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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition



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#1 of 45 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted September 26 2009 - 03:59 AM

The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition


Directed By: Victor Fleming


Starring: Judy Garland, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr, Margaret Hamilton, Frank Morgan, Billie Burke


Despite its modest box office success upon release, the film has grown in stature and popularity steadily over the subsequent 70 years, topping its original release with a re-release in the late 40s, becoming a perennial seasonal event on network and then cable television, and never seeming to fail to connect with a single generation of children (excepting small subsets of each generation that are understandably freaked out by evil green witches with flying monkeys.) Despite some stiff competition, it is generally regarded as the jewel in the crown of the classic MGM film library.

If there were a formula for its success and penetration into the popular consciousness of so many people over so much of the globe, there would be more movies like it. That being said, at least part of its enduring appeal must be attributed to a perfect storm of talent and craftsmanship. The chemistry between the vaudeville-trained actors playing the four principal protagonists is as remarkable as the technical wizardry behind the elaborate make-ups applied to three of them. Nearly every aspect of the production was state-of-the-art for 1939. Elements such as special effects that should seem dated by modern standards, when integrated into the overall production design and combined with the pitch-perfect tone of the performances, contribute to the film establishing its own reality that feels timeless. In other words, while there may be no place like home, the filmmakers created an Oz that is a great place to visit again and again.

The Video ****½

The 4:3 windowboxed 1080p presentation is encoded via the VC-1 codec. While I maintain that there has never really been a bad video presentation of Oz throughout its previous DVD incarnations, I can also safely say that there has certainly never been one as good as this Blu-ray release. Despite having just gone to the effort of creating an "Ultra Resolution" digital master from the film's original three strip Technicolor negatives in 2005 that was generally acknowledged to be quite good, Ned Price and his team of technical wizards at Warner Bros. went back to the Technicolor negatives and scanned and combined them at even higher resolution - deriving the master for this Blu-Ray release from the result.

Compared to the 2005 DVD, this Blu-ray presentation has an expectedly more refined appearance, with substantially resolved film grain. The 2005 DVD did not appear to be the victim of severe grain reduction, but the folks preparing this new video master applied an even lighter hand in terms of grain smoothing, with the result being pleasingly detailed and film-like. The cliche in these situations is to say that you will see things you never saw before. That is almost never the case and is not so here, but what does become increasingly apparent in this high definition presentation are surface textures of costumes and props that make them feel more tangibly real (and occasionally further reveal the artifice behind them if you are feeling analytical while watching).

The monochromatic sepia-tinted first and last reels of the film have been the subject of much restoration work over the past several years as their negatives were lost to a nitrate fire. As presented on Blu-ray disc here, they look superior to any previous version of the film I have seen, and, more importantly, sit perfectly well next to the 3-strip Technicolor reels two-six. Grain and density have a uniform quality that makes for an appealingly consistent presentation. I suspect part of this is the accumulated grain of the three Technicolor strips converging towards the generational loss of the sepia segments with digital tools bridging whatever gap remains between them.

The Audio ****

The primary audio option is a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track mixed from a combination of mono audio sources with music and effects stems. Fidelity is fairly remarkable for a film of its era, and wide stereo effects are employed at logical opportunities. Aside from those "opportune" moments when far-edge or off-screen characters or objects are making sounds, the mix remains focused in the center channel with the two directional music stems used to provide some spread and presence to the score. While I did not expect much due to the vintage of the sources, fidelity was noticeably improved on this lossless track compared to the Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on the 2005 DVD.

A Dolby Digital rendering of the original mono track is also available, and sounds great with noticeably, but not excessively, reduced dynamic range and fidelity compared to the remix. Somewhat curiously, it is only accessible from the "Special Features" menu rather than through the "Set-up" menu. The "Set-up" menu does include dubbed mono tracks in French, German, Spanish (Castellano), and Portuguese.

