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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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Showing 1-10 of 48 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on August 20, 2003
It's nearly impossible for me to write objectively about the quality of "The Wizard of Oz," so bundled up is it with associations from my childhood. It's like trying to do a critical analysis of "Star Wars." Sorry, can't be done---at least, not by me.
"Oz" is such a strange movie, in some ways so creaky and old-fashioned, in other ways so incredibly ahead of its time. Few films I've seen during my lifetime have such a complete vision as "Oz" does---such painstaking care went into the look and design of the film; it's as if the filmmakers really did create a whole other world for this film to take place in. It's odd that during a time in American film history, when movies were being cranked out like cars on an assembly line, a film could feel like such an auteurish product (increasingly odd, since the credited director, Victor Fleming, actually shared directing duties with several others. The same is true for "Gone with the Wind," released in the same year and also bearing Fleming's name as sole director. He was quite a lucky guy in 1939).
The plot and feeling of "Oz" veers quite a bit from that of the book on which it is based. The book is much nastier and darker, but the film manages its fair share of grimness for all that. The Wicked Witch is spectacularly scary (Margaret Hamilton admits to regretting the intensity with which she approached this character) as are the Flying Monkeys. There's such a feeling of ominous dread underlaying this entire film. As if the land of Oz is a bit too beautiful and perfect, like a perfectly ripe piece of fruit that at any moment can begin to rot at the edges.
Really, despite her scariness, the Witch is the most fun character in the film---it's really a riot to watch this film as an adult and enjoy her sarcasm and nastiness; it's refreshing as juxtaposed to the goody goodiness of the other characters. Frank Morgan in a variety of roles is also great.
A cloud of darkness has come to surround this film over the last couple of decades, due to the urban legends about the stagehand supposedly caught on film hanging himself and the truly bizarre stories about the arduous process of making the film (and the many accidents and tragedies that occurred along the way). This reputation may be responsible for the cult status that has arisen around this film and perhaps even for elevating it to the level of admiration it has received.
On a side note, an excellent book by Gregory Maguire called "Wicked" offers back story to the events leading up to "The Wizard of Oz," and most particulary focuses on the early life of the Wicked Witch of the West. It's an outstanding book, and I venture that you won't be able to watch "Oz" in quite the same way again after reading it.
Grade: A-
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on July 4, 2003
i have rented this with my mother when i was 12 and the first thing that popped in my mind was that this was so much of a take off on the original L. Frank Baum story. i can name a lot of things that do not make it more of the real story.
1) dorothy has this big disagreement with her family then DREAMS about them as all the charachters from oz.
2) in the book dorothy is a child, but in this movie shes old enough to be DATING.
3) in the book the wizard gives the scarecrow, tin woodman, and the cowardly lion the things that they wanted, but in the movie he lectures them about how they already have those things.
so there you have it, a quite detailed explanation of why i am not raising a big fuss about this movie like so many other people are, i just think it's a movie and it should be treated as other movies are. its still a pretty good movie, don't get me wrong, but it's still annoying to watch something that's not even close to being the real thing. i think you shouldn't judge a movie by how popular it is but in how much you like it, and by how right is is for YOU.
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on March 11, 2003
By now, the tale of Dorothy (Judy Garland), the Kansas waif swept from her home to the mythical land over the rainbow by a cyclone in Frank L. Baum's immortal children's classic, "The Wizard of Oz" has become more than a literary or cinematic classic. It is folklore. When MGM acquired the rights they sought out Shirley Temple as their Dorothy. Fortunately, Fox Studios refused to loan their biggest little child star out to anyone, leaving L.B. Mayer no choice but to cast teenager, Judy Garland instead. The choice in casting was, of course, fortuitous. Upon its premiere, lines began forming at five in the morning for advanced tickets. The film galvanized Garland's reputation and gave her one of the great signature songs in film history (Over the Rainbow). Time has been powerless to erode the book or the film's poignant simplicity.
THE TRANSFER: Warner Home Video has outdone themselves on their Special Edition of "The Wizard of Oz". The disc features a newly mastered Technicolor print that positively glows. On rare occasions a bit of digital tiling is detected as well as pixelization. There is no edge enhancement. A new 5.1 digital soundtrack sounds decades younger than the original source material - but for the purist, the original mono tracks are also included.
EXTRAS: There is enough on this disc to fill two special editions, including trailers, interviews, test footage, deleted scenes, outtakes and the feature length documentary - "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" hosted by Angela Lansbury. Unfortunately, Warner has compressed all of their features onto one side of one disc. The result is a lot of compression related artifacts and problems, including tiling, slight aliasing and a harsh digital look to the documentary in particular and some of the other extra features as well. I'm surprised that the feature film doesn't suffer more heavily from the reduced bit rate.
BOTTOM LINE: Warner will eventually revisit Oz with another transfer and probably a 2-disc set. They will also probably do the same with "Gone With The Wind", another early transfer that doesn't quite hold up under close scrutiny.
