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 May 17, 2002
This dvd is worth owning even if you own the Collector's edition vhs tape that was released a few years ago. Some of the bonus materials overlap with that release, but here there are many, many more, the best of which is the documentary hosted by Lansbury. It does give a solid overview of the history of the making of the movie, which is quite fascinating and improved my understanding of the studio system of the day. Also, it shows some brief snippets of the movie, as dubbed for other countries (think the Wicked Witch is terrifying? Try hearing her snap out her lines in German!)
The only thing lacking from this release is a commentary track. The makers could have gotten Roger Ebert or a panel of people who've been inspired by the film to give a really interesting audio supplement.
Anyway, it's a classic, and the studio did a great job with this dvd. You will want to replace your vhs tapes with dvds for the classics, eventually, the same as you did for your audio cassettes when cd players became popular, so why fight the inevitable?
on June 5, 2001
First off, I don't believe a word of it. I think its all made up. Farm girl sings song about rainbows, then winds up in some foreign land. She meets new friends, and together they go to some place called "Emerald City" (sure). There their wishes are granted. Soon she's back in Kansas (or is it Arkansas?). Everything is normal again.Probably the greatest American film ever made. It has everything. Baum's plot IS what dreams are made of. The 1939 special effects are delightful and seemingly current. The songs are wonderful, the dancers are great, and that little dog is pretty cool too! There are so many nice touches to this film, it would be impossible to enumerate them.As a child, I looked forward to the CBS presentation of Wizard of Oz. It was broadcasted but once a year, and was a family event. For us boomers, we all remember it as one of the few things that bond us closely with our parents. Sort of a miracle.The DVD offering gives us a glimpse into the casting problems, the production, etc. And that's coo. But the film itself is the real star. Follow the yellow brick road...and ll will be fine.paris c.
on May 1, 2001
No matter how many times you've seen this film, once you pop it into your DVD player, you're transformed into a little kid again traveling down the yellow brick road to Oz with Dorothy, Toto, The Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow. Even though you know the songs and the dialogue by heart (well I do since I played the Tin Woodman in a college production), it really doesn't matter. You'll still have a ball. On DVD, the "Oz" story shimmers with vivid rainbow colors and sepia tones that have been remastered from the original print in the MGM vault. Despite it's 62-year-old age, the film looks like it was shot only yesterday. Garland is great as Dorothy. "Over the Rainbow" is a classic. Margaret Hamilton's Wicked Witch is exactly right. The munchkins are still over the top. And that tornado that carries Dorothy from her Kansas farm over the rainbow still looks pretty good given the technology that existed in 1939. Those in Kansas may think otherwise (they've seen the real thing). But for those of us who haven't, why be critical.
on November 13, 2000
What? You don't own this movie? Please, add it to your collection, now! If you have a DVD, you'll be delighted with the clarity of the picture, and the added goodies that come with it.
But even if you're an old-fashioned VHS player, like we are, you will find this movie, filmed originally in the 30's, is as good today as it was in the beginning!
We've watched this movie as a Thanksgiving introduction for years, and as soon as we had the technology, we bought it for our library. It doesn't seem to grow old, and my kids (ages young to all grown up) still watch it, their understanding growing along with the movie.
At first just an entertaining adventure (the rescue of poor Toto from that nasty Miss Almira Gulch), with good witches, bad witches, talking trees, lions and tigers and bears (not to mention tornados), as the movie is viewed again and again, a deeper message begins to sink in.
If only we had the courage, the brains, the heart -- why, think of the things we could do! The great and powerful wizard is the only one who can give those to us -- I've seen the young ones move from believing that, to realizing (on many levels) that the power to have all those wonderful traits comes from within.
It took several years before little ones (at ages 3 to 7, they were too terrified to watch the horrid flying monkeys scene) realized that many of the characters from Dorothy's farm were also in the Land of Oz -- and what a thrill for them when they 'got it.'
The music is (of course) outstanding, with Judy Garland's "Over the Rainbow." The adventure is one viewers love to return to, again and again.
The movie is so good, it spoiled the books for us. We've never been able to accept anything but ruby slippers, and the book is just too boring in comparison!
Definitely belongs on the shelves, for those family movie nights!
on November 22, 1999
I bought this video for my 3 1/2 year old nephew. Like most people my age, I have fond memories of watching it every year on CBS, and looking forward to it as an annual event. Since my nephew is into "Pokemon", "Star Wars", etc., I didn't think he would really enjoy it as much as I did (and still do). Surprise! He (as well as his 8 year old sister) was spellbound from beginning to end. Hearing his startled gasp when Judy Garland opens the door from sepia to the full color world of Oz made my week. That was on Friday. The next evening, I was babysitting him again and he wanted to watch it yet again. His mom told me he had watched it twice again that day! There are not too many films that can captivate generation upon generation of viewers - "Oz" is one of the very few. If I could give it more than five stars, I definitely would. (My nephew has already memorized some of the songs too!)
on January 21, 2014
I haven't see this in a long time..the last time was when the movie aired on CBS all those years ago. It's as good as it ever was. I received this movie very fast and saved money compared to other local retailers in my neighbourhood. Would surely do business with this retailor again. Thank you for your service.