The Extras *****

A large number of these extras are carried over from the 2005 3-Disc Collector's Editon SD DVD. Since that release has previously been thoroughly reviewed on the forum by Herb Kane ([*] A Commentary With John Fricke which is interspersed with various archival clips from various cast and crew members including 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 track is introduced by Sydney Pollack. If you’re familiar with Fricke’s previous Garland commentaries, you’ll know that there is probably no one on earth more qualified to comment on Judy Garland and her career. A number of things are discussed including the location shoot as well as the various casting choices who were in line for various roles. You’ll even learn a great deal about Toto. A superb track.

[*] The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz: The Making of a Classic is the terrific documentary dedicated to the making-of the film. Directed by Jack Haley, Jr. and narrated by Angela Lansbury, you’ll see archival clips of the cast-members who discuss their experiences working on the film. You’ll also see deleted scenes and hear the reasons they were edited. Duration: 50:52 minutes.

[*] The Art of Imagination: A Tribute to Oz is another feature narrated by Sydney Pollack – discussed here is a brief history of the MGM studio and the production of the film. Duration: 29:44 minutes.

[*] Because of the Wonderful Things It Does: The Legacy of Oz John Fricke and Drew Casper make appearances here as the discuss the airing of the film on network television and the impact it would make for years to come. Duration: 25:04 minutes.

[*] Memories Of Oz is a TCM production where various OZ fans, cast-member relatives and aficionados appear and offer their opinions as to why the film has achieved the level of status it has. Duration: 27:36 minutes.

[*] The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz Storybook is read by Angela Lansbury accompanied by various illustrations. Duration: 10:27 minutes.

[*] In Prettier Than Ever: The Restoration Of Oz, Ned Price and Rob Hummell appear from Warner Brothers as they discuss the restoration process from start to finish, including discussion on the elements that were used as well as the Ultra-Resolution 4K process that was used for the CE of Oz. Duration: 10:27 minutes.

[*] We Haven’t Really Met Properly… is a series of brief biographies narrated by Angela Lansbury. Duration: 21:19 minutes. Under the heading of "Audio", we have the following features:

[*] An Isolated Music And Effects Track – a great inclusion for the film/music/effects fans of Oz.

[*] The Original Mono Track is included in this section which I comment on in the audio section.

[*] Jukebox – contains 18 various audio clips spread out over three pages consisting of various rehearsals, sequence recordings, voice tests and underscores. Duration: 4:46 hours.

[*] Leo Is On The Air Radio Promo is just that; a promotion of the “MGM miracle extravaganza”. Duration: 12:13 minutes.

[*] Good News of 1939 Radio Show is an installment of the ’39 show featuring the cast members from the film. The show is hosted by Robert Young and sponsored by Maxwell House. Duration: 60:53 minutes.

[*] 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Theater Radio Broadcast features Judy Garland in the hour long episode. Compared to many of the previous WB Lux Broadcast inclusions on other sets, the audio on this version is crystal clear. Duration: 60:46 minutes.
[*] Sing-Along with the Movie - Offers a "karaoke style" sing-along video and text stream available to players compatible with BD Profile 1.1 or higher (i.e. equipped with "Bonus View")

Under the heading of "Extras", we have the following features:

[*] Electrical Power is a vintage 1938 MGM short from the "Romance of Celluloid" series. It looks at how power generated at the Boulder Dam is transported to Hollywood where it is consumed in the production of movies. This is used as an excuse to preview some upcoming MGM production including The Wizard of Oz (10:29)

[*] Excerpts of ’39 Academy Award Presentations which features Mickey Rooney presenting Judy with hers (2:14)

[*]Vintage promotional footage of a group of Texas Contest Winners who wind up meeting the cast of Oz during a tour of the studio lot (1:25).

[*] Off To See The Wizard includes 4 cartoon segments that were shown on ABC in 1967, animated by Chuck Jones. Duration: 3:56 minutes.

