Saturday, September 26, 2009

Follow the Yellow Brick Blu-Ray

The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition (Warners)
I must admit I was skeptical before I watched the new hi-def restoration of this 1939 all-time family classic: how much improvement would we really see in both the audio and video of Victor Fleming’s endlessly fresh and fun fantasy starring Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Bert Lahr and Jack Haley? Well, my skepticism was dashed immediately, because, with this Blu-Ray release, The Wizard of Oz has never looked more magnificent. The early B&W sequences have a clarity never before seen, and once Dorothy steps into the land of Oz, the riotous bright colors never stop: it’s the yellowest yellow brick road, the greenest Emerald City, and the reddest red slippers you’ll ever encounter. The sound has also been improved so that the timeless songs and score are now capable of shaking the rafters in Dolby TrueHD (with the original mono track for traditionalists). The four-disc collector’s edition includes 16 hours of special features, notably a documentary profile of Fleming, the six-hour history MGM: When the Lion Roars, deleted scenes and a restoration featurette. Collectibles in the box include a limited-edition Oz watch, the original 1939 campaign book and a hard-cover commemorative book. But the real bonus is the movie itself—you won’t be waiting for its next television showing ever again.
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