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2005 Warner Home Video Three-Disc Collector's Edition (DVD) of The Wizard of Oz -- Everything You'd Ever Want
on March 7, 2015
This review is for the 2005 Warner Home Video 3-disc Collector's Edition (DVD) of The Wizard of Oz. I specify this in case this review ends up under an image of a different edition -- which often happens on Amazon. There are so many DVD editions out there, it is bewildering for a purchaser, especially when the reviews for quite different editions are lumped together and many reviewers don't indicate which edition they are talking about.
This edition comes in a handsome box, inside of which is a fold-out container for the 3 DVDS, each on its own holding tab. The DVDs do not touch each other. Also inside the main box are two portfolios containing colour stills from the film, advertising materials, etc.
The DVDs all played well, both on my DVD player and on my computer. The image and sound on the movie and the various special features are all very good -- except of course for the silent film special features which, being very old, show the usual defects of their age.
A full listing of all the features can be found in many places, such as DVDBeaver, and other reviews on Amazon, so I won't repeat all the details, but will give only a general outline:
Disc 1: New Digital Transfer of The Wizard of Oz
Commentary by John Fricke with help from cast and crew members
Restoration information and other minor features
Disc 2: Documentary on the making of the film
Several documentaries on various aspects of the film and its influence
Stills -- more than you'd ever want (takes about an hour to go through them!)
Outtakes and deleted scenes
Trailers for the many issues of the film
Audio materials -- songs from the film and much more
Disc 3: Half-hour documentary on L. Frank Baum's life and work
4 Silent films featuring Oz characters, including the 1925 Wizard of Oz
1 Wizard of Oz cartoon from 1933
I can't think of anything to fault in this edition, other than excessive number of stills which take a long time to run through and often are near-duplicates of each other and of scenes from the film.
It's great to get the 1925 silent film tossed in for free here, since it would cost a fair bit to buy by itself. The other silent films are interesting too, though mainly as historical curiosities, since the scripts in them are not very good, though some of the costumes aren't bad and probably influenced the classic 1939 version. At least two of the silents are written by Baum and he directed one himself. None of the silents follows the plot of either the 1900 book or the 1939 musical strictly, and indeed a couple of them don't even pretend to do so, but only purport to be Oz-based stories.
The outtakes and deleted scenes are very interesting, and there is some commentary with them so you know what you are viewing. (I don't think they ever name the woman who does the narration on these and most of the other special features -- she really should have been given credit.)
The large stills in the paper portfolios are attractive. Some of the advertising material in the portfolios is interesting, such as the original program from the opening night. There is some overkill in this portfolio material, but you can't complain that you were stinted!
This is definitely a 5-star collection. Even if some other edition has more discs and more special features, it wouldn't be substantially better than this one. And given that this edition has 13 hours of special features, why would anyone want any more?