[*] Stills Galleries contains dozen of various photographs all of which are contained in eighteen various sub-folders.
Under the heading of "Trailers", we have:

[*] Six Theatrical Trailers. Duration: 11:20 minutes. The trailers are identified as:
  • 1939 What is Oz? Teaser
  • 1940 Loews Cairo Theater Trailer
  • 1949 Re-issue Trailer
  • 1949 Grownup Re-issue Trailer
  • 1970 Children's Matinee Re-issue Trailer
  • 1998 Warner Bros. Re-issue Trailer
Under the heading of "Additional Footage", we have:

[*] Harold Arlen’s Home Movies is a compilation of the composer’s own home movies. Duration: 4:39 minutes.

[*] Outtakes and Deleted Scenes contains 5 deleted scenes including the extended Bolger Scarecrow dance sequence shown in it’s entirety. Duration Total: 14:19 minutes.

[*] It’s a Twister, It’s a Twister: The Tornado Test includes actual raw footage of twisters, footage that was used for the Kansas sequence. Duration: 8:16 minutes.
Finally, the disc is also equipped with "BD Live" which will connect to the Warner portal and present online interactive content for players equipped with BD Profile 2.0 or higher. My player is not so equipped, so I could not verify if any content has gone live as of this posting.

Disc Two:


The second disc consists entirely of extras presented in 4:3 standard definition video with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio unless otherwise indicated below:

Under the heading of "Behind the Story", we have:

[*] Victor Fleming: Master Craftsmen - This documentary from Gary Leva looks at the Director of "...Oz" and several other classic films, beginning with Flemings humble beginnings and continuing to cover such topics as his breaking into the movies, and his "reputations" as a ladies man prior to his marriage, as Hollywood's "Mr. Fix It" when it came to troubled productions, and as an actor's director. Fleming's career is traced beginning with his work in silent films, and continuing to his remarkable body of work in "talkies" including The Virginian, Red Dust, Bombshell, Treasure Island, Captains Courageous, Test Pilot, The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde, Tortilla Flat, A Guy Named Joe, and Joan of Arc. On camera interview subjects include critic/historian Leonard Maltin, Biographer Michael Sragow, Author/Historian Rudy Behlmer, Biographer David Stenn, Director Francis Lawrence, William Wellman, Jr., Director William Friedkin, and actor Gene Reynolds. Duration: 34:07

[*] L. Frank Baum: The Man Behind The Curtain - is an in depth documentary on the writer. The feature touches upon the hopeless-romantic and his numerous dreams. It’s interesting to hear the various childhood experiences that would eventually go on to influence Oz. Duration: 27:43 minutes.
[*] Hollywood Celebrates its Biggest Little Stars! (16:9 enhanced video) Looks at events surrounding the honoring of the actors who played the Munchkins of Oz with a star on Hollywood's "Walk of Fame". On camera interview comments or live comments at the event are provided by Clare and Robert Baum (L. Frank Baum's Great Grandson), Ted Bulthaup (the man who championed the campaign to honor the actors), Joe Luft (son of Judy Garland), and surviving "munchkin" actors Margaret Pellegrini, Meinhardt Raabe, Karl Slover, Jerry Mareu, Mickey Carroll, and Clarence Swenson. This is an overwhelmingly "feel-good" featurette, with many fond reminiscences of their Oz experience by the actors, although a tinge of melancholy is added when a subtitle at its conclusion informs the viewer that Swenson and Carroll have passed away this year. Duration: 10:23

Under the heading of "Extras", we find:

[*] The Dreamer of Oz - A 1990 made for television bipoic starring John Ritter as L. Frank Baum. The film, which first aired on NBC, dramatizes how the author came to write "The Wizard of Oz" with a framing story involving his widow, played by Annette O'Toole, attending the premiere of the film. This is a very entertaining film. It appears to have been shot on film and finished on video, and this presentation is clearly sourced from a circa-1990 video master, so it looks a bit soft. That being said, Oz fans have been clamoring for this title on video for years, and they surely will see it as a welcome addition to this set. Duration (1:32:48)

[*] The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz (1910), a print from the George Eastman House. Aside from the amateurish looking sets and backdrops, this print looks terrific considering its vintage etc. Duration: 13:17 minutes.

