on August 12, 2014
This is a movie I actually saw in a repertory theatre as a child. It's the kind of movie that makes a deep impression on you, for the simple contents and sheer magnificence of it: a truly timeless American fairytale that will never grow old. The story is so well told, I only realized years later how many lessons it subtly taught me. :D I'm thinking that my mom probably saw it as a child and I want my granddaughter to see it too: thank goodness it was remastered/restored! The movie is twice as special as you remember it and the commentary is a sweetly weaved tapestry of comments between a movie historian and little jewels of vintage interviews with the original actors, etc. The second DVD has features and features and features, oh my! :D Literally 3 pages of features from documentaries, to delightful deleted scenes, to little biographies of all the main characters, an endless jukebox of song takes, including showing how they recorded the Munchkin songs for the music buff, plus a priceless "Lux toilet soap" ("toilet soap"? XD even including commercials! XD) radio program, playing a condensed 1 hour re-enactment of the movie, years later: historical stuff, you know? BTW, for the trivia buff, Judy Garland was part of the Lux broadcast, but different actors played the other characters. In any case, personally, I feel this is the definitive version of this movie to buy: you won't be disappointed! Sincerely, Sylvie, Qc Canada
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?
on June 21, 2004
When we are children, we have wild imaginations. Our minds are powerful things, taking us to far off places where anything is possible. On screen, the film that has that power is The Wizard of OZ. How could anyone resist Judy Garland singing about a place that is far off, or Margaret Hamilton as possibly the most wicked and notorious villain ever, THE WICKED WITCH. I vividly remember watching this film with my family when I was kid, and as soon as the Wicked Witch appeared in flames in Munchkinland, my brother ran and hid behind a chair. This is one of those films that make us do those kinds of things when we are little and looking back, this film has created for me, a world of wonderful memories. This DVD should be on absolutley everyone's shelf. We get to see Kansas, The Yellow Brick Road, and the Emerald City in all of it's colorful glory. While not being a big hit back in 1939, it certainly has earned it's place as one of the best films ever made. There are also many features that will leave both the OZ enthusiast and the just plain curious pleased. Get taken away all over again to the wonderful land of OZ and buy this DVD, you won't regret it. I can't say enough about this film A+
on May 25, 2004
This film showcases the american studio system of the past at it's best. They had the greatest craftsman, musicians, actors, singers, designers, costumers etc etc etc all working together to create magic and in this case it was a complete success.
All the elements work to make this a joyous spectacle that never fails to touch your heart.
It still succeeds because it is not too sweet - who can forget Margaret Hamilton's scary Witch, the terrifying flying Monkeys or even the scary Wizard. (well scary until he is unmasked)
Another reason this film holds up so well are that the supporting cast (Jack Haley, Ray Bolger & Bert Lahr) were just incredibly talented comedians. They really shine even the 100th time through.
Need I say anything about Judy Garland in this film? Her performance is spot on terrific. She is the one who makes this whole fantasy believable without being sickeningly sweet. If there is any doubt she was a great actress just rewatch the scene of her crying in the witch's castle. Heartbreaking. (and her singing voice was just incredible but you know that)
This is my favorite film - the one film I would take with me to a dessert island.
on April 21, 2004
Anyone growing up in the 60's can remember that this movie was an annual must see tv event! Even 40 years later it still is as fresh as when it was first released. They don't make em like this anymore and it is quite a shame. The innocent Dorathy, conked on the head during a tornado, is mysteriously tranported to a world that comes alive with color.
She awakens in the psychodelic land of the Munchkins and immediately becomes a target for the Wicked Witch of the West. Protected by the beautiful Glenda and charmed by the entertaining Munchkins, Dorathy sets off for the city of OZ where she hopes to find the wizard that will be able to send her home back to Kansas. Along the way she meets three friends who become some of the most memorable characters in movie history.
Interesting documentary footage added to the end showing Buddy Ebsen as the Tin Man and scenes that never made the movie.
