Seventy-five years of the yellow brick road, the munchkins, Toto, witches, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, the Wizard, and Dorothy have not diminished the charm of this truly classic American film. The Wizard of Oz is part of our lives and the American culture. Quotations from and references to the movie surround us on a daily basis. The Wizard of Oz is the first American Fairy Tale, from the great imagination of L. Frank Baum who penned 14 Oz books. I had them all when I was a kid, and loved every word.
The film was mired with problems. The studio wanted Shirley Temple to play Dorothy but Associate Producer Arthur Freed insisted the part go to Judy Garland. Buddy Ebson started out playing The Tin Man, but almost died from breathing the dust from his makeup. Directors came and went. The history of the making this movie is described in detail in a new bonus feature.
Did you know W.C. Fields, Ed Wynn, and Wallace Beery were considered for the part of the Wizard? We all know him now as the character brought to life by Frank Morgan. And did you know that the filmmakers were considering using a real lion for the Cowardly Lion? And the iconic song, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” was slated to be cut. Imagine this movie without that iconic song? It was the foundation of Judy Garland’s career.
So many interesting facts about this movie are disclosed in this great feature that runs a little over an hour. And not one minute of it is boring. It is truly amazing to learn about the making of this classic film. From the costumes to the makeup, the hairstyles, the songs and the use of Technicolor, there were many intricate parts and changes to the movie along the way. And let’s not forget there were over 100 little people actors who came to California to star as Munchkins. Several “munchkins” discuss their experiences making the film. By the way, a terrier named Terry played the part of Toto. See all the little tidbits you’ll learn with this new “making of” documentary.
Growing up, before the age of home video recording, The Wizard of Oz was shown on TV once a year and families, including mine, looked forward to this annual event. It was really an event.
Now, thanks to modern technology, Warner Bros. celebrates the 75th anniversary of The Wizard of Oz with some amazing editions. Until you’ve seen this film in high definition, you cannot imagine what you’ve been missing all these years. I did several scene-by-scene comparisons with the Blu-ray and the DVD, and I was astounded at the brilliance, clarity, and detail of the Blu-ray version compared to the DVD.
If you have the capability for 3D viewing, this is a must. The conversion to 3D was complex and time consuming for the studio, but can you imagine a better film to convert to 3D for 3d enthusiasts? With the brilliance of HD and the wonders of 3D, The Wizard of Oz comes to life in front of your eyes.
There are several options available. There is a five-disc set that has it all – Blu-ray + Blu-ray 3D + DVD + UltraViolet and bonus features and collectibles, a two-disc set with Blu-ray and 3D, a two-disc DVD set, and a one-disc Blu-ray edition. All of these discs include the new bonus features and additional content.
Enjoy the 75thanniversary of The Wizard of Oz with your family. And remember, “There’s no place like home.”