[*] His Majesty, The Scarecrow Of Oz is another silent production written and directed by Baum. The print is fairly respectable looking, considering. Duration: 59:04 minutes.

[*] The Magic Cloak Of Oz (1914) appears, but unfortunately hasn’t faired quite as well in terms of its presentation. An interesting inclusion, however. Duration: 38:26 minutes.
[*] The Patchwork Girl of Oz (1914) - is another vintage silent "Oz" feature, previously thought to be lost. It suffers from quite a number of vertical scratches, but overall, the newly discovered source appears to be in better shape than the element used for The Magic Cloak of Oz.  Duration: 50:42

[*] The Wizard Of Oz (1925) is a restored silent version featuring Oliver Hardy and Larry Semon, with a new fully orchestrated score by Robert Israel. This is in reasonably decent shape showing marks and scratches as we would reasonably expect from a film of this age. Duration: 1:11:48 minutes.

[*] The Wizard Of Oz (1933) is an interesting Technicolor animated short. Although the colors look mostly good, the print is in pretty rough shape and is introduced with a brief history. Duration: 8:12 minutes.

Disc Three


A third disc contains a double-sided double-layered DVD-18 with the multi-part made for television documentary MGM: When the Lion Roars split across its two sdes. Other than being combined into a single "flipper" disc, this is bit-identical to the SD DVD released separately last January. Suffice it to say that this is an excellent overview of the studio's history, and my detailed Home Theater Forum review of the title is available at
this link.

Disc Four


Finally, a fourth disc is packaged separately inside the box in a cardboard sleeve with a DVD that may be used to download an Apple or Windows Media digital copy of the film when coupled with an access code on a separate paper insert in the box.

Packaging

Deluxe packaging is the hallmark of the Warner Bros. series of "Ultimate Collector's Editions", and this 70th Anniversary UCE is no exception. All of the contents are contained in a sturdy carboard box with attractive glossy artwork. There are numerous physical extras contained within the box, all of them unique from the 2005 SD DVD Three Disc Collector's Edition. Contents are as follows:

[*] Discs One-Three are contained in a four panel tri-fold digipack with its own carboard slip cover.

[*] Disc Four (the digital copy DVD-ROM) is contained in its own carboard sleeve.

[*] Behind the Curtain of Production is a sturdily bound 52 page hardcover book assembled by John Fricke. It includes biographical information about the stars including quotes from contemporaneous critical notices as well as behind the scenes footage and reproductions of vintage documents with all kinds of information about the film's production. These include studio memos with early drafts of cast lists, documents about deleted sequences, and other rare treasures guaranteed to delight Ozaholics. Each of the reproduced documents also has a brief informative blurb explaining its contents and significance.

[*] Complete 1939 Campaign Book is a slightly downsized reproduction of the elaborate 58 page marketing campaign book for theaters showing the film upon its initial release. It provides all kinds of suggested graphics and text that could be used to promote the film in the media of the day. The book is inside its own carboard "pouch" which also includes a sheet on a faux vintage MGM letterhead with an explanation of the book's contents and how they were used.

[*] Complete Budget Sheet is a single sheet almost the same size width and height as the interior of the box that contains a reproduction of an itemized budget for the film's production. The large size of the sheet actually makes for somewhat awkward handling as it can easily be folded or wrinkled when certain items are removed from the box.

[*] Wizard of Oz Commemorative Wristwatch has an emerald colored band and a face featuring the characters from the film. It comes in a tin case with Emerald City art applied to its top. It is very tightly packed in a depression of an insert at the bottom of the box, and must be removed carefully if you want to avoid crushing/creasing anything.

The case also contains a number of loose paper inserts including order forms for Oz themed merchandise (A charm bracelet and "Faeries of Oz" figurines), advertisements for other Warner Home Video products (Warner Archive Collection and Gone with the Wind 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition ), a BD Live information sheet, and a sheet with a code to unlock the digital copy on disc four.