This is a movie for both adults and kids of all ages. My own kids started watching it from the time they were 3!
on February 25, 2004
As captivating as ever, the Wizard of Oz never fails to entertain children of all ages. My youngest daughter, 2-1/2, was immediately smitten by it, and has watched it repeatedly since I recently purchased the DVD. The stunning colors, the wonderful music, the compelling story will grab you again and again. It remains one of the greatest movies ever made.
As an adult, you might be tempted to read Salman Rushdie's BFI book as it provides an engaging set of essays on the movie. I can't help but think of the moral tone this movie sets and by reducing evil to a cast of witches and flying monkeys, we all too easily overlook the dynamics in conquering evil. While the original book and this movie treated the theme in child-like terms, we as adults haven't seemed to grow past this identification with good and evil. The wizard makes for a fine balancing force, as his cynical view of events contrasts sharply to the innocence of Dorothy and her new found friends. It is all so neatly resolved by Glenda the Good Witch.
I say this because in the opening credits the producers attach their moral view of the subject, noting that "Time has been powerless to put its kindly philosophy (of good conquers evil) out of fashion." Of course, one has to remember that this movie was made in 1939, and although ostensibly a children's movie it deals with some very real themes such as death, in terms of ridding us of evil. It should also be noted that Europe was on the brink of war with Hitler forming his notorious axis of evil.
There are some especially scary scenes for little ones, beginning with the tornado that whisks Dorothy away to somewhere over the rainbow. The killing of the Wicked Witch of the East is treated mostly in comic tones but not without its serious undertones, which became the focus of the movie as Dorothy has to run a gauntlet put up by the Wicked Witch of the West to get back to Kansas. All this makes for riveting entertainment, which is why this film has grown into a classic, whereas the 1925 version is nothing more than a curiosity item today. The Wizard of Oz is a cinematic masterpiece with the initial sepiatones giving way to stunning technicolor. The film has inspired numerous interpretations over the years, including very dark ones such as David Lynch's Wild at Heart.
However, this version of the Wizard of Oz remains the definitive intepretation of Frank Baum's story. The DVD includes some added commentary by Ray Bolger, Jack Haley and others, providing some amusing notes on the making of the film. There are also some vintage movie and cartoon clips as well as the original trailers.
on January 28, 2004
The Wizard of Oz is a wonderful movie. I'm 38 years old and I grew up watching this movie when CBS used to air it every year on or around Easter. I was probably about 3 years old the first time I watched it. Anyway I now have the movie on DVD and it's just as good now as when I was a child. Judy Garland was fantastic as Dorothy Gale and so was Ray Bolger and the rest of the cast. The DVD is great, it has been restored and cleaned up and the the colors are really nice and the sound is great and the extra features are terrific, it includes a lot of old behind the scenes footage, some deleted scenes etc, and I'm amazed with how many things they actually had considering that most unused footage was thrown out back then as there was not a big demand for extras like deleted scenes etc so whoever kept all of that stuff was really smart! Some people have complained that the DVD doesn't have the movie in widescreen but there is a perfectly good reason for that and that is that this movie was made in 1939 and movies didn't start to be filmed in widescreen until the mid 1950's and fullscreen was what these old movies were filmed in so in this case fullscreen is the correct aspect ratio so you are not missing any of the picture! Meaning, it has not been edited to fit your TV screen, it has always been fullscreen.
on December 31, 2003
This is and always will be I'm sure my favorite movie of all time! I have so many childhood memories with this film and everytime I watch it, it gives me a sense of my childhood once again! I have seen this movie I know more than 100 times and it still is not enough! More magical than ever with the DVD version, this DVD is a MUST-HAVE! Even if you do not purchase DVDS regularly this still should be in your collection.
To Wizard of Oz lovers everywhere this DVD gives you so much more than any VHS ever has! FANTASTIC DVD extras! The deleted scenes are great considering back when the film was made what was not used was usually thrown out.
