tin Man's metallic appearance. Dorothy's fleshtone color is perfectly natural and her red slippers are bright red. The forest scenes, both along the yellow brick road and the dark areas surrounding the Witch of the West's castle, are wonderfully vivid. The scenes with the witch's flying monkey brigade depict their gray and red accents with greenish-bluish gray faces. The imagery has a charm, even though the production clearly takes place on studio sets. Blacks are deep and solid, such as in the witch's black gown, and contrast is quite good, with shadow delineation that is revealing. The imagery is dimensional, especially when contrasted against the studio sets. This is the sharpest rendering ever to be released on a home video format and is perfectly satisfying. The picture (and the production) is fascinating to watch and admire. The visual quality is so good that the production design elements are clearly discernible throughout. The picture (and the production) is fascinating to watch and admire. The visual quality is so good that the production design elements are clearly discernible throughout. No matter what your age, this is a memorable picture full of dramatic color and historic filming imagery. If you've only seen The Wizard Of Oz on TV, video tape, or DVD, you've never really experienced it. The restoration in terms of color and resolution is gorgeous. You owe it to your childhood memories and to your children and grandchildren's memories to experience this remastered 4K Ultra HD presentation. You will not be disappointed! Also recommended is the previous 3D Blu-ray Disc release, which is amazingly effective as a window into the world of Oz, exhibiting impressive depth and dimensionality without apparent double image ghosting. (Gary Reber)
The repurposed DTS:HD Master Audio™ 5.1-channel soundtrack is the preferred soundtrack and presents the most faithful fidelity. The original Western Electric Sound System monaural soundtrack is available in the Dolby® Digital format. Of course, in 1939 dynamics were very much compressed, but the sound is faithful to the original production. At times the sound slightly overloads and some distortion is heard, but the overall quality is excellent for a soundtrack produced 70 years ago. Bass extension is limited as well, with occasional .1 LFE enhancement, such as in the cyclone opening sequence and in the witch's castle. The Harold Arlen music score is nicely presented and provides enhanced surround envelopment, as do the atmospheric and sound effects, which are decorrelated in the front and surround channels. The result is vastly far more involving than the original monaural soundtrack, while still maintaining a frontal hemisphere focus. The songs are terrific throughout, especially the memorable "Over The Rainbow" and "Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead." This is a wonderful soundtrack true to its origins. (Gary Reber)