Note: Early press materials for this box set showed images with four color mini-posters of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion, but they were not in my review set and have been airbrushed out of more recent promotional images.

Summary*****

When "The Ultimate Oz" laserdic set was released in late 1993, I was convinced that I would never see a more elaborately released presentation of any film. I have since learned to stop jumping to conclusions as they have now done it twice with the same movie, let alone with other titles. The Wizard of Oz: 70th Anniversary Ultimate Collector's Edition Blu-ray set benefits incrementally from a new transfer and substantially from presentation in 1080p high definition with lossless audio. The supplements include everything that was released on the jam-packed 2005 3-disc special edition DVD with the addition of non-trivial relevant materials including "The Patchwork Girl of Oz", a silent Oz feature from 1915 until recently thought to be a lost film, and "The Dreamer of Oz", a feature length 1990 telefilm biopic of L. Frank Baum never before released on home video. Physical extras are all new and even better than the prior DVD box set. The price is a bit steep, but Ozaholics will certainly get value for their money.



Ken McAlinden
Livonia, MI USA

#2 of 45 OFFLINE   Cees Alons

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Posted September 26 2009 - 04:15 AM

Ken,

This review is nothing short of a work of art itself! /img/vbsmilies/htf/thumbsup.gif">  <br /></span>
Worthy to the stature of the film.<br />
<br />
Thanks, and no, I seem to have no choice: have to buy this one.<br />
Or... consider the UK version as well, perhaps (only if it's a true clone).<br />
<br />
<br />
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#3 of 45 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 26 2009 - 04:40 AM

Rather impressive set -- not something I would totally call
what has been dubbed by many as a "box of junk" -- but
then again not giving people the option to buy a version of
this film without all the expensive extras doesn't invoke a
positive response.

That being said, I think it is fair to show you some pictures
of this boxed set that I took to support Ken's outstanding
review above.  Perhaps it will entice some of you who were
on the fence to go out and purchase this version.

Posted Image
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#4 of 45 OFFLINE   John Hodson

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Posted September 26 2009 - 05:25 AM

There's no doubt that it's a gorgeous set (well, the watch aside - personal taste) and as much as I'd love to sneer at it (you know, 'I'm above all that tat, I just want the best possible presentation of The Film'...), the collector inside is just screaming BUY THE BLOODY THING!

It's a good job I am strong-willed. And impecunious.


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#5 of 45 OFFLINE   Southpaw

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Posted September 26 2009 - 06:11 AM

 Great review and thanks for highlighting the extras that were already released in 2005 and earlier vs. newly created ones. That will help determine what I want to watch first.

#6 of 45 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted September 26 2009 - 06:17 AM

Excellent review!

Part of the box has a reproduction of the original budget. Would someone be willing to tell me what the original budget was for OZ in 1939 dollars?

Thanks, Ben


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Posted September 26 2009 - 06:41 AM

About $2.7 million, give or take a few thousand.

#8 of 45 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted September 26 2009 - 06:51 AM

Thanks Eric.

Quite a deluxe budget for the time, which makes sense. It's quite a lavish film. I'm trying to think of some comparison's from that time. I think GWTW had a c. 4 million budget, although I could be wrong about that. 

I'm pretty sure that anything over $2 million was considered a very large budget in the late 30s. In fact wouldn't anything north of $1 million likely be considered at "A" picture at that time?


#9 of 45 OFFLINE   benbess

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Posted September 26 2009 - 07:03 AM

Yes, just looked up the budget for GWTW--3.9 million. That film is 224 minutes. Oz is 103, I think.

If my math is right, per minute of screen time Oz was even more expensive than Wind. The figures I got--if I didn't mess up--came out to something like this: c. $17,000+ per minute for Wind, and c.$26,000+ per minute for Oz. Maybe not the way to look at it, I realize, but it mainly goes to show that Oz was an extremely lavish A+ production--which I know all of us knew already.