The interviews, the Angela Lansbury special, theatrical trailers (very entertaining), and everything else on the DVD make it a true must have for any Oz fan!
The film is still as precious as ever and the DVD features are a must!
If you are an Oz fan and you do not own this, you should!
Journey through an unforgettable world with Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin-Man, Cowardly Lion, and Toto too!
on December 14, 2003
THE WIZARD OF OZ has been a perennial favorite of children and adults with long memories for decades. The reasons for such a long-lived love affair with this movie are as varied as the number of Munchkins who guide Dorothy along the Yellow Brick Road. On a surface level one remembers the songs of a thoughful Judy Garland who wonders if there is a fantasy land where all good deeds are required to pass. There is the close knit relationship between Dorothy and the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow, all of which bring to mind the chumminess that would resonate generations later in the television series FRIENDS. The landscape of OZ and the Emerald City are both so vivid that they become in effect part of the supporting cast as the geography suggests a subtext that Dorothy's journey is a full circle that begins in the full black and white light of day that finds her in danger of a tornado and the evil of Miss Gulch. As Dorothy sings "Over the Rainbow," she clearly is on the cusp of womanhood as she tries to reconcile the lurking dangers of nature (The tornado) and brute spinsterhood (Miss Gulch) with the more adult desire to find a place of refuge. Oz provides that refuge. The comedy and laughs that one remembers decades later seem based mostly on the outrageous puns and quips of the Cowardly Lion, but in sober reflection the humor is the sort that one finds when one has to whistle in the dark to prevent fear from taking over. As Dorothy sings "Follow the Yellow Brick Road," she is reenacting the eternal saga of youth setting out on the journey to maturity. Children, more than adults, recognize that Oz is more than just a Peter Pan fantasy land. It is frequently dark, grim, and brooding. The evil of the Wicked Witch is only the most obvious symbol of anti-life. Even the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and ultimately Oz itself are first presented in threatening tones. Dorothy's companions must prove themselves as protectors before their predatory surface illusion can be discarded. The Wizard is a potent totemic symbol of good masquerading as evil. Which one it proves to be is a function of the faith that Dorothy brings on her journey. The reunion at the end echoes the confusion of the beginning. Dorothy has completed a momentous phase of her life, and through her, the child viewer can take that same journey with her, secure in the knowledge that even the dual journey of light and dark must lead back to its starting point with that journeyer feeling equally grown up.
on November 17, 2003
Ah, yes! "The Wizard of Oz." What can I possibly say about this 1939 classic that hasn't been said already? Perhaps I can comment that despite being a children's musical, the film's characters and script can be enjoyed by viewers of all ages. The songs (including "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," "Ding-Dong! The Witch is Dead," and "If I Only Had a Brain") carry a unique wit that sparkles like a pair of ruby slippers! Although the film debuted in theaters during Hollywood's Golden Age, the movie's content successfully stands the test of time. It teaches kids to value what they have while encouraging adults to follow the Yellow Brick Road!
Based on the book by L. Frank Baum, "The Wizard of Oz" stars a young Judy Garland as Dorothy Gale, a farm girl who dreams of finding a place where she won't get into trouble. Later, when a violent tornado tosses her house into the enchanted land of Oz, Dorothy starts to miss Kansas and the love given to her by her Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. In order to return home, Dorothy (and her dog Toto) must journey to the Emerald City and ask the mysterious Wizard of Oz for help. Along the way, she forms a friendship with a klutzy Scarecrow (Ray Bolger), a sentimental Tin Man (Jack Haley), and a Cowardly Lion (Bert Lahr), all of whom want the Wizard to grant their wishes. Meanwhile, the four heroes are chased by the cackling Wicked Witch of the West (Margaret Hamilton), who wants to avenge the death of her sister, the Wicked Witch of the East, and steal Dorothy's magical slippers. Audiences will be astounded by the movie's lavish scenery, stunning costumes, and crisp cinematography. "Wizard of Oz" is Hollywood's labor of love, one that watchers can now treasure on DVD!