The Wizard of Oz at 75: Bigger Than Ever in IMAX 3-D and Finally on Blu-ray
By: Ellis Nassour
Join Dorothy Gale and friends [and foes!] again on her journey along the Yellow Brick Road to Oz, the land of Munchkins, as you’ve never experienced the 1939 M-G-M perennial favorite The Wizard of Oz. Marking the 75th anniversary of the classic, adapted from the L.Frank Baum novels, the film is being presented in a digitally-restored and remastered print in the immersive awesomeness of IMAX 3-D [Warner Bros.] in an exclusive one-week theatrical engagement.
For anyone who doesn’t know, and that can’t be many, the film stars Judy Garland, singing her immortal classic "Over the Rainbow," as Dorothy Gale, once of Kansas, Broadway song- and-dance legend Ray Bolger (the Scarecrow),Bert Lahr (the Cowardly Lion), Jack Haley (the Tin Man), Frank Morgan (the Great Oz), Billie Burke (Glinda, the good witch), the never-to-be-forgotten Margaret Hamilton (that mean Wicked Witch of the West), and Terry (Toto). The film features a score by American Songbook legends E. "Yip" Harburg and Harold Arlen. It was directed by Victor Fleming [lead director on Gone with the Wind].
Dorothy and her dog Toto are simply in search of a way to get back home until she meets three friends in search of a brain, courage, and a heart from the all-powerful Wizard.
The Wizard of Oz received five Oscar nominations, including Best Picture, and captured two, Best Song and Best Original Score. Garland was also presented with a special Oscar.
On October 1, a limited and numbered The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition Blu-ray disc in the 3-D format drops [Warner Bros. Home Entertainment].
The Wizard of Oz is one of the most beloved films of all time and this cinematic milestone event and the upcoming Blu-ray will endear it for years to come.
Greg Foster, IMAX Entertainment CEO and president," says "This film revolutionized the use of color and special effects in cinema, and we’re excited to add another first, bringing it to moviegoers through the IMAX 3-D experience."
"Seventy-five years later,
The Wizard of Oz continues its reign as a multi-generational favorite," says Jeff Baker, executive VP and GM of Warner Home Entertainment’s vast film collection. "It has nearly 100% awareness among adults and more than 80% among children. In this remastered 3-D version, the film will make history all over again with past and future fans."
The film has been digitally re-mastered not only with meticulous detail to image but also to sound. Foster says the IMAX adaption "will create a unique environment that will make audiences feel as if they are in the movie."
If I Only Had a Brain – The Wizard of Oz (4/8) Movie CLIP (1939) HD …
The Wizard of Oz 75th Anniversary Collector’s Edition [limited and numbered] will debut as a five-disc set that will include Blu-ray, Blu-ray 3D, DVD and UltraViolet versions of the film; a new documentary, The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz; bonus features and premium collectibles include an anniversary journal, "Ruby Slippers" globe, three-piece enamel pin set, Oz map, and a 48-page hardcover book (SRP $105).
Three more editions will be available: two-disc 3D/Blu-ray (SRP $36, a one-disc Blu-ray (SRP $20), and two-disc DVD (SRP $16.95).
Among disc special features are the documentary detailing how a troubled production overcame the odds to become an integral part of American culture. There’s commentary from composers Stephen Schwartz and Marc Shaiman, critic Leonard Maltin, Bert Lahr’s son John, as well as revealing interview clips with Judy Garland, members of the cast, and producer Mervyn LeRoy, among others.
The complex 3-D conversion was initiated with 8K Hi-Res scanning of the original Technicolor camera negative. The restored 2-D image was then transformed by creating a depth map of each frame to construct the 3-D imagery and a rotoscope process to refine depth.