#10 of 45 OFFLINE   captgoodguy

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Posted September 26 2009 - 07:16 AM

Thanks for the great review.  I'm sure I'll be buying this one.  Did anyone go to the HD presentation at the cinema last week?  I could tell a difference but I'm really looking forward to seeing this on BD.
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#11 of 45 OFFLINE   Ken_McAlinden

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Posted September 26 2009 - 07:45 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by captgoodguy View Post

Thanks for the great review.  I'm sure I'll be buying this one.  Did anyone go to the HD presentation at the cinema last week?  I could tell a difference but I'm really looking forward to seeing this on BD.
I am actually planning on catching it in old school HD (35mm) at Detroit's Redford Theater this November.

http://redfordtheatre.com/movie/

As for the earlier question: Per the budget sheet in the box, the film cost US$2,769,230.30 and was a little more than a million dollars over budget.

Regards,

Ken McAlinden
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#12 of 45 OFFLINE   MatthewA

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Posted September 26 2009 - 08:42 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken_McAlinden ">



I am actually planning on catching it in old school HD (35mm) at Detroit's Redford Theater this November.

http://redfordtheatre.com/movie/

As for the earlier question: Per the budget sheet in the box, the film cost US$2,769,230.30 and was a little more than a million dollars over budget.

Regards,
I entered that budget into this site:

http://www.westegg.com/inflation/

And got the following figure in 2008 dollars:

 $42494475.60

I'm sure that to make it today would probably be a bit more than that, even if they shot it in Canada.


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#13 of 45 OFFLINE   Jeff Whitford

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Posted September 26 2009 - 11:01 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein 

Rather impressive set -- not something I would totally call
what has been dubbed by many as a "box of junk" -- but
then again not giving people the option to buy a version of
this film without all the expensive extras doesn't invoke a
positive response.

 
According to what i've read Walmart is selling this as a single disc for $19.99 and the Target set which is $35 in this sundays ad will be multiple disc but none of the extra"junk".

Jeff Whitford
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#14 of 45 OFFLINE   Jim_K

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Posted September 26 2009 - 11:24 AM

$35 sans the junk?

Still a bit pricey but tempting.

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#15 of 45 OFFLINE   Larry Sutliff

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Posted September 27 2009 - 07:16 AM

That campaign book is very enticing. I used to collect press books and memorabilia, and they sometimes cost much more than the price of this entire set! I'm looking forward to getting this.

#16 of 45 OFFLINE   Edwin-S

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Posted September 27 2009 - 07:57 AM

A very good review, but I wish reviewers would ensure that at least the MSRP is included in the data box. What is the MSRP on this set? I cannot honestly say that I'm a big fan of WWoOz, but this set set does look and sound impressive, especially in relation to all of the film and video extras that are included.

The one thing I cannot understand is the short shrift that is given to the original mono track for this film. I'm not a fan of big fat mono, but this film's track was just that. The producers of this set lavished a level of detail on everything but the OST: that they stuck in the extras menu and limited to a lossy DD track. At the least, they could have made it lossless. I don't know if it would have made any difference sonically, but it certainly would have been a show of respect for the original recording.


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Posted September 27 2009 - 08:13 AM

Well, along with the audio edit(s) mentioned in the other Oz thread, I think WB needs to fix some things on Oz.

#18 of 45 ONLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted September 27 2009 - 08:31 AM

So I had a few minutes to sit down today and preview the
Blu-ray disc inside THE WIZARD OF OZ COLLECTOR'S
EDITION.

I noticed something that is going to seem very odd to all
of you, but bear with me for a moment.

Like all of you, I have seen THE WIZARD OF OZ dozens
upon dozens of times since childhood.  Yet, today when I
watched this film for the first time on Blu-ray, I noticed
something that I never noticed before.  

The one scene most people love is the moment Dorothy
opens the door and steps out from her sepia-toned home
into the Technicolor world of Oz.  During those first few
moments as the camera pans across Munchkinland, I
thought to myself, "Gee, all of this looks like a small
soundstage with phony plants and man-made river."

