One of the best-loved movies of all time, The Wizard of Oz is the heartwarming tale of a young Kansas girl, Dorothy Gale, and her little dog, Toto, who are whisked away by a violent twister to the magical land of Oz. Accompanied by her new-found friends — a brainless scarecrow, a tin man with no heart and a cowardly lion — she sets off down the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City to find the wizard who can help her get back home.
What We Thought:
Not only is The Wizard of Oz a fun family film, it’s also one of the most important films ever made. With this new 4K release it looks and sounds better than ever and comes with a slew of fantastic bonus features some never before available in one grouping.
Growing up the film played once a year on TV. I may be a bit older than most people think and I remember watching the movie on TV as a kid. It was available on VHS early on, but my family couldn’t afford that stuff back then so I would watch it on TV. Eventually it became cheaper to own at home and has been available on pretty much every format ever since, from Super 8 in the 1970’s to VHS in the 1980’s then Laserdisc, DVD, Blu-ray and now this beautifully restored 4K release.
I actually hadn’t seen the film in years, probably 20 or more, so it was cool rewatching it now as a full grown adult. It’s definitely a darker film than I remember or at least I’m seeing things through the eyes of a grown-up and not a kid. We all knew the flying monkeys were pretty scary as a child, but the themes in the movie definitely go over your head when you are younger. Heck Dorothy’s house kills a witch as soon as she gets to Oz. We’re barely into the movie and bam, a death. We meet all kinds of oddball characters along the way, another witch melts (this is a kids movie???) then the curtain is pulled back and we finally learn the truth about the whole situation. There are some pretty heavy themes you read into as an adult and some crazy stuff along the way as well.
But you can’t deny the legacy this film has. It won multiple Academy Awards including Best Original Song for “Over the Rainbow”. It made Judy Garland an icon. It’s had numerous spin-offs, numerous re-releases at the theater and home video. I mean it’s The Wizard of Oz, generations have grown up seeing it. My niece was Dorothy for Halloween as a kid. It’s a meaningful film to countless people and will be a top 10 film on every greatest film list.
As for this new 4K release, it’s pretty stunning. The coloring (when in Oz) is beautiful and the music is just glorious. It fills your room completely and the score and songs bring you back to your childhood. Plus look at those bonus features. The full list is below and it’s amazing how much they jam packed into this release. You can spend a week going through all of it. The film has never looked or sounded as good and as of right now, this is the best version to own.
This 4K release of The Wizard of Oz is something special. I’m sure you’ve seen the film before, you might even own it, but this new version is a must own for fans. The bonus features make it worth the purchase alone never mind the remastering. It’s an all-time classic for a reason.
The Wizard of Oz 4K contains the following previously released special features:
- Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren.
- 1990 CBS Special “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic.”
The Wizard of Oz Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:
- Commentary- Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren
- The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook (narrated by Angela Lansbury)
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly…
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Frank Morgan”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Ray Bolger”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Bert Lahr”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Jack Haley”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Billie Burke”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Margaret Hamilton”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Charley Grapewin”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Clara Blandick”
- We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Terry”
- Music & Effects Track
- Original Mono Track
- Sing Along Tracks
- Audio Jukebox
- Leo is on the Air Radio Promo
- Good News of 1939 Radio Show
- 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Broadcast
- Stills Galleries
- Oz on Broadway
- Sketches and Storyboards
- Richard Thorpe’s Oz
- Buddy Ebsen
- Oz Comes to Life
- Behind the Scenes
- Special Effects
- Post Production
- Deleted Scenes
- Original Publicity
- 8/15/1939 Hollywood Premiere
- 8/17/1939 New York Premiere
- 2/29/1940 Academy Awards® Ceremony
- Oz Abroad
- Oz Revivals