Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr, Jack Haley, Billie Burke, Clara Blandick and Margaret Hamilton
Out to buy on Blu-Ray/DVD 02/11/09
"Somewhere over the rainbow..."
Dorothy Gale (Garland) had dreamed that there must be something better, somewhere over the rainbow. With her family ignoring here and local busybody Elmira Gulch (Hamilton) wanting to take her beloved dog Toto, Dorothy decides to run away but as a twister cuts through the Kansas she gets caught in the storm. When she awakes, Dorothy discovers that she has been transported to another world, a magical place called Oz, filled with munchkins, scarecrows, tin men, lions and a Wicked Witch. Even with all of this magic Dorothy knows that there is no place like home.
When it comes to naming the most beloved family movies of all time, there is one film that would make most, if not all, of the collated lists and that movie is ‘The Wizard of Oz’.
In 1939, during the golden age of cinema MGM released a musical based on a beloved novel by L. Frank Baum and the family movie was given its defining yardstick for decades to come. Winning two Oscars for its music and becoming a firm family favourite at the box office and then through the decades on TV, video, DVD and now high definition Blu-Ray, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is a movie that deserves the accolade of ‘classic’.
Seventy years later, the movie is just as loved and it is clear to see why. Here we have the story of a young girl called Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, who yearned for a little more than her life on the farm and during a terrible tornado she is transported to a magically world called Oz. Here she meets some of the most famous supporting characters in the history of film, the Scarecrow played by Ray Bolger, the Tin Man played by Jack Haley and the Cowardly Lion played by Bert Lahr and finds an enemy in one of cinema’s great villains, the Wicked Witch of the West played with great gusto by Margaret Hamilton. Add to this a scene stealing performance from Frank Marvel as the Great Oz and many other characters, Billie Burke as the Good Witch of the North, Glinda and of course the munchkins.
As with any musical, it is the songs that define the film and ‘The Wizard of Oz’ has some of the most memorable in film history. ‘Follow the Yellow Brick Road’, ‘We’re to see the Wizard’, ‘If I only had a Brain/Heart/the Nerve’, ‘The Merry Old Land of Oz’, ‘If I were King of the Forest’ and the classic ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ have all been instilled into the cinema-going echelons and become some of the most beloved songs ever to grace a musical. Judy Garland’s performance of ‘Over the Rainbow’ is one of the great musical moments on film and really defined her career.
With the black and white of the Great Depression ridden Kansas farm transforming into the Technicolour world of the beautifully realised Oz, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ is a defining moment in cinematic history and one that is still considered a gem today. With fantastic songs, memorable performances and beloved characters, this is one of the great movies and one that deserves to use the term ‘classic’.
The Blu-Ray disc presents
the movie in High Definition full screen 4:3 up to 1080p, with Dolby
TrueHD 5.1 surround sound. The HD treatment of the movie is first rate
with the technicolour of OZ brought vividly to life in high definition and the songs have never sounded so good. The Blu-Ray also includes the DVD version and a Sing-a-long track for those who want to join in.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic [1990 TV special] (RT: 50:52)
- Memories of Oz [2001 TCM documentary] (RT: 27:37)
- The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz (RT: 30:23)
- Because of the Wonderful Things it Does: The Legacy of Oz (RT: 26:01)
- Harold Arlen’s Home Movies (RT: 3:38)
Outtakes and Deleted Scenes (RT 14:23)
- It’s a Twister! It’s a Twister! The Tornado Tests (RT: 8:15)
- Off to See the Wizard (RT: 3:55)
- 3 Vault Shorts (RT 14:22)
- Audio Jukebox Selections (RT 306:26)
- Still Galleries
- 6 Theatrical Trailers (RT 11:00)
- L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind the Curtain (RT: 27:37)
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz [1910 short] (RT: 13:16)
- The Magic Cloak of Oz [1914 short] RT 53:10 (orig. RT: 38:28)
- His Majesty, The Scarecrow of Oz [1914 feature] (RT: 59:02)
- The Wizard of Oz [1925 feature] (RT: 62:49)
- The Wizard of Oz [1933 animated short] (RT: 8:11)
- Hollywood Celebrates its Biggest Little Stars! (RT 10:15 est.)
- The Dreamer of Oz 1990 TV Special (RT 100:00)
- Victor Flemming : Master Craftsman (RT 33:53 est.)
The Blu-Ray treatment for 'The Wizard of Oz' is one that fans will revel in. Filled to the brim with bonus features from decades, as well as a second disc with Oz related short films, animation and featurettes, this is the ultimate package for fans of the movie.
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