I mean, "duh" it is ---- but for me to actually take myself
out of the film and notice how unrealistic Munchkinland
looks right down to the plastic flowers tells me I am seeing
detail I never saw before.

I had to make certain I wasn't going out of my mind.  So,
I went in and grabbed the 1990 DVD of THE WIZARD OF

OZ.  Mind you, this was the very first DVD release of the
film which came in a snap case.  This was the perfect
comparison to what I had been seeing all my life because
that 1990 DVD transfer was filled with dirt and scratches.  It
looked as if the studio just mindlessly threw that print on DVD.   

I went to the same Munchkinland opening scene which was
so muddy in comparison, that the scenery just blended into the
action itself.  There wasn't this 3D-like separation of foreground
and background.   

So, for the sake of believability, OZ looks so damn good on 
Blu-ray it's like you were back in 1939, had opened up the studio
stage doors and walked onto the original movie set to find that
everything around you was fabricated. 

I'd be interested to see if anyone gets a very odd feeling
watching this film on Blu-ray for the first time.  You notice
things you never gave second thought to before.



 

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#19 of 45 OFFLINE   MatthewA

MatthewA

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Posted September 27 2009 - 10:01 AM



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronald Epstein View Post

So I had a few minutes to sit down today and preview the
Blu-ray disc inside THE WIZARD OF OZ COLLECTOR'S
EDITION.

I noticed something that is going to seem very odd to all
of you, but bear with me for a moment.

Like all of you, I have seen THE WIZARD OF OZ dozens
upon dozens of times since childhood.  Yet, today when I
watched this film for the first time on Blu-ray, I noticed
something that I never noticed before.  

The one scene most people love is the moment Dorothy
opens the door and steps out from her sepia-toned home
into the Technicolor world of Oz.  During those first few
moments as the camera pans across Munchkinland, I
thought to myself, "Gee, all of this looks like a small
soundstage with phony plants and man-made river."

I mean, "duh" it is ---- but for me to actually take myself
out of the film and notice how unrealistic Munchkinland
looks right down to the plastic flowers tells me I am seeing
detail I never saw before.

I had to make certain I wasn't going out of my mind.  So,
I went in and grabbed the 1990 DVD of THE WIZARD OF

OZ.  Mind you, this was the very first DVD release of the
film which came in a snap case.  This was the perfect
comparison to what I had been seeing all my life because
that 1990 DVD transfer was filled with dirt and scratches.  It
looked as if the studio just mindlessly threw that print on DVD.   

I went to the same Munchkinland opening scene which was
so muddy in comparison, that the scenery just blended into the
action itself.  There wasn't this 3D-like separation of foreground
and background.   

So, for the sake of believability, OZ looks so damn good on 
Blu-ray it's like you were back in 1939, had opened up the studio
stage doors and walked onto the original movie set to find that
everything around you was fabricated. 

I'd be interested to see if anyone gets a very odd feeling
watching this film on Blu-ray for the first time.  You notice
things you never gave second thought to before.


In all fairness, it's not even "real" in the context of the film, for obvious reasons.

I had already pre-ordered mine from Amazon and I can't wait!

Enough is enough, Disney. No more evasions or excuses. We DEMAND the release Song of the South on Blu-ray along with the uncut version of Bedknobs and Broomsticks on Blu-ray. I am going to boycott The Walt Disney Company until then.


#20 of 45 OFFLINE   Osato

Osato

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Posted September 27 2009 - 10:24 AM

 I'll be picking up the film for sure this week! I'm going to look at possibly the exclusive Target version and compare it to the full box set before buying. 

I'm looking forward to seeing the film again. My wife and I just saw Wicked last week. I haven't seen The Wizard of Oz in several years, so it will be fun to watch an HD version of it. Thank you WB for pulling out all of the stops on this release. 

I'm very interested in the MGM When The Lion Roars documentary. Should be interesting to see how the studio went from so high to so low in 2009! 

It's nice to see WB taking such care of North By Northwest, Oz and Gone With The Wind. 

They should look into buying the James Bond films with MGM on the verge of bankruptcy!