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on December 11, 1999
I already expected this DVD Gift Set to be 5 stars in every way, and for the most part it is, but i was just wondering if anyone else out there has the Laserdisc "Ultimate OZ" set that came out a few years ago. It has everything this new package has (minus the great menu scenes) but something that i was sad to see is missing from the DVD version: where is the running commentary from OZ expert John Fricke? That was one of my favorite parts of the Laserdisc OZ special edition and i guess i just assumed it would be included here. I feel sorry for those OZ fans who might never get to hear the interesting and fun facts and anecdotes. For example: the coat that Professor Marvel wears was bought from a second-hand store and when they turned out the pockets the letters LFB were stitched inside-Baum's widow confirmed that the coat had indeed belonged to her husband; the female voice heard during the TinMan's song ("wherefore art thou Romeo") is the voice of Snow White- without the success of that movie OZ might never had been made; when Jack Haley replaced Buddy Ebsen thay shot for three days before anyone noticed that he was wearing Buddy's shiny Emerald City outfit instead of the rusty one for the woods scenes- the footage had to scrapped at an estimated cost of $60,000- another time when Oz production was almost shut down. There are also great stories about all the major players and hpw they felt about OZ and each other. Well, maybe you don't care to know all this but it added another fun dimension to my OZ watching and I'm curious why DVD owners were left out. Otherwise i couldn't be happier with the transfer of this classic and would definitely recommend it OZ- and DVD- fanatics alike.
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on September 7, 2000
Nobody could ever claim that "The Wizard of OZ" is not a wonderful film. Ever since L. Frank Baum wrote the original book in 1899, the story has captured the hearts and imaginations of children and adults alike, the world over. Encoding this film onto a DVD is of course a necessity for film lover's. It is wonderful to see the film and all the other extras on a DVD. The documentaries about the making of and the history of the film are wonderful, and very informative. However, the film is sown in full-screen. It really would have been nice to see it in a panoramic view, the way it was filmed. Also, the gift set is simply not worth the price. It is interesting to see the original script and some photos. The photos may be rare, but that does not mean they are good, or interesting. My advice: buy this DVD, but opt for the regular issue, not the gift set.
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on November 1, 2003
Fantasies are fun. Everyone likes a mysterious story well-told. The writing, acting, visual effects, and other elements of this film all add up to make a classic that has entertained generations of audiences since its debut in 1939. With each repeated viewing it is like going back to childhood and seeing familiar friends. There's an innocence in the way the characters relate to each other. Good and evil are clearly delineated. Ambiguities and gray are lacking in this era when sides were distinctly identified.
The sets, the technology for the time demonstrate what its like to do work that endures. The plot unfolds in such a way that you're captivated, although you know what is going to happen next.
This is good, clean, family entertainment. Good wins, bad fails, and Dorothy wakes up in her own bed in Kansas in the end. All is right with with world. Enjoy!
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on December 20, 1999
The Wizard of Oz is one brillaint movie. I LOVE the characters, the dialogue, the scenes, the songs and everything.......However, I still prefer the Wizard of Oz Original Book by L. Frank Baum better than this version......I mean, there are tons of thrilling adventures and a whole host more fo thrilling characters in the book, that arent in the movie....I would say its a 7 seven star, but a 10 star book. Anyway, if your buying this NOT-TO-BE-MISSED timeless classic, which will enhance viewers of all ages.....(You may want to keep watching this non-stop untill you get tired of it, which I doubt you will), I also recommend reading the book, if you havent. Those who have read the book, may find this is a bit dissapointing, but I think THE MOVIE IS brilliant IN ITS OWN RIGHT......
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on May 2, 2004
For those of you who own both Video & DVD of the "classic" and are disappointed that there were some good Cyclone-&-House scene not in the film, will be glad to know that HALF of them actually ARE in the Film. Eg. Watch the Deleted scenes (on the DVD) and watch the scenes carefully, with the twists and swirling clouds. Then watch the film (from cyclone's first appearance to CRASH!!) and you'll notice that half of the scenes/effects are in the movie. Some of them are the twisting cyclone when Dorothy arrives at home and you see the tornado is different at both ends of the house and the REPEATING of the house falling. Craefully examine the DVD Deleted Scenes then watch teh Film again carefully. Good luck!!
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on February 15, 2004
The movie starts out as an old fashioned black and white movie about a girl in Kansas. Dreading life on the farm she runs away and through a whirlwind ends up in the magical land of Oz. All of sudden the movie turns into Technicolor. The first scenes look very much like 'Willie Wonka' but this movie is a little better. The adventures lead to an interesting end and a lame conclusion.
'Somewhere Over The Rainbow' may very well be the best song ever written, music and lyrics go hand in hand like never before and after. The entire musical score is great, if you have never seen this movie you might actually know some songs.
It's a classic, and deservedly so, especially knowing this movie is 65 years old now.
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on March 15, 2016
Kit was as described and a nice gift. The snow globe was even smaller then in the photo which was small to begin with, little bit disappointing as I would have spent more to receive anything larger. It's so small there's little to no point to it, maybe at best a christmas tree decoration. Everything else was well